trimming masonite doors questions

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I have not received anything from masonite.com yet regarding my message. I figured there would be some carpenters in here who might know how much I can trim from these doors' four sides.
I did not ask which type of paint should I buy to finish these: oil or latex, or does it matter, because I will have white semi-gloss CIL oil for the jambs, mouldings and casing already, but not any latex.
There are two things I forgot to mention in the original message:
Three of the four doors have between 5/16" and 5/8" interference throughout the doors swing path at the conrete floor, something not covered fully in the question. Hopefully I can get HD to cut the side(s) on their panel saw. However one employee said they got crap for doing this - I didn't ask why. My local store was very good at cutting all my jambs from a 4' x 8' sheet using my AutoCAD dimensioned drawing.
Second, to avoid splintering I wonder if I should: A) put a strip of masking tape centered along the line of cut B) make a score with a knife along the cut line C) both A & B above
If I were to score a line, even though I am confident that the panel saw and/or operator is good to 1/64" I believe that anywhere around 1mm or 2mm on the keep side from the cut line would accomplish the desired result. Am I correct?
THE MESSAGE: I have roughed openings for four of your 6-panel (I believe they are "hollow", not by my choice) grain-simulated primed doors I plan to buy at Home Depot here in Toronto. Without any jambs or pre-mortising. One of four doors is bi-fold. I am planning on using " jambs, thus leaving 30" widths in all but the bi-fold (leaving 24" or 24-1/2").
The basement concrete floor is completely unfinished and tiles are probably next. Everything should be very level because I just made it. I do not know exactly how much to deduct at the bottom. Maybe 1"? In the 76" high door, the top jamb will be attached directly under a metal I-beam, so there is no room for height adjustment. There is very little room for height adjustment in the other 3 openings either.
26" x (69-1/2" to 78-1/2") - the bi-fold, in bathroom
31-1/2" x 77-1/4" - the bathroom door which will have a rug and tiles to clear
31-1/2" x 76"
31-1/2" x 73-1/2"
So if you take 2" off the height of the bathroom doors and 1-3/4" from the last two to account for the planned " top jamb and floors you get these finished door sizes:
67-1/2" to 76-1/2" (24" x bi-fold)
75-1/4" (30" x)
74-1/4" (30" x)
71-3/4" (30" x)
I have just guessed how much to trim off the total height. Can you be more specific? Also I am not sure which widths are available for the bi-fold door. I hope I can get a 24" standard width.
The biggest question is about trimming these doors, which are available in 78" height. How much can I trim from the top and bottom specifically, not so much the hinge side and strike side. And given these exact heights do I need to worry about trimming both the top and bottoms at the same time to accommodate? I know how to tuck the inserts back into the door from the trimmed off ends. I don't know if you can buy doors any smaller in height than 78" or if they are custom-orderable if need be.
And also if it is advisable to have Home Depot put them on their panel saw to do the trimming. My only blade is a combination type on a Mastercraft table saw. I have a jig saw, but I would have to rent or buy a circular saw, and probably would not (but could) buy a special blade specifically for this one time.
The widths I believe are standard. I am not sure if there should be any width clearance given between the jamb and door when installed. Should there be, and is it already made into the door for an exact 30" or 24" opening? Do I have some sanding to do? Should I try to put the 1-2 degree angle on the hinge side, and 3-5 degree on the strike side, or do they come with one? Are they necessary?
P.S. I was told that pre-finished white is not available in the doors I want here in Toronto. Is this true? It is primed only?
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Most masonite doors I have used have about 1" of material all the way around the door with a lock block one one side and sometimes both sides. We used to see a 2" bottom block in about everything but not so anymore. Most doors are set up with 7/8" clearance at the floor. I'm always installing doors prior to installation of the finished floor so I'll add 1/2" for carpet, 3/4" wood floor or tile with a concrete board backer.

