Ramblin' Dan's Workshop

The Sanctum of Fine Art and Invention

Shorten a Hollow Core Door

This takes just some simple woodworking. I purchased a hollow core door that I wanted to cut down to a more reasonable size. I have done this operation before so I knew what I had to do to make it a finished project.

The store clerk cut the door off 20 inches for me but it was my job to fix the now gaping wide open ends. It was a Hollow Core door after all.

I used my Powermatic table saw to cut down and square up some saved scrap wood I had in the shop. It was a good reason to put the blade guard back on the saw as the fence would be close to the blade. I didn't want this little project to end with a tragic event. I actually like my fingers. A previous project required I remove the guard.

A press tight end to end fit of the new insert is not required as the skin provides the rigidity not the corner butt splice. The skin functions the same as a gusset in the corner. The corner isn't going anywhere once the glue sets.

 

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Here is the door when I first brought it back to the shop. It is now 60 inches tall rather than the stock 80 inches. The cutoff piece is on the bench just to the left of the door. A look into the inside of a hollow core door. Those supports are cardboard. On this cheap door the skin is a composite material like soft Masonite. I must say never sand the door surface as it is micro thin!
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I dug my Powermatic 2000 table saw out from under its covers. The built in mobile base makes it easy to move. The blade guard is inserted and flipped up to make measurements and adjustments to the 10" blade.
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Here the blade guard is down in the proper location. Making some previous cuts I had removed the guard but it is safest to use the blade guard whenever possible. Like I said above, I like to keep my fingers where they are. This is the filler block I cut square with the saw. It is 1-1/8" high, 1-1/4 inches deep and 22-1/4" long. It fits tight top to bottom but the ends do not have to be a tight fit. The sharp wood chisel made quick work of clearing the cardboard filler from where the block will be glued.
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 All surfaces inside and out were coated with Titebond glue (using my finger). The enough clamps are used to make sure there is a good contact.  Here is the end after a sanding of the edges and an end surface sanding. This takes off the splinters from the saw cut and make it look like factory finished. This was about an hour after the glue was applied.
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 With such a large cutoff I figured I may as well finish this 20" end and make another flat board to use as a light weight work surface.  Again, you cannot have too many clamps in your workshop. Clamping make a slight squeeze out and assures a good bond. These filler pieces are going nowhere else.

 It's not too difficult to adjust the height of a hollow core door. I just don't let the gaping hole worry me too much after the end is cut off. The wood pieces are rather thin so there is not much wood to work with when cut down. I am aware that there is extra solid material in most hollow core doors where the door knob hardware is installed. I must be sure to cut off the proper end of the door to maintain the proper doorknob height if this was going to be used as an actual door.

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