» Fixing a Bifold Closet Door #

Paul R. Brown @ 2008-01-08

Somehow, one of the bifold closet doors in the house got broken. The door has a hollow construction with pivota at the top and bottom set into 3/8" holes in relatively small pieces of wood (maybe 2x2s?). Whatever happened broke a chunk of wood out of the piece of wood on the bottom of the door in the worst possible place, taking half the hole with it and pushing the front and back surface of the door out. To make matters worse, we discovered this when the door fell out and attacked my wife when she tried to open it...

Replacing the door wasn't an option, since it is part of a bank of four such doors that all match and also match other doors in the house, and the doors lack any sort of identifying marks as to the manufacturer. My best guess was Jeld Wen, but there is a huge variety of different dimensions, proportions, and styles. So I set out to repair it as a weekend project.

Pipe Clamp and Guide Completed Repair

Here was the process:

  1. Craft a piece of wood to roughly match the missing tetrahedron.
  2. Reglue the front/back/side of the door onto the remaining wood with carpenter's glue. Clamp to shape and wipe off excess; let dry.
  3. Glue the custom-made hunk of wood into place with some Gorilla Glue. It's the right glue for the job because it expands as it dries, ensuring a tight fit. The only odd thing is that you need to moisten the wood before gluing. I clamped the door into the right shape with some scrap 1x4 to ensure that it didn't force the door apart. Let cure.
  4. Use a razor blade to ensure that the bottom surface of the door is flat and smooth.
  5. Construct a guide for the 3/8" hole by drilling through a piece of scrap lumber. This is important, as there's no way to hand-hold the drill steady enough to drill the half a hole that you need.
  6. Use a pipe clamp (cheap and useful!) to clamp the guide in place on the bottom of the door and a piece of scrap lumber on the top of the door.
  7. Drill the hole using the guide, remove the clamp, and tap in the sleeve for the bottom pivot with a mallet.
  8. Install the door.

That was fun.


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