If the openings don't require you to cut off more than 1"-2" I'd take it all off the bottom and then plug the bottom with the piece you cut out. Assuming the doors have been drilled for locks, you probably don't want to lower the locks much more than that.

With sharp blade you can cut a masonite door without scoring it. I cut them on the table saw (with someone tailing the door) but you want to use a push stick to push off the drop or you can send it right through a window or wall...or you. I do bi-folds a little differently if they have to be cut beyond the block in the bottom. Bi-folds have a little flexibilty in how they adjust for height. You may be able to adjust them higher so that they don't have too be cut off too much. If I'm going to have enough block left after cutting them off, I'll cut the bottom. If however I have to cut the block entirely out and then replace it, I'll cut the top off instead. My feeling is that all the weight of the bifold is on the bottom pivot point and I'm a little concerned that the re-glued bottom block may fail. That may just be me. One other note, all of this is kinda dependant on cutting off a small amount (up to 2" or so) that won't be too noticeable on the door. For instance if you needed to cut 5" off the door and bottom cross buck was only 4" high you might need to cut both ends.

All of the masonite doors I've seen are already beveled on one edge which is the lock side. The other side is not beveled because modern hinges are manufactured so that the bevel on the hinge side of the door is not needed. Normally the inside measurement of the jamb is 3/16" or so wider than the door.

I've never seen any that were truly pre-finished. The doors look white but they are only primed.
Mike O.
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I will be drilling the holes and chiselling the lockset into the doors.
Assuming " for the tiles, and another 5/8" gap open for air, and the exact horizontal interference at the floor, and allowing 1/4" more for rugs( a greatest total of 7/8") I need to trim to these heights from the 78" doors:
67-13/16"-76-13/16" (bi-fold). Actually 75-5/8" or 76" door height is all as high asI should go without putting any dangerous stresses on plumbing pipes above top jamb(@3/4")
75-3/16"
74-5/8"
71-1/2"
can this be done, and how?
I just checked 6 other installed interior doors. There is a bevel on the strike side, which changes door width dimensions by between 1/16" and 1/8". From nominal there is a definite difference of " between door and opening (counting 5's and 2's). I have 0,1,2,3, & 4 /16ths less on the door, and 0,0,2,4,4 /16ths greater jamb openings. I did a couple of these myself and put a bevel or two in backward. I had thought that much of a gap is nearly as great as the width of the door stop and I could do better. Wrong! I think I'll be deep in sawdust soon.
So when you buy doors do you have to select either a left or right opening or do you have to shave it yourself? Is there a different bevel on both sides? Or is there an equally great bevel on both sides (two lines would converge) so you only need to rotate the door 180 degrees for a clockwise or ccw install. I can't measure the bevel on the hinge side without taking the doors off. And I installed some of these, they're different, old, etc.
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Are these doors flat blank doors or do they have a design (like colonist style ) that is designed into the door? If there is a design then cutting off 6" or 8" will likely get into the design elements of the door. If that's the case you will need to layout the cuts that will work from both ends. If they are just flat doors, you should be able to cut off just one end as long as your lock block is long enough so that you can still bore the door a a comfortable height. You can easily tell how much top and bottom block and lock block the door has by lightly tapping on it with a hammer. You will hear the hollowness when you run out of block. Since you are cutting off so much, you will have to plug the door after cutting it down. I do that by taking the piece I cut off and ripping the door face off of each side of the bottom (or top) block. Then just glue and clamp it back into the bottom (or top) of the door.

When we hang our own doors we bevel them on the joiner on the lock side only. The bevel goes from about 1/8" to nothing. So, the door is the same size it always was on one side and 1/8" narrower on the stop side. As I said before unless you are using older hinges, you do not need to bevel the hinge side of the door.

