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Can I cut a door in half?

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NickM

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We're getting our bathroom sorted. Currently it has a door (into a small bedroom/dressing room) which we don't use. We were just going to take the door out and cover up the hole, but we now think we would like to turn the space into a bathroom cupboard (the wall is about 18" deep so it would be very useful storage.

I think it needs to have two doors; partly to make it look like a cupboard and also to avoid having such a large door which would take up a lot of space when open. I wondered if I could just rip the current door down the middle and use that? It appeals to me because it keeps part of the house. The idea would be keep the door frame and bring the (double) doors out to the front.

IMG_7757.jpeg


What does anyone think? Will the door just fall apart?

Thanks
 

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MikeG.

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The door won't fall apart, but it will look terrible, with two different width stiles. If it's a hollow core door, rather than a stile and rail paneled door, then you're going to have an awful job trying to fit packers neatly into the gaps on the edges (because of the incredibly thick glue that gets dribbled onto the inside faces of the hardboard). Don't do it Nick. Make a pair of narrow doors yourself.
 

NickM

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Thanks Mike

You're probably right. However, it's a "proper" stile and rail door (maybe Victorian?) which is why I'd quite like to keep it. I could even up the stiles by trimming a bit off the outsides and adding a strip to the middle.

I suppose I could give it a try and if it looks awful make some from scratch.
 

Woody2Shoes

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I think you're right - it probably is a nice old door at least 100 years old.

If the alternative is to chuck it in a skip then why not re-use it? Simply ripping it vertically half way across would take away the structural integrity (and the proportions of the components ) of the two halves. Maybe better, if you're serious about this, would be to carefully disassemble the door and rebuild two new doors out of the pieces - you could re-use the four panels for example.

PS I'd be careful about old lead paint under the layers.
 

NickM

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Thanks. Interestingly the panels aren't very well made. Some of them a very slightly raised, but one doesn't seem to be and one of them is off centre. I like it though!
 

Woody2Shoes

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NickM":1ganmehd said:
Thanks. Interestingly the panels aren't very well made. Some of them a very slightly raised, but one doesn't seem to be and one of them is off centre. I like it though!
Suggests they're hand made rather than machine made?
 

Woody2Shoes

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Woody2Shoes":1shfe6s3 said:
NickM":1shfe6s3 said:
Thanks. Interestingly the panels aren't very well made. Some of them a very slightly raised, but one doesn't seem to be and one of them is off centre. I like it though!
Suggests they're hand made rather than machine made?
The one above the doorknob could be a replacement?
 

Trevanion

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If it were me and I was trying to be a cheapskate whilst doing a half-decent job... I'd rip it down the middle and knock out the vertical mullions in the middle, put proper tenons on the rails and then put a new narrow stile on that side with wedged M+Ts.

I reckon if you just simply rip it down the middle there won't be much structural integrity left and they'll either just fall apart or sag horredously.
 

Ttrees

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What do the edges of the door look like?
It looks like it may be worth considering swapping the cut sides over to the hinges, and adding another
lamination to the half stiles.
 

TheTiddles

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I turned a hollow-core door into a bi-fold, they’re held together with hot-melt adhesive and packed with polystyrene, so you pop the faces off replace the wood all around with softwood 10x the depth of what’s there and then add decent hinges and a return/cover strip on the join in the middle so closed it looks like a normal door with a strip down the middle and open it behaves like a bi-fold, except that an off the shelf bifold is £100 and has a stupid rail at the top which is horrendous and ugly

Aidan
 

NickM

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What do the edges of the door look like?
It looks like it may be worth considering swapping the cut sides over to the hinges, and adding another
lamination to the half stiles.
Through mortise and tenon joints on the edges. It looks as though the door has been hung the other way at some point as I can see filler where the hinges used to be.
 

Ttrees

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Would it be possible to dismantle the door?
A steamer, or old coffee machine with a football needle might just be able to penetrate into the joint, with hopefully another escape route to keep things a from getting too wet.
The dovetail necks on guitars are done like that.
 

NickM

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I decided to have a go at modifying the original door and I think it will be OK.

The sides of the opening appear to be parallel so I started by marking a line up the middle of the central stile where I will cut the door. I then planed one edge of the door parallel to that line, taking off as little material as I could get away with.

IMG_7841.jpeg


I then used that flat edge as a reference to rip the door into 2 on a table saw.

IMG_7842.jpeg


The next job was to even up the stiles so I cut a bit off the outer stiles and added some new wood to the middle (planed joints).

IMG_7843.jpeg


I then decided I need to strip the old paint off.

IMG_7844.jpeg


I also filled the old handle and lock holes. Offering them up, I think they'll be OK. They need more fitting, but I haven't got the hinges yet, so will leave the final fettling until they're hung. They look a bit short (I don't remember the door being quite that short, and I haven't shortened them), but the floor level will come up with underfloor heating and tiles so it will be fine.

IMG_7845.jpeg


If it works out as I hope it will, I'll be pleased that I've been able to repurpose the original door.
 

TheTiddles

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Looking good, I find small fire door hinges way better quality than standard ones but they’re more modern and chunky which might not work for your situation
Aidan
 

NickVanBeest

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Reminds me of a house renovation I did many years ago... Had a problem with a door opening into a small bathroom, and cut it in half like this to make it a bi-fold door, saving a lot of space, and allowing me to install a full sized bath. Alternative was to let the door open into the passage, but that would have irritated me more... :)
 

lurker

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At the outset, I thought you were nuts to even think about it.
But you have done a lovely job that's in keeping with the rest of the room.
 

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