cutting a pair of old closet doors without splintering?

I have a pair of sliding closet doors that need 1/2" cut off the ends. These doors are old and I don't want to have to repaint them. What would be the best way to trim them without splintering?
Thanks, John Walters
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I have a pair of sliding closet doors that need 1/2" cut off the ends. These doors are old and I don't want to have to repaint them. What would be the best way to trim them without splintering?
Thanks, John Walters
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John Walters wrote:

A power plane.
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Thanks! Unfortunately, I don't own one of those I don't believe.... would the local lumber yard have one?
JW

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The traditional approach is to sandwich the door bottom between two pieces of scrap lumber with clamps. Cut through all 3 sections, and you'll avoid splintering the middle piece.
You also might want to score the cut line with a razor knife.
John Walters wrote:

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John,
If these doors are very old, there is a chance that there is metal such as hidden nails in the wood that you want to remove. This is the reason why those walnut trees in your backyard have no market value as lumber. No mill wants to risk destroying an 8' or 16' planing blade on somebody's old clothesline nail buried under the bark. Likewise, I don't want to risk ruining my cutting tools helping somebody cut some lumber which may have a nail in it.
This is how I would attack it using a power plane, if I was positive there were no nails: - Draw a pencil line on both sides of the door where the cut should be. - Clamp straight scrap lumber on both sides, lined up with the pencil lines. Ideally, the total width of the door and the two other pieces of wood is greater than the width of the sole plate on the planer. - Now use the power plane. The scrap lumber provides a great guide to avoid cupping the wood or cutting too deep. When the edge of the door is even with the scrap lumber, you're done with that door.
I bought an inexpensive power plane for a friend as a gift. He loves it. He milled his own cedar bookshelf lumber from discarded material and then used the power plane to dress the edges. The plane cost $19.99 from Homier (Roaming truck sales and Internet orders). I used the cheap one a bit and it works just as well as the one that I bought many years ago for $100. The bearings in the cheap model may only last for a few hundred hours of use, but that is plenty for the average homeowner.
I suggest finding an inexpensive power planer. You'll easily get your money's worth on this project and others. It is a tool that any serious do-it-yourself type should own. Buy a spare set of blades (about $4-5) just in case you hit a nail. I've never dinged my blades, but if I do then I'll keep that set for planing questionable lumber.
Obviously, experiment with the power planer before attacking the doors. The depth of cut is adjustable from moderately deep bites down to paper thin shavings. Also, remember that the blade is going to coast and continue spinning for a bit after you release the trigger. Watch your fingers.
By the way, don't forget to seal the fresh cuts on the door with a quick coat of paint. If the cuts won't show (top or bottom of door), then a coat of shellac is even quicker - it just takes minutes to dry to a light amber color.
Good luck, Gideon
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this shallow cut keeps the wood from splintering
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I also suggest the sandwich approach. But, is this a hollow door or solid? If its hollow you will have to remove the bottom wood cap and replace it after cutting.
Mike John Walters wrote:

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-- > I also suggest the sandwich approach. But, is this a hollow door or

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longshot wrote:

Unless they've been cut before and there's only 3/8" there <G>
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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John Walters wrote:

Harbor Freight: $40.00 http://order.harborfreight.com/EasyAsk/harborfreight/results.jsp
eBay: $13.00 (search "planer") http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&categoryB283&itemC61669958&rd=1
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Homier: $19.99 Item #01770 (but currently out-of-stock): www.homier.com
Gideon
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John Walters wrote:

the length of the cut. Assuming you're using a circular saw, work from the back of the door so the blade's rotation is cutting into the face, leaving any splintering on the unseen backside. Also use a cross-cut or finishing blade, not a rip or combo; more teeth=smoother cut.
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