This depends on your supplier. My guess is that if you are buying blanks, they will have no bevel. However if your supplier also hangs doors for sale they may have lefts and right available. If the doors are flat faced it doesn't matter as you can reverse the door. Ideally, since you are cutting off so much, a flat faced door with two lock blocks would be preferrable. You can cut off one end (assuming the lock blocks are long enough) and you can reverse the door to accomodate any bow the door might have. When hanging doors if the door has some bow to it you want to hang it so that the top and bottom of the door hit the stop. This way the lock will pull the door tight and it will not hang out of the opening at the top or bottom. If you have only one lock block, you have little choice as to which way to hang it.

If the doors are beveled on both sides the degree of bevel will likely be the same. I think you are more likely to get doors that are not beveled than you are to get doors beveled on both sides. Call your supplier and tell them you need to hang your own doors and ask them what is available.
Mike O.
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Mike O. wrote:

bevel with newer hinges. All of the hinges I have seen are essentially the same basic style. You can not fit the door closely to the frame unless the edge is beveled. Or contrariwise, you don't have to bevel but the door crack will have to be wider. What are the hinges that don't require a bevel for a close fitting door?
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On Sun, 27 Nov 2005 05:26:42 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

Almost all newer residential door hinges don't require a bevel. Open a box a the local borg and close the hinge until the butts are parrallel. You'll notice that there is still about 1/16" gap between the butts. If you look at the butts closely you also notice a small bend on only one of the butts. This actually builds the bevel into the hinge. Most prehung doors you buy today are not beveled on the hinge side for this very reason. If you do choose to use a bevel with these hinges you will actually increase the gap between the hinge side of the door and the jamb because the hinge is more open than is required.
Mike O.
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dont know where you are but here in N.C. i have not seen a pre machined door of any kind that was not beveled on BOTH sides. been hanging commercial and residential doors for nearly 20 years. the bevel prevents binding at the hinge and it also helps to close the gap down to acceptable 1/8" standard. if you do not bevel the hinge side the margine will be more than 1/8" and look odd. IMHO.
skeez
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I'm not doubting what you see in your area. I also don't doubt your experience only to say that I do have you beat by more than a few years.

True
Not true. If you do not bevel a door (with non swaged hinges) you will in fact move the door closer to the jamb which causes the binding problem you described. You end up with no gap between the door and jamb.
I assure you that I understand the concept of beveling the hinge side to prevent binding. This process is still required with most commercial hinges because they are still manufactured so that the leaves lay flat against each other when fully closed. However, I'll stand by my statement that most residential hinge manufacturers are making a hinge that does what I describe. They are called swaged hinges. There is a 1/16" gap built into the hinge when the leaves are parrallel (ie. the door is closed). The companies pre-hanging residential doors here (including the borgs and at least 5 lumber yards or millworks) are all using swaged hinges and the hinge side of the doors are NOT beveled. Using these hinges with a non-beveled door will result in a 1/16" gap between door and jam (when closed) as is intended by the hinge manufacturer. If using swaged hinges and a gap larger than 1/16" (on the hinge side) is preferred, you will need to bevel the door which opens the hinge and moves the door away from the jamb.
Here is the link to national that shows the design of their swaged hinge. www.natman.com/ConsumerBrochures/HingeCon.pdf I believe that all of thier residential door hinges are swaged but didn't look through the catalog to confirm that. You might also notice on thier instruction pages there is no reference to putting a bevel on the hinge side.
These hinges are not new and have been used here for the last several years.
Mike O.
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i have seen these national hinges and while they reguire no bevel as you say they are about the worst excuse for a hinge i have ever used. JMHO of course. if as you say only 1/16 " margin is right on a res door then why are res jambs full width of the size they are suposed to be and the doors machined 1/4" smaller? probly so you get a 1/8" margin on each side. i dont doubt your experiance either but ask your self this if you only have one side of a presized door beveled how can you reverse the hand? i have probly hung 100000 comercial doors over the years and every one of em was either pre machined and beveled both sides or i had to do the machining myself and make them that way. it depends on what the customer ordered. i have also hung several thousand res doors and they are beveled both sides also. i get em from the borg and lumber yards and door companies. around here they are beveled both sides and lock blocks are installed on both sides so they can be handed either way. the manufacturers do not distinguish LH or RH they only care about what style.if ya think about it it does make some sense on their part. because they can make em all the same and eliminate some errors. some areas are different though. when i was in PA a year or so ago i was asked by a family member to hang a door in the basement. no prob. when i got to the lumber yard i found that what they called a pre hung unit was totaly different than pre hung units around here. here they sell split jambs with casing already istalled there a pre hung is a solid jamb with the door in it and no casing. they had 5/8 drywall in the basement. well guess what? that type of jamb is made for 1/2 " drywall. a simple door became a larger project because of it. had to make jamb extentions with a skill saw because a tablesaw was not available. sure wish i had my tools with me on that trip..any way i stand by my statement that a properly hung door is beveled both sides. its the way i was taught and the way i will always do it. i may be wrong but im too old to change now.
skeez
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If the doors are 1/4" smaller, my guess is they have been machined that way for hanging. The blank doors we get are a full size (on the non beveled side) whether 2/0,2/4,2/6 or whatever. As far as swaged hinges go I believe that all of the manufacturers make hinges that are either standard design or swaged in one configuration or another. I believe the ones we see on pre-hungs here are actually "one leaf half-swaged".

