Need an idea for a jig to mortise the end of a door - Router Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Default Need an idea for a jig to mortise the end of a door

I have four, 6' wide x 8'6" tall x 1 3/4" thick solid core decorative interior maple barn doors being delivered this week for a project I'm on. They will be mounted and suspended from a very beefy overhead track and wheeled truck system. Very similar to a bipass door.
I have to field measure and make required cuts to length onsite and then route a 5'9" long x 3/4" wide x 1 1/4" deep slot centered in the end of each 1 /34" door to accomodate a 5/8" guide pin mounted in the finish concrete floor so the door will not swing from side to side. Each door weighs 280 lbs AND we get to carry them up a flight of stairs. OH boy!!! So I'm wanting minimize moving them around on sawhorses as much as possible.
I have a 3 horse, 5 speed plunge router but it weighs about 10 lbs or maybe more so it's quite heavy to hold horizontally and I have to route the slot mortise with the door laying flat because they are too tall to stand up in the available space onsite. It's a client occupied office work space. Let me just emphasise that I am not really looking forward to this task.
Any ideas/help would be much appreciated.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 02:02 PM
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That guide pin is massive, Brad. Why such a heavy duty steel rod? Wouldn't a short piece of 1/4" angle iron bolted to the floor accomplish the same thing ...then cut a 3/8" slot in the door bottom; way less material removal.
Unless somebody drives a car through the door, it's not going anywhere. If somebody does hit it with a forklift or something, that 5/8" pin will just punch out a slot in the door anyway. Overkill.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 02:04 PM
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I would probably try to use a hand held router and rig up a piece of 2x4 on the other side to support the side of the router that hangs off the end. Then you aren't struggling with it to keep the router flat on the door.

then use a slot cutting bit

Last edited by Chris Curl; 10-14-2012 at 09:49 AM.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 02:06 PM
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Brad; it also occurs to me that a builders saw with a rip fence would cut those slots in less time than it took to make a router jig. The guy that makes the cuts, and hangs the doors, will be the last person that sees the slots.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 05:53 PM
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Way too much hassle and tooling restrictions to rout with the work horizontally.
I'd find some platform, hayloft, ladder or something to get me to your 102" altitude.
Once there, a double edge guided router will waste the slot to width and depth.
Whilst 1.75" is not a lot of runway for a router, you could clamp a 1 or 2" thick stick across the breadth for
more support.
Hell no, it ain't sweet but it is easy on scaffolding or similar lift.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 06:58 PM
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You could build a 90 degree sub base for your router out of 3/8 or 1/2 ply if your bit is long enough. Use your existing base for the drilling pattern. Make sure the part that will rest on the face of the door is long and wide enough to keep the router stable, maybe even weight it down.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 07:53 AM
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I agree with Pat (Quillman). Clamp them to the side of a scaffold, platform, or porch deck so you can work them from above. Clamp some stock to both sides to form a wider working surface to improve the stability of the router and use two edge guides or a double edge guide to keep the router on track. Make several passes at increasing depths and widths until the desired slot dimensions have been reached. I have used my neighbors deck (with his permission) for working on several tall projects.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-14-2012, 10:52 PM
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Default A Lesson from Salvador Dali

I'm not making light of your project but your post reminded me of Salvador Dali.

At the museum housing some of his huge works in St. Petersburg, Florida, they show how he worked on these monstrous canvasses. "Discover of America by Christopher Columbus" is 14 feet tall and 9 feet wide. "Hallucinogenic Torreador" is 13 feet by 10 feet. "Galacidalacideoxiribunucleicacid (Homage to Crick and Watson)" is 10 feet tall by 13.5 feet wide.

He dug a pit or trench deep enough for almost an entire piece. Then he rigged chainfalls to raise and lower the thing as he worked on it.

Granted canvasses are not as heavy as your barn doors!

I hope you will take photos and share them with us.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BjR View Post
I have four, 6' wide x 8'6" tall x 1 3/4" thick solid core decorative interior maple barn doors being delivered this week for a project I'm on. They will be mounted and suspended from a very beefy overhead track and wheeled truck system. Very similar to a bipass door.
I have to field measure and make required cuts to length onsite and then route a 5'9" long x 3/4" wide x 1 1/4" deep slot centered in the end of each 1 /34" door to accomodate a 5/8" guide pin mounted in the finish concrete floor so the door will not swing from side to side. Each door weighs 280 lbs AND we get to carry them up a flight of stairs. OH boy!!! So I'm wanting minimize moving them around on sawhorses as much as possible.
I have a 3 horse, 5 speed plunge router but it weighs about 10 lbs or maybe more so it's quite heavy to hold horizontally and I have to route the slot mortise with the door laying flat because they are too tall to stand up in the available space onsite. It's a client occupied office work space. Let me just emphasise that I am not really looking forward to this task.
Any ideas/help would be much appreciated.

Do you have a quality edge guide with that router you plan to use? A good edge guide has a micro-adjustment feature so you can nail the distance the bit is cutting from the edge.

If you do, you can make an extension plate to mount to the face of the edge guide that will act sort of like an over sized router plate, except it is working with your router horizontal.

Ideally, you would have two edge guides configured the same way and sandwich the door in between.

Also, I hope your router has decent dust control... There are routers that have accessories for exactly this type of work and also have great dust control.


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-15-2012, 09:20 AM
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Brad, you need something to keep you centered on the door as you make your cut. Pat's design is really nice but if you are not likely to use it again you can build the simple mortising jig shown below. Just remove your routers sub base plate and use it as a template to mark the mounting hole locations in the jig.
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