Floor Rails

This is probably the penultimate report on the shop doors. I feel like that project is finally drawing to a close. It’s about damn time. “Operation Overreach” must eventually come to an end.

I measured the thickness of the bottom of the doors and ripped chunks of polypropylene with the table-saw, then decided arbitrarily that the slot was going to be 3/4″ wide (seems good) and 3/16″ deep. So I did a bunch of cuts on the table-saw and that was that. I made the “foot” – the sticky-out thing – a bit taller than it needs to be, because I think I may have to someday get a finger or a pry-bar in the slot.

I also don’t mind having the whole thing stand up from the floor because someday I may put planks or tatami down, and that’ll take care of that. But, also, I worry about rain. This entire set-up was designed because I don’t want the bottom of the door to swell from standing in water. So, it’s (hopefully) outdoor-capable now. Furthermore, the floor-runner piece will be silicone caulked and tapcon’d to the slab, and will act as a rain-barrier. I hope. It’s fun and a bit scary when you start building things of your own design, expected to survive weather. Nature points up the folly of man.

That poly butchers’ block material is incredibly tough and flexible. I don’t think it’ll hurt to have it along the bottom, holding the bottom of the door together. Those are 2″ stainless steel screws, so they ought to be in there for good.

I should have a router-table, but I don’t. Routers are nasty. So I just set up the rip-fence on the table saw and nudged it over until I had my cuts. Then (I really hope I got my measures right!) I made a second slot for the rear doors. That way I can either put them shoulder to shoulder or put them in the rear track so they can slide open. It’s a very clever system the medieval Japanese figured out. And, I got a chance to use the saya nomi I made, which performed beautifully. When all that was done I set the blade at an angle and chamfered the edges of the runner; I don’t want people catching a foot on it.

I tested the slot by putting one of the footers in and sliding it around. The poly is slicker than snot and it fits great.

And that’s it for now. I need to put the footers on each door and load them in to the car and take them to their new digs. Before I do the final work-up I need to make a header-thingie that will hold the tops of the doors. It doesn’t need to be load-bearing because the doors’ weight will be on the floor. But I’ll make it solid so I don’t have to ever mess with it again. There will need to be some kind of separator at the top, to keep the doors from hitting, and I think it’ll be a piece of poly that I’ll cut down to have a thin lip. Working with poly is a dream.


  1. kestrel says

    Seems like that will work really well. Using polypropylene is clever – it is really slidey stuff and it’s completely uncaring about water. I’m sure you’ll be really happy to see those doors where they were meant to be, instead of in the shop.

  2. Sunday Afternoon says

    because the doors’ weight will be on the floor.

    My understanding from your prior posts is that the doors are large and at least somewhat heavy. Will the weight-bearing, sliding interface be slick enough for these to operate smoothly?

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Oh – floor rails for a door.

    Reading the headline, I tried to imagine the condition one would be in to require rails while on the floor.

    I may at some point have been in such a state, but if so of course cannot remember it afterward.

  4. astringer says

    Just a thought: I’d be worried about grit getting blown into the floor groove, and then the door rail riding over it. I see this with a roller-riding slide door at my work. Perhaps some (replaceable) felt or some-such on each end of the door footer might self clean the groove, or at least stop the grit getting into the bearing ? Might not end up a problem, but useful to think ahead to have a ‘grit drain’ (and water drain) at the ends or within the groove.

  5. lorn says

    Looks good, congratulations.

    Stainless, particularly high-grade stainless, will last indefinitely unless you smother it or expose it to chlorine. Stainless depends on a very thin and tightly bonded oxide layer to protect itself. If oxygen cant get to it any surface abrasions will not be able to create that protective oxide layer and it will begin to rust like regular steel. Long-term exposure to chlorine can likewise cause it to corrode. So avoid flooding and don’t use chlorine bleach. Neither seems likely so those screws should last a very long time.

    A customer had a diving board at their pool. Over time the chromed-steel bolts holding it down gave up. The HO replaced those with low-grade stainless units and was shocked when one of his boy’s friends got hurt when they snapped. Lawsuit city. He spent thousands defending himself in court. He hired a forensic engineer to testify as to what happened.

    Conclusion was:
    1) Despite his well intentioned use of stainless it was a poor choice for the situation. Not good for his side.

    2) The threads had partially stripped and the diving board was obviously loose. Witnesses testified that the bolts and brackets were so loose that they ‘loudly rattled and clanked’ when anyone sat or climbed onto the board.

    Essentially offsetting errors.

    His homeowner’s insurance paid for the treatment of the boy’s relatively minor injury. All claims to other damages were rejected, including most of a million for emotional harm and punitive damages. He was dropped by his insurance and he was only able to get coverage once he removed the diving board entirely.

    This also serves to explain why diving boards, once a fixture around pools, are much rarer these days. Damn things will have you talking to lawyers. They are litigation magnets.

    I would recommend making it so the track and slider will reject dirt. A few slots cut perpendicular to the track and just a touch deeper than the track, especially one at the end, might make the assembly essentially self-cleaning.

    Again, good job. Glad to see someone making progress. Lately, I can’t seem to get any traction.

  6. Jazzlet says

    Good to know you’re almost done with the doors!

    How’s the forge coming along?

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