With slab doors the doors are still reversible by turning the door so that the bottom is now the top. The real problem with this method is that you cannot hang the door according to any warp that might be in the door. As far as colonist (or other style) masonite doors, the lumber yards and mills we deal with order them in bulk as rights and lefts. They do no processing of any bevel on the doors because the lock side is already beveled from the factory. These doors also only have one lock block. When we get them, the primer is still on all six sides so I know they are not beveled locally. Another problem is that if we order a blank for a pocket door, we have to actually take the bevel off of the door since the oposite flat edge has no lock block. No one here is stocking a true blank.

I would agree that this does make sense and that is the way it has always been done before the last 4 or 5 years here. I'll tell you I was just as surprised as anyone when I saw the first door milled this way. There has to be some kind of financial reason for the change.

That's the way I was taught to do it also. I'm not saying it's wrong either. What I am saying is that the first thing I do is open the case of hinges to see if they are swaged.:-)
Mike O.
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mostly 6 panel doors here so that doesnt work. flat doors are not seen much here these days.
The real problem with this method is

true.
blocks. i cant figure why a manuacturer would only do one side. seems it would add to inventory and production problems. ahhhh what do i know im just s dumb carpenter i gues. :-]

hmmmm... guess i beter start looking first cause if its happenin there it will here too if they think they will profit from the change. lol

skeez
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Mike O. wrote:

I'm still confused because my 1976 original hinges look just like the new hinges I bought. I can see how if the door hinge is bent just right you would decrease or eliminate the need for a bevel on the lock side. But these hinges (and they look just like your swagged hinges in the url you gave to skeezics) won't do that. The hinge would need to bent so that the when closed the edge away from the pin would need to be closer to the other hinge and they are not that way.
BTW, BORG doors I bought say they need to be bevel on the lock side. And I can guarantee, with my hinges I need to do that. But, I'll keep looking around, maybe the new hinges I bought are the old type. It sure would have been a pleasure to not have to bevel the lock side. As it was the original doors were about 1/4" less wide than nominal, so all of my new doors (which were nominal sizes in width) had to be cut down to fit the frames.
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On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 00:27:07 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

The lock side still needs a bevel, with swaged hinges, the hinge side does not.
Mike O.
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Mike O. wrote:

OH, ok. I guess I misinterpreted what was said here. Thank god, I'm not going nuts. I though people were saying there didn't need to be a bevel on the lock side. Never heard of, or seen, a bevel on the hinge side, no matter what kind of hinge, but I guess it could be necessary if you have the door very tight to the stop.
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bent wrote:

