Estimate on cutting/edgebanding closet doors--how does this sound

mahatmacat1September 29, 2007

We're making doors for some floor-to-ceiling modular closet units in our bedroom. We have the walnut plywood, and are considering having someone cut the doors to size, drill the hinge holes (blum inserta) and edgeband them with 1/8" solid walnut and finish them (simple clear finish).

We've got 7 doors, avg. 15" x 90".

Does anyone have any experience with doing something like this or having it done? If so, what kind of ballpark price should we be looking for, realistically? We're in the PNW, if that matters.

We *could* do it, I suppose, but our garage is crammed with other materials for the remodel and it would be great to have the doors done in someone else's (presumably less dusty) space. Thanks for any advice anyone can offer on this; we'd like to know what's a fair price that isn't taking advantage of either side.

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I've never used the Inserta hinges, so I looked them up to make sure there isn't anything especially demanding about boring for them. Holy cow, are those things expensive!

Okay, setting my shock aside, I think it's pretty hard to pin down a "fair" price that would be relevant in your local area. Another way to frame the question would be: how much does it cost to have someone manufacture and finish large custom slab doors, with thick edgebanding? You've already got the plywood, but that means you're probably limited to a handful of shops near enough that you'll be willing to truck that plywood to them, and their prices will depend not so much on the amount of work involved, which isn't huge, but on how easily the project can be fit into their normal workflow, and whether they think it's worth getting involved in a relatively low-revenue, high-risk job.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 7:46AM
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Very often that kind of project requires custom fitting each door---or at least each set to get an acceptable look when all done. If all the doors are cut to the same dimensions, it is very possible at least one will not fit correctly.

I used to do jobs like that as a handy man remodeler----because shops/larger companies did not want small jobs like that. All those steps can be done on site by a decent handyman with carpenter experience.

As for prices, I would have charged $35 an hour and expected that job to take about 8 hours---depending on the type and number of coats of finish.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 9:23AM
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Handymac, are you saying it takes you a little over an hour to cut a door from a piece of plywood, apply and trim 1/8" solid edgebanding, bore for cup hinges, sand and apply multiple coats of finish to both sides? If so, you're a better man than I. Or did you mean 8 hours per door?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 9:32AM
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jon & handymac, thanks for your replies. jon, you know what: Ikea sells a hinge called the blum integra, which is the blum inserta made for them specifically--the price is *much* lower. The reason we're going with those is that the center ply of the plywood is MDF and the expanding cams on the sides grip much more tightly and reliably than regular screw hinges. They're made for the Ikea kitchen line (their top-of-the-line product, warranteed for 25 years) but you can buy them separately :)

handymac, I appreciate your being willing to put some kind of price on the job--although my question is the same as Jon's -- can you really do all that in one hour?? If so, I'll fly you out here :). Re the size of boxes: the boxes we're using are mass-produced Ikea boxes, and their doors are all cut to the exact same dimensions, so at least we know the boxes are a reliably regular size.

I'm wondering if a larger company with an edgebander might be willing to do it, and it might be less expensive since they have the machine to do the work...

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 12:46PM
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"I'm wondering if a larger company with an edgebander might be willing to do it, and it might be less expensive since they have the machine to do the work..."

That would depend on whether they ordinarily do 1/8" edgebanding. I'm not intimately familiar with commercial edgebanders, but I know they're not all capable of applying heavier banding. The typical hurdle with complex machinery like an edgebander is setup time, and it may not be worth reconfiguring a machine for your little job.

In case you really want to over-think this...

Here is a link that might be useful: slab door discussion on woodweb

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 1:49PM
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Mass production is the key.

Measure and cut all the doors--two hours. Edge band them---the iron on kind--one hour. Apply the first coat of finish on half of them---shellac will dry in thirty minutes. Install hinges on other half. Reverse the procedure--thirty minutes. Might take another hour to install hinges. Leaves five hours to add coats of shellac and install the doors---or complete the hinge install.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 7:22PM
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I don't think I've ever seen iron-in edge banding that's 1/8" thick, and Google doesn't turn up any such thing either - probably because it would be nigh impossible to iron it on without distorting it and/or scorching the exposed face. The veneer tape compromise would make your scheme more plausible. Shellac certainly cuts the drying time, and is probably good enough since these are closets rather than kitchen or bath cabinets. Shellac gets an undeserved bad rap, I think. Still, 30 seconds per foot to iron-on and trim is pretty good. I think you'd have me beat there.

I was envisioning having to special-order (or make) solid edgebanding to meet the 1/8" spec, and gluing that on without an edgebander is an affair of clamps and cauls and waiting, not to mention trickier trimming, that would make such a pace impossible. I also was thinking of more commercial-type finishes.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 8:07PM
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Ya got me there---I missed the 1/8" edge banding. That would be simple enough to make, however, from walnut lumber. That would add a full 24 hours of clock time---not necessarily working time---glue drying time. It will add about three hours of application time if it were just glued and clamped and not installed with brads.

You could shorten the clamping time by clamping 4 doors together---side by side. Some oiled paper between each door with more over the tops(to prevent pipe discoloration) and use pipe clamps.

Many woodworkers do what they do for tactile enjoyment. They really enjoy the it, which tends to lengthen the process. That is an excellent reason to do woodworking. But, not a good way to run a job for profit.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 5:39PM
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