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Old-Timey All Wooden Sliding Doors

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Osvaldd

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I'd like to build a cupboard in my small utility room. I want to avoid hinged doors because they will cause trouble in such small space. I also would like to refrain from using modern sliding mechanisms.
I'm looking for some advice regarding making all wooden sliding doors. Do I just cut two grooves in the top and bottom battens and hope for the best?
 

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MikeG.

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Osvaldd":c3oodzfo said:
..... Do I just cut a two grooves in the top and bottom battens........
Yes.

The upper grooves have to be extra deep to allow for fitting the doors. It is also a good idea to make the doors as wide and short as possible. Landscape rather than portrait if you can, otherwise they tend to tip and vibrate rather than slide well.
 

Osvaldd

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MikeG.":33eg3h91 said:
The upper grooves have to be extra deep to allow for fitting the doors. It is also a good idea to make the doors as wide and short as possible. Landscape rather than portrait .
Thanks for the suggestions Mike, I somehow missed the extra deep upper grooves part. Very very helpful.
Regarding the size of the door theres really nothing I can do here, the cupboard is exactly 100cm x 100cm so the door will have to be narrow and tall.
 

Osvaldd

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Geoff_S":1yqcpm3a said:
Would the weight of the doors be a consideration?
I'd like to know that too, at the moment my plan is to simply glue up a 20mm panel for the doors. But maybe it would be better to make a 20mm frame with 10mm panel inside that frame?
 

MikeG.

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Osvaldd":3ivrwv1y said:
......Regarding the size of the door theres really nothing I can do here, the cupboard is exactly 100cm x 100cm so the door will have to be narrow and tall.
They won't slide well at all. Couldn't you have one open shelf, and have the doors less tall?
 

Mike Jordan

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Timber doors sliding in timber grooves won't be very satisfactory, and, as Mike says they will trap or stick. Try googling Chasmood track, that will show inexpensive ways of using plastic tracks or grooved items. I would favour hanging the doors from the alloy top track with the little wheels.
 

Myfordman

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Agreed. This is a case where use of hardware will radically improve the function of the doors.
Hanging from the top is far better than wheels on the bottom due to risk of accumlated debris in the bottom track over time.
 

owen

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Why don't you want to hinge the doors? Normal kitchen cupboard hinges would be perfect for this?
 

sammy.se

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MikeG.":x1bymw02 said:
Osvaldd":x1bymw02 said:
......Regarding the size of the door theres really nothing I can do here, the cupboard is exactly 100cm x 100cm so the door will have to be narrow and tall.
They won't slide well at all. Couldn't you have one open shelf, and have the doors less tall?
Or split the length in two, and have an upper set and lower set of sliding doors, with a rail going across?
Then you would have 50cm high X 50cm wide doors...
....just a thought

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
 

woodbloke66

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Mike Jordan":stdvr2kw said:
Timber doors sliding in timber grooves won't be very satisfactory, and, as Mike says they will trap or stick.
The might do but I wonder how the Japanese managed for centuries? Go to any traditional Japanese building and you'll find sliding wooden doors running in wooden grooves - Rob
 

Osvaldd

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Thanks all, I guess it's back to the drawing board. I really want to avoid using all these modern gizmos though, its not some fancy wardrobe. Its a utility cupboard that will be rarely used anyway.

owen":juc2vcmw said:
Why don't you want to hinge the doors? Normal kitchen cupboard hinges would be perfect for this?
I'm worried hinged cupboard door is going to clash with the kitchen door, it opens into the utility room, see first pic.
 

MikeG.

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Mike Jordan":3ozkyqgv said:
Timber doors sliding in timber grooves won't be very satisfactory.......
Done properly, they can be very satisfactory indeed. They've worked for centuries, so there is no reason they can't be made to work very well now.
 

AndyT

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If you want them old-timey and without hardware, the usual method afaik is to use unframed plywood or hardboard running in narrow grooves. Cut a thumbhole in each one to hold them by.
You can buy an extruded plastic track if you want. Probably meant for 4mm glass doors but might provide the smooth slippery surface you need. Hide it in a wider groove or in a rebate if preferred.
I don't think a utility cupboard needs anything more elaborate.
 

MusicMan

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woodbloke66":1359tkej said:
Mike Jordan":1359tkej said:
Timber doors sliding in timber grooves won't be very satisfactory, and, as Mike says they will trap or stick.
The might do but I wonder how the Japanese managed for centuries? Go to any traditional Japanese building and you'll find sliding wooden doors running in wooden grooves - Rob
Yes they do. However, they are much lighter in construction than most Western doors. The framework is a lattice made from straight-grained cedar, with thin wood precisely lap-jointed for stiffness, and the panels are paper. Of course they are well made, so they aren't curved (avoids jamming) and the wood is selected to be free from warp and twist,

The grooves are also well made out of similar wood.

There are plenty of books on Japanese woodwork which describe what to do.

Keith
 

thomashenry

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I'm about to do exactly this to complete the job of installing some built in wardrobes. I'll have two 1mx2.3m doors one track, and two .75x2.3m doors on the other track. I too absolutely want to avoid using any hardware. 18mm plywood doors would be around 20-25kg for this size I would think, so the first thing I'll try is putting some low friction pads on the underside of the doors and seeing how it goes.

I was using my Makita 9404 belt sander the other day and thought about the graphite pad on that... I might try just cutting one of those up and sticking a few bits on the underside of the doors to see how they slide.
 

Osvaldd

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Finished this today. Very pleased with it. Slides well enough, I'll give it a few coats of BLO and wax the tracks. The only thing is that staining knotty softwood is a bit blotchy.
 

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AndyT

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That looks like a success!
How did you make the grooves in the end - plough plane, router or plastic insert?
 

Osvaldd

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All done by hand, Andy, all wood on wood action. Hope it doesn't expand or swell up tho, it shouldn't.
 

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