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Wooden Garage Doors

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Cutting Crew

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Hi All,

Encouraged by the article on garage doors in the current issue of Good Woodworking, I'd like to scrap the up and over fibreglass door I have at on now and replace it with wooden doors similar to the ones shown being built. They were split one third and two thirds, not centrally as most garage doors.

My problem is I don't like the T hinges that show on the outside of the doors, is it OK to use normal butt hinges to give a cleaner appearance?

Any help and advice would be most welcome.

Regards...Mike
 

Chris Knight

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Mike,

The benefit of a strap hinge as shown in the magazine article is that it better resists the sideways load imposed by a heavy door inasmuch the screws are at right angles to the imposed load - this applies basically to the upper hinge where the weight of the door is trying to pull it away from the jamb.

With a butt hinge the pull is directly along the axis of the screw and if it were a small screw or soft wood, it could be pulled out of the door or jamb. Having said this, I would have thought that large hinges, say three or four of them and big screws into a hardwood upright on the door frame and a hardwood jamb should provide adequate strength even for a heavy door.

If hardwood can't be used for whatever reason (eg a good, pre-existing softwood jamb, then I would be tempted to let in hardwood inserts, screwed and glued in place, to take the hinges.
 

Steve Maskery

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Hi Mike
Yes, there are pros and cons of using strap v. normal butts.
The disadvantage of using straps is the tendency for the hinge itself to sag as the pin wears - you only have to look along a row of post-war semis to see what I mean. This is made much worse as the door becomes wider, as with a bi-fold door, and although I grant you that a bifo;d door look nice, good proportions etc, I would never use this method because o the load on the frame.
I made my own garage doors about 10 years ago, and I used heavy-duty butts - brass ones with steel washers, I think. The doors and frame are both softwood and I have had no trouble whatsoever. It is true to say they are not often opened, so they haven't had a lot of wear, but there is certainly no functional problem.
I use 3 hinges on each door, two in the upper half and one near the bottom.
I've not seen the article, but if you are making trad wooden garage doors for your workshop, I recommend panelling the inside with 1/4" ply and filling the cavity with insulation. Similarly mine has 4-6-4 sealed units, Flemish, for windows. It stops people being able to see in, but lets in light, and is better insulation.
Like Tesco, every little helps.
Cheers
Steve
 

Aragorn

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CC
I haven't seen the article but butts should be OK as long as they are BIG! I second Chris' suggestion to lay in hardwood inserts if the frame is pine and use 3 or 4 BIG hinges.
I did some enormous oak gates about 4 years ago. Each gate was more than I could lift. Actually they were a struggle for two people. I used 3 pairs of 6" heavy duty brass hinges (bronze pin I think) and they haven't sagged yet.
If these doors of yours are very heavy, then maybe support them in the middle when closed. e.g. they could ride up onto a small concrete or wooden "ramp" to take the weight of the hinges.
 
A

Anonymous

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As Aragorn sugested to take the weight off the hinges how about a small wheel on the inside of the door i have seen this on a few garage doors and on some heavy gates .
 

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