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Bi-fold door project help

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Forum topic by Swyftfeet posted 09-22-2021 04:59 PM 420 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Swyftfeet

179 posts in 3418 days


09-22-2021 04:59 PM

All,
CFO/CEO wants 2-panel bifold doors for 3 closets to match our current doors in the house. we replaced the old flat panels with 2 panels 5 or so years ago but left the closets out do to cost which was like 400 each at the time.

The problem is the house was framed in 62 and some of the closet entries are way off the modern standard opening, so that means custom doors, as the allowable trimming on door sizes is below what would be needed. No worries I take measurements and my happy derriere to the local box store and nearly had a heart attack at $ 670 per 4 door set for hollow panels.

I bring said quote home with me at which point wife looks at me, opens door to garage, looks at my garage full of equipment, looks at me with that look.

OK we all know where this goes from here: Has to match current doors: Cove and Bead combined with what would be a Freud 99-214 profile wants it painted white *Doesn’t want to see wood grain

I in my best manner, attempt to describe that just because someone owns tools doesn’t mean they know how to use them! Use them well anyway… OK I’m joking a little…

Ive got a full shop, 6” Jointer, 13” Delta Planer, old Grizzly Cabinet saw and drill press and and old Delta bandsaw. Problem is, I’m completely self taught and all my stuff is old Craigslist that i bought before i was married, and have had precious little time to use since… I’m novice level skilled in using the equipment

Ive never tackled doors before, Ive done some panel work with a few items (a hope chest) and own the correct router bits for that and a router with enough hp to do the work PC-890.

Questions I’m tossing around in my head:
for the panels: I was thinking MDF to cut cost. since the backside of the door will never be seen there’s no reason at all to shape both sides of the panel and 3/4 inch MDF is probably more than good enough correct?

rails and stiles
I don’t think the rails and stiles should be MDF, it probably wouldn’t hold up. I can either laminate sheets of 1/2” plywood, or I have to make them with hardwood. I worry about milling plywood cove and bead probably wouldn’t go as well as I like so I’m thinking solid wood. Is poplar the correct choice for the budget?

What thickness would you all go for on a bi-fold that’s going to be used on an every day basis?

are rails and stiles 1” thick enough for this application? should I bounce it up to 6/4 or 8/4?

Was going to use Johnson hardware 1700FS for the doors if that helps. says max panel wight is 40lbs doors would be nominally 17” wide and 80” tall

Are there other ways to accomplish this task more elegantly with a more stable not likely to warp substrate than poplar? like using plywood for the the wider rails and only a hardwood for the stiles making a trim piece out of poplar for the horizontals to match the cove and bead?

-- Brian


24 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7238 posts in 3740 days


#1 posted 09-22-2021 06:25 PM

Deleted….

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

6047 posts in 3598 days


#2 posted 09-22-2021 06:38 PM

Post a picture of the doors you are trying to match, and you will get some better answers.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

4073 posts in 3045 days


#3 posted 09-22-2021 08:32 PM

Ive made bifold doors for my house. Your right to be concerned about warped wood. This is what I recommend buy a couple extra pieces. Buy over sized lumber and mill it down several times before you cut your joints.
Popular is perfectly fine stable wood. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to building doors so when I make a door I also build a super flat assembly table. I store my milled pieces on it and use it for glue up. Anything that looks bowed or twisted gets cut for smaller parts.
I advise against mdf it’s too heavy and the dust is foul.
Plywood or make solid wood panels it good practice.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View Swyftfeet's profile

Swyftfeet

179 posts in 3418 days


#4 posted 09-22-2021 09:26 PM

Here’s the doors and a somewhat crappy view of the profile, looks like a bevel into another bevel

Again not going for any prizes on anything here, lowest cost of goods and structural integrity is most important. I realize it’s a balance just not sure what my options are

-- Brian

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

6047 posts in 3598 days


#5 posted 09-22-2021 10:32 PM

Those doors are made with a cope and stick set, something like this.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Swyftfeet's profile

Swyftfeet

179 posts in 3418 days


#6 posted 09-22-2021 10:56 PM

I do own that set, or a similar whiteside version of it. Sorry if I used the wrong term it’s been a solid 6sh years since I’ve done anything on this scale in the shop.I used them when I made the only real project ive done which is that hope chest in my profile.

The panels were what I questioning. I was going to make the Freud bit I mentioned earlier and then use a flat bit along the edge so they’d fit in that Coppell and stick frame

So people don’t like MDF that much I guess. I figured they’d be easier to make/finish than plywood

-- Brian

View Rich's profile

Rich

7466 posts in 1836 days


#7 posted 09-22-2021 11:58 PM

Here is a bi-fold door I did for our linen closet.

Don’t use MDF for the frame. It’s not suitable for the sort of joinery you need to do for a door. If you’re going to paint it, use a paint grade wood like poplar. MDF would be fine for the panels however.

