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This is a how-to article describing the repair of a broken wooden door. The work presented here was done on a room divider door – the type that has two separate doors attached to an accordion-style frame. As with any project, make sure you read and understand all safety information pertaining to your tool use and safety before commencing this project.

Tools Required:

  1/4″ Wood chisel         Hammer         Two pry bars                     Door hinge jig kit  

(Optional) Drill Press                         Dust mask or respirator

Materials Required:

  Clamp           1″ #6 wood screws           Screwdriver bit                   4-1/2 butt hinges        Misc hardware                     Wood glue              Wood putty                     Paint or wood stain

The first step is to remove the broken door from its frame. Pry up on the bottom edge of one side of the door, then pry down on the opposite side, allowing you to slide a pry bar underneath and lift it free. This exposes hinge mounting bolts on each corner of the door. Remove these bolts with a drill/driver bit in your drill press, making sure not to damage them by stripping or breaking them. If working without a drill press, use a smaller drill bit and tap with hammer for removal of plugs from the screw holes – be careful not to lose any hardware! Once all screws are out, pull off any remaining pieces that were glued.

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Next, determine which type of hinges you will be using to reattach the door to its frame. This project uses butt hinges to mount the door – if yours is a surface hinge mounting, see below for modification prior to installation! Butt hinges are installed by removing the pins from one half and sliding them into place on the other half. Hold both pieces together horizontally as you move them towards each centerline. Insert the pin into the hole closest to it's side edge, then orient/realign so that it can also go through any remaining holes – this will ensure proper alignment with minimal interference issues later on. One additional note: Butt hinges come in various sizes, but will generally fit three different widths of door – 1-3/4″, 1-3/8″, and 1-1/16″. Check the size of your door carefully to ensure proper sizing.

Now we start installing hinges. Using a hinge jig makes this process much easier, so I highly recommend one if you don't have much experience with hinges. To use one, set it on top of the side panel and line up the holes so that they match up with those in your door and frame – do not fully tighten at this point! Once done, use a pencil to mark through each hole to indicate its location on the bottom half. Remove from top half and flip over to place against the bottom half as you re-align each hole for marking purposes as before.

Once all hinge locations are marked, remove the jig and drill out each hole with a 1/4″ bit. Then install one screw to temporarily hold in place while you drill opposite side. Use 2-1/2″ screws on all hinges for this project – there is not much load on them since the door does not open, but it's better to err on the side of too long than too short! Do not over tighten at this point either, just get everything snug so that the door lines up properly when closed.

Now comes installation of butt hinges. Start by lining up hinge with frame edge and mark position of both upper and lower mounting holes (upper ones will be done last). Drill corresponding holes with 1/8″ bit first, then enlarge to 1/4″ bit. Once holes are drilled, place hinge against door edge and use pencil to mark position of opposite side's upper and lower mounting holes on the edge of door. Remove hinges from door temporarily, then drill with 1/8″ drill bit for pilot holes. Now install the opposite side with screws loosely so that you can hold hinges in place while aligning them with your marks on door before tightening down completely.

Now that all hinges are installed except the two center ones, it's time to hang the door! Get some help for this part if possible – it will make moving everything into place much easier later on, but alone it is still very doable! Set locking pliers onto bottom half of hinge closest to outer edge of door and lift up. Align the pin on top half to hole closest to outer edge and carefully tilt over while inserting second pin into final hinge hole. Once in place, line up and attach center (non-removable) hinges and tighten down with locking pliers for all but the bottom center one. This last hinge should allow you to still open/close door if needed – test it out once everything else is attached!

Finally we start installing removable hinges that go into the upper corner near the lock mechanism, then add a latch above that to help hold door closed. First install the removable ones – I use surface mounting style for these by drilling countersink holes, applying wood glue, then using small finishing nails as anchors before inserting the screws to hold them in place. I then add a few coats of finish after that to ensure they are fully protected from moisture before moving onto attached the upper latch. The latch is a simple L-shaped bracket, and the only real requirement here is that it be flush with door edge when closed so nothing can get caught in there while opening/closing door – no need for fancy hardware here. Once you have one installed, attach hidden hinge portion to your previously installed removable hinges and use surface mounting screws into frame edge near lock mechanism for this part as well.

That's it! Move your door back into location, making sure everything lines up correctly – trim boards can be used along either side if needed to fine tune width (not needed for this project since no lock is installed, but sometimes it's nice to have a bit of wiggle room on those as some may come out of square over time. Screw in the hinges on top half of door and you're done!



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