I have some cheap beat-up luan doors in my house that I want to replace. I
can buy the 6-panel pine slabs for about 1/2 the cost of pre-hung solid
pine, and will probably go that route since the existing door casing and
frames are in perfect condition, and the underlying framing should support
the extra weight.
I suspect that the edge will have to be trimmed by a 1/8 or 1/4, and I know
that the strike side of the door should be bevelled 3 to 5 degrees.
So I am debating in my mind the best way:
1) Can I get by aggressively sanding the edge with a random orbital sander,
taking off wood, and bevelling at the same time? Time consuming, no doubt.
But will it be effective?
2) Should I carefully rip with a skilsaw set on a bevel using a clamped
straight-edge, and then sand the saw marks? In theory, it sounds easy, but
I doubt that would hold in practice, having to worry about the kerf, any
accidental wiggle in the saw, etc.
3) Buy an electric planer (about the cost of 1 pre-hung door)? I've never
used one. Obviously they can shave down the edge, but can they bevel at the
4) Belt sander?
Thanks for any advice.
I've replace three luan doors in my house so far with the pine. I use
option 2 but don't bevel the edges (The luan wasn't beveled). It works
perfectly. You can buy a straight edge at the Borg for this purpose (it's
an aluminum edge guide for a circular saw). I used an 80 tooth smooth
plywood blade made by dewault and got a perfect edge on all the doors.
You might consider bevelling the hinge side as well. About 1 degree or so.
Any of those methods will work. The concern with the sanders is maintaining
a consistent edge. It can be done but you have to be careful and keep the
sander moving constantly. . The skilsaw still needs to have the cut cleaned
up and you risk damaging the finish on the door as you slide it across. For
a small trim and bevel I'd just mark the door on on either side (one for the
trim and one to define the bevel) and remove the material with a handplane.
You should not have to bevel your edges. A door will open and close just
fine with a square edge as long as there's enough margin between the jam and
the door. I wouldn't lose any sleep trying to get a 5 degree bevel if it
I sure hope you never try to hang commercial 1 3/4 doors with hard
wood stiles with your method and hope to get them past the
inspector, architect, or owner.
Keep the whole world singing. . . .
Well - I've never hung commercial doors for architects but I've hung a ton
of standard residential doors and I know that you do not need a bevel on the
leading edge. Standard margins allow enough room for the door to swing
without contacting the jam. The OP was asking about residential doors so I
suppose your 1 3/4 door really does not apply to his question.
Check the new door - it may already be beveled. If not, then use a
marking gauge to set the depth of the bevel (you're basically marking
one face of the door. Mark the ends as well, and then use a jack
plane to plane down to that mark. If you're nervous about planing
unevenly, scribble pencil on the edge of the door, and then plane off
the scribble marks (you'll want to make your scribbles beginning on
the leading edge of the door or you're going to take the whole thing
down, sans a bevel, and you don't want that).
For the other side, where you're going to have to trim, if you've got
1/4" or more, it'd be easier to use a skilsaw with its flimsy fence
(they don't work that bad, actually), and then plane the rest down
with a.... you guessed it, a jack plane.
A decent jack plane can be had on ebay at any moment, for about $25 +
shipping. Even the most hard-over Normite can use a jack plane for
something besides a paperwight.
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