The doors you buy from HD will have no bevel. If you buy blanks doors (no holes or mortises) there is no left or right swing. You determine that by the mortises for the hinges and bevel on the lock edge. The pamphlet instructions for the doors tell you how to install and how much bevel. I forget, but I think 5-8 degrees is fairly standard.
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The doors at HD here are beveled both sides with the lines converging. The swaged hinges (Stanley) are not quite parallel, which I guess indicates a generous gap on the hinge side. Does this indicate I should trim this edge with a right angle, or possibly with the reverse bevel (does this make a difference)? - I hate to say I forgot to measure the width of the nominal 30" wide door, and can't comment yet. And what about the HD panel saw and trimming methods I suggested?
In order to get these 4 doors, which are within 20 feet of one another, to look right, I think the answer I'm looking for is to draw an imaginary line through the center of the strike/position on the center panel, say 37-1/2" from the floor, and trim the tops AND bottoms accordingly: Y or N?
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If the door is already beveled I'd use them that way. You may end up with a little more gap at the jamb because of the swaged hinge but it shouldn't be too much.

IMO you can trim a masonite door with about anything. You won't get splintering because the face is not a veneer skin. Plus, the doors will paint later anyway.

If that's looks better to you, go for it. If you have to cut more than a couple of inches you will lower the knob too much (assuming you cut the bottom) and I do think you want that knob in the middle cross buck no matter what.
Mike O.
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I am asking what does look right. I am cutting a total of
2-1/4" (bifold)
2-13/16"
3-3/8"
6-1/2"
from the total heights
IF I DID cut from the same ends only (all top or all bottom) I think it would look weird.
However I also think it would look weird if I choose to cut from both ends to cut too much off the top panels,. WHAT TO DO? I need an equation.
Both the 78" bi-fold and 78" doors have similar top (3-11/16", 3-11/16"), middle(messy notes, both around 4-1/4"), and lower (5-13/16" bi, 6-7/8") horizontal panels, and the sides are ~4-1/2". The bi-fold is 77" high
btw I know each panel of a 24" bi-fold is 11-3/4", but its plastic wrapped, so I don't know what the center (hinge) gap adds to the total width.
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woops, you can't get things right unless you do it 8 times. I'm just using this post as a calculator and waiting for someone to tell me what I should know.
both have stiles (V) that are 4-1/4" (+/- 1/8") on the outside, and the bi-fold a 1-3/4" x2, plus hinge
then, top to bottom (~)
bifold regular 3-3/4" rail 3-3/4" rail 8-1/2" raised panel 8-1/8" raised panel 4" rail 4" rail 24" raised panel 24" raised panel 7" rail 7" rail 24" raised panel 24" raised panel 5-15/16" rail 6-3/4" rail
remove: remove: 2-1/4" 2-13/16" 3-3/8" 6-1/2" . p.s I just got a message that my cable internet supplier (rogers.com - huge here in Toronto) is dropping usenet. They say no-one uses it. They even point to giganews. I wonder if the compalints will reverse this decision. Why would they drop this. I've often wondered what was up with this anyways.
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Since having to cut 3'-6" off a door is not a very common thing to do, I'd say there is no set rule. You're just gonna have to decide and go for it.

Remember, if these go into existing openings and you want the strike plate to remain in the same place, you may or may not be able to keep the door knob bore (assuming the doors aren't bored already) in the center rail of the door. That will just depend on how you cut them.
If it were me, I'd cut the first two smaller amounts all from the bottom. That should leave the top and bottom rail about the same width so I don't think that would look too bad. The other two I'd probaby have to take of each end. On the 6-1/2" cut you're going to run out of rail at the bottom.

The bifold should fit into an opening the proper size of the bifold(s). If you are using a 4/0 bifold it should fit into a 4' wide finished opening.
Mike O.
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