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mcotter11 02-17-2013 07:21 AM

1930's Oak Door to long for frame
I just purchased 8 1930's (I think) solid oak interior doors to replace 1980's hollow slab ugly doors. The length I need to cut the oak doors to is 79.5, they are currently 83.5". The top rail of the oak doors are 4" and there are 3 panels. I would like to cut the top rail of the door instead of splitting the cut between the top and bottom rails since the mortise lockset hardware currently lines up with the existing frame (I would still need to move the hinges).

I need advise on how to properly cut down these doors to fit the frames.

My thought is too use a jig saw to remove the top rail (4") from the stiles, cut down the hinge and lock stile down to 79.5", remove the panel molding, then cut down the top panel to 75.5", and replace the top rail using gorilla glue. Advice?

averagejoemn 02-17-2013 09:38 AM

Can't necessarily answer your question, but I'd be very carful about chip out as you cut. If you have a big enough table saw I'd use that instead of a jig saw, or a circular saw with a sharp blade.

kok328 02-17-2013 10:34 AM

Put masking tape along the line where you want to cut. Mark the line on the masking tape. Use a circular saw setup with clamped down guide to keep your cut straight (remember, your saw blade is 1/8" thick so stay on the "throw away" side of the line). Use "wood glue" & finish nails glue to reassemble any pieces. However, the numbers don't add up and the door would not look right when your done. Hindsight; do the math purchasing.

poppa 02-17-2013 12:25 PM

Yes. Removing the top rail can be done in order to cut the panel down but you will be cutting the tenon tongue that helps the side rails hold the top rail. When reinstalling the top rail I would use biscuit joinery and remember to clean out groove for panel but no glue in panel grooves. They have to move freely or they'll crack.

kok328 02-17-2013 05:09 PM

Good catch poppa. I didn't realize the OP was going to reduce the top panel size by 4". I'm thinking that this would look even more odd.
Good point on not using glue on the panel as these need to float for expansion/contraction (unlike fabricated one piece panel doors).

nealtw 02-17-2013 10:11 PM

I would look at change the frame and making the hole bigger to take them full size.

elbo 02-18-2013 03:32 AM

For appearance, I would cut off ,equally, from the top and bottom, use the cutoff pieces to fill the old mortises , paying attention to the grain. then relocate the lock hardware. To avoid chip out, in addition to a sharp saw blade, straight edge, etc, make a 1/16" cut on the side that the blade exits the wood (with a circular saw, that would be the top surface ) this will shear the surface and prevent chipout when you make the full depth cut

poppa 02-18-2013 10:49 AM

Hate to be contrarian here but I have found that all removal should be from the top so as to not have the lock being placed placed at proper height and location on the door.

mcotter11 02-18-2013 01:45 PM

Sorry, I may have confused some here. I am only cutting OFF the top rail, cutting down the stiles and top panel, then reattaching the top rail as is (4"). I have some good suggestions I will try this week. thanks

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