The Freud bit you posted is a panel raising bit. I’d suggest also getting a cope and stick set in whatever profile you like. The good news is that for a lighter door like a bi-fold, you can use one of the Freud sets made for cabinet doors, since they are good for up to 1 1/4” stock, which is perfect for lightweight door. Regular doors need a residential door bit set which is more expensive.

One issue you have is that the standard cope and stick joint isn’t adequate for the load of that larger door. The Freud sets are designed such that you can remove the top cutter from the cope bit and cut back further to make a long tenon. You’ll then need to cut a mortise for it down in the groove that the stick bit cuts. If you feel comfortable with that, then it’s the best choice.

If you don’t want to mess with all of that, you’ll do fine cutting the regular cope and stick joint and then strengthening it with dowels. Just drill them in the groove (and the mating tongue of the rail) and nothing will show.

Another construction tip is to build it as one door with a slightly wider center stile and four panels, and then rip the two in half. That’s much easier than trying to build two separate halves and get them perfectly aligned. Take a look at the photo in the project I linked and I think you’ll get the idea. You can clearly see that the center stile consists of one board and then ripped in half when the door was completed.

You’ll definitely have more questions before you’re done.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View 1thumb's profile

1thumb

510 posts in 3403 days


#8 posted 09-23-2021 04:35 AM

I had a millwork/door shop make up similar bypass doors for me. Granted not bifolds. Only 3/4 thick too. I’ve known them for years and get a good price but don’t remember what it was. Can you sell her on bypass doors? I think you’d have more options

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

1403 posts in 3746 days


#9 posted 09-23-2021 08:37 AM

door making & fitting
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqyeNiM0BJuVzQXYDx7QRbFcEebGzbqBm

To avoid warped doors, rails and stiles must be straight, squared and absolutely twist free (on the face and the edge side).
Buy the wood, let it acclimate, mill it oversize, let it acclimate again, mill it to final cross section size, verify it didn’t move during the night, make the door.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Swyftfeet's profile

Swyftfeet

179 posts in 3418 days


#10 posted 09-23-2021 01:30 PM

@1thumb unfortunately she dislikes bypass doors, The entire house was filled with them, they wants them replaced with bi-fold.

OK, ya’all bringing back nightmares. I remember boards having a mind of their own after milling.

Here’s what I am not sure of:

  • (1)Is it perfectly acceptable to mill plywood?
  • (1a) Is there a limit to that? stick with simple bevels or it works even with the cope and stick bit set meant for cabinet doors?
  • (1b) how do you all deal with voids in the ply? just spackle it up with wood filler?
  • (1c) 3/4 seems a bit thin, am I wrong?
  • (1d) if >1” is desired, Would laminating a piece of 3/8 onto a 3/4 be the way to accomplish this? I have enough clamps, but Im frightened it would look like a banana when I am done.

(2) MDF vs Plywood Panels Pros Cons

(3) 6/4 raw milled to 1.125 poplar stiles and laminated plywood (1.125) rails with 3/4 panels work? or too wonky?

-- Brian

View Rich's profile

Rich

7466 posts in 1836 days


#11 posted 09-23-2021 01:51 PM

.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

2159 posts in 974 days


#12 posted 09-23-2021 02:31 PM



.

- Rich


Too late, it’s already in my brain. lol

I would just buy some ready-made doors and cut them to fit. You can add a filler back into the edge of the door if you have to cut more of the meat out in order to size it correctly.

View Swyftfeet's profile

Swyftfeet

179 posts in 3418 days


#13 posted 09-23-2021 02:49 PM

Too late, it s already in my brain. lol

I would just buy some ready-made doors and cut them to fit. You can add a filler back into the edge of the door if you have to cut more of the meat out in order to size it correctly.

- LeeRoyMan

The only problem I see there, is that I go beyond the door specified trimming maximum of 1/8’ and do 1/2” on each side of the 18” available door, then I will thin the wall enough that there might be some wood still there. would you just put it on edge and blow that out with a straight bit (rabbet?) the long edge and insert something like some maple or even pine with a boatload of glue?

Do they use fasteners that I would have to worry about in modern hollow cores? or is it all just glueups on a wood frame with cardboard skins

If I blow that out, I have a dowel centering jig, I imagine I could knock some half inch dowels like 2 per stile in from the top and bottom of the door to act as a tenon.

-- Brian

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Swyftfeet

179 posts in 3418 days


#14 posted 09-23-2021 02:59 PM

also why do you all keep deleting your comments, all of the knowledge is valuable, even if you got something wrong. It might prevent me from screwing up.

-- Brian

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

2159 posts in 974 days


#15 posted 09-23-2021 03:02 PM

I would hog out 1 1/4” to 1 1/2” by whatever means you could do it successfully with. Then add a new piece, I would probably use poplar, but anything would work for what it is. I don’t think I would use pine unless it’s all you got.

If your only taking off 1/4” on each side, I still think you would be OK not having to do anything. My lazy butt would try it and if it fails later down the road, then I would add the new piece as above.

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