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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Default Making bifold doors

    I need to make doors for several rooms in a space-constrained old farmhouse, casual and rustic. Pocket doors not possible. Could do a sliding "barn" type door in one location, but need to do bifolds in several other openings.

    I have old solid wood panel doors (fairly heavy) that fit the openings. I know it's sacrilege, but can I cut the doors down the middle and make them into bifolds? Is there hardware that is strong enough to hold heavy doors? I assume I need to put a track across the top of the opening to support it?

    I'm capable with tools and have a workable table saw and etc....but I've never done something like this, so any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Susan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Default Re: Making bifold doors

    Generally speaking the answer is no. 4 and 6 panel doors do not have stiles that run from top to bottom in the center so there is very little strength to handle the hinges and weight. Hollow core doors have virtually nothing in the center. The only exception is a solid door which you might be able to split and hinge.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    7,160

    Default Re: Making bifold doors

    If these doors are a flat panel, meaning smooth like a sheet of plywood, then yes you could cut them in half. If these are raised panel or flat panel doors, then no you won't be able to cut them and still maintain structural integrity.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
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    Jan 2009
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    Default Re: Making bifold doors

    Thanks for the replies. The door that I have are solid wood doors with 4 or 6 panels, but they do have a solid piece of wood down the center of the door, like the door pictured above by JLM. I guess I'm not sure why this wouldn't work. There is solid wood there down the middle on which to mount hinges. And I see that there is some pretty heavy duty bifold door hardware available. Why not?

    OK...if'n I don't use the doors I got, what type of doors should I get from the local salvage shop? (I know enough not to get hollow-core doors...I mean, we just finished complete renovations on a solid heart pine house!)

    Or I suppose I could build the doors. That would be a real show stopper. It sure would be slick to just use the old ones, don't you think? Any further suggestions about how to do it would really really be appreciated!

    Thanks again, Susan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Default Re: Making bifold doors

    OK...I think I grok what JLM is saying about not having solid vertical spline down the middle of the panel door. I see what you are getting at...the panels would start to separate under the weight.

    SO more crazy ideas: what if I cut the door in half and then add a vertical strip of nice wood to tie together the parts (down both sides of the middle) before applying the hinges. Would that do it?

    Thanks again, Susan

  6. #6
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    Jan 2009
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    Default Re: Making bifold doors

    ...or how about using long or continuous hinges to tie each side together vertically? -susan

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Making bifold doors

    Putting new stiles on the cut part of the door would work but not save you much money and if you are capable of doing that you should be able to build the complete door. A piano hinge might work but again adds to the cost. Why don't you just try to get bi-fold doors at the salvage shop or from one of the big box stores? I know Homedepot has 36 X 80 bi-fold doors listed for under $70 which would be close to what you would have to pay for one full length piano hinge.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Default Re: Making bifold doors

    I wish I could find such doors as you mention! I can only see doors in the $150-$350 range at both home depot and lowes...and NONE of them are solid wood or thicker than a thin dime. I don't suppose the $70 ones are much more than closet doors? Well, anyway, I guess I'm kind of stuck here. And, no, I'm not good enough to build my own panel doors. Maybe flat doors. Maybe. Time and energy are running low on this 5-year+ project.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    6

    Question Re: Making bifold doors

    Yes, these are room entries. I had not thought about the restriction a bifold would create. I appreciate that tip! And the old doors are pretty heavy. I'm also not good enough to reconstruct the doors. Would love to make them into french doors (that was the original dream), but the same problem exists with cutting thru the horizontal stiles when I slice up the middle.

    Still not sure where to go from here.

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