Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Interior door


QUESTION: I'm finishing off a basement (currently our utility room.  Our stairs leading to the basement are off to the side of the utility room.  I'd like to use the space under the stairs as storage and a play area for our cat.  Since the stairs go down 7 steps, then a landing and the other stairs go 180 with another 6 steps to get downstairs, the place where I'd like to install the door is an odd size (28" wide x 61" height).  What are my options for this.  I'd like to stay away from having to pay for a special order door.  Don't need anything fancy, but would like it to look nice.  Is it possible to cut down a door (would I have to get a solid door) or do you have other thoughts.

ANSWER: Hi Brad,

My best suggestion for you would be to go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy a 28 inch wide hollow (interior) door. Then you can cut it down. Since the door is hollow,  once you cut it down, you're going to have to fill in the edge that you cut. Use a piece of 2 x 4, or whatever you had laying around that will fill in that void. It only needs to fit up into that void an inch to two.

I write a popular woodworking blog and I went over this procedure while back, when making an arched top door. Here's a link to that blog post:

If you read that, you'll see what I mean about filling in the hollow area with a piece of wood. It's not difficult, but you will have to cut a piece of wood to fit in there. What I would recommend is that cut the bottom of the door off, so that you're filling in the area at the bottom of the door. That way - you won't really see it, if you don't do a great job of it.

I hope this makes sense, it's really an easy thing to do. You're going to have to cut the door down and fill in the void and you're good to go. Write back if you have more questions, but after seeing my blog it should be pretty simple.

Good luck,

Jamie in Vegas

Jamie Yocono
Wood It Is! Custom Cabinetry
Las Vegas, NV

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the quick response and great reply.  It does not sound too difficult, but thinking and doing are two different things.  Two more questions; should I put some sort of tape where I'm cutting (will the door start to come apart or splinter where I'm cutting) and does the same apply for cutting an opening on the bottom for a cat to go through?  The top of the door I'm thinking of putting wood veneer to cover up the wood I put in the gap.  Most likely the same on the bottom and the opening  unless you have other suggestions.  Thanks again for all your help with this.

Hi Brad,

Yes, putting tape around the wood when you cut it will minimize the splintering. It doesn't always work perfectly, but it does help.

As far as putting in the cat door - I've put in a few of those, and if I remember correctly they come with pretty good instructions. I don't believe they require any blocking inside the hollow door, but it's been a long time since I installed one so I don't remember exactly.  Just go by the instructions and you'll be fine.

I don't think you'll need to add veneer to the door at the top. That's why I suggested that you cut it at the bottom, so that the piece that you add in will be in the bottom, and therefore hidden.  

Cutting this door down and adding a cat door are really pretty simple things to do– if you have a little bit of woodworking experience you should have no problem at all. If you have the skills to finish off the basement, I'm confident that you'll be able to cut the door down perfectly.

As Nike says– just do it!


Jamie Yocono
Wood It Is! Custom Cabinetry
Las Vegas, NV

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Jamie Yocono


Woodworker, Furniture designer/builder, industrial arts educator. Bachelor degree in Furniture Design, and journeyman carpenter, with a 4 year apprenticeship. Currently owner of custom furniture/cabinet shop in Las Vegas, NV. Can answer most woodworking questions EXCEPT those regarding repairs, refinishing, and antiques.


Bachelor in Furniture Design - Ohio University (1980) Journeyman Carpenter, Local 639 Adult educator - Developed adult education woodworking program for the University of Akron, and taught classes there for 9 years. Opened a private woodworking school in Las Vegas, NV and teach private and semi-private lessons. In 2011, I will begin teaching UNLV woodworking classes at my school. Sweet!

Furniture Society

Tile Design and Installation Magazine (Article on inlaying tile into wood)

Journeyman Union Carpenter Bachelors degree in Furniture Design (Ohio University) College of Hard Knocks!

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