Advice needed-Likelyhood of metal in internal door

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31 Jan 2013
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I'm just about to begin making a workbench top. I have a rather heavy internal door 35mm thick which I was going to use with a sheet of 18mm MRMDF glued to each side.
Before I begin cutting it to size I was wondering if a door of this type is likely to contain any nails. Unfortunately I don't own a metal detector and I'm unable to get one in the next couple of days. I'm hoping to get going with the project this morning. Does anyone know if a door of this type is likely to contain nails or is it most likely have been glued together.

Any help would be much appreciated, thanks. Justin


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Get yourself a magnet. A rare earth magnet would be best. Go over all the joints, and if there is any ferrous metal you're likely to finding the magnet lagging over the area.
A good quality route-finding (Silva-type) compass will do it too, but watch out for metal stuff nearby that will also affect it.

There might be small brads holding any trim in place, around the panels, but you should be able to see any filled holes. Otherwise I'd say metal is fairly unlikely.

If the door is oak, there shouldn't be any mild steel, as that causes black stains from the oak's tannin, but there might be brass (nowadays stainless steel is normally used instead as it's stronger). TCT saws and router cutters aren't usually damaged by brass - not really worse than a tough knot. I've used ordinary router cutters to modify brass plumbing fittings in the past - it made a mess (tiny, sharp brass "shavings"), but it worked and didn't hurt the cutter at all.
Thanks for the advice so far.
I don't have any rare earth magnets to hand but the first thing I tried was one of those magnetic tool holder bars. Unfortunately that didn't seem to work that well and I couldn't detect any lag when trying it on a screw on another piece of wood, with the screw about 1cm below the surface. I keep meaning to buy some rare earth magnets for other projects, so I shall remember that tip for when I get some.

Good tip a about using the compass and that's something I do have. I'll give that a go. I'll also inspect the door closely for any filled holes where they may have used pins.

It wasn't just the cutting of the door that concerned me but I'll end up routing/drilling lots of dog holes over the bench surface and didn't want to run into nails/pins then.

Great advice so far, thanks :)

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