The shower door is complete. You’d think designing, building, and installing a single door would be an easy task, but this little project ran into four days of work. But I’m very happy with the results.
First, I measured the location for the piano hinge (.120” aluminum, 6-ft long by 5-inches wide with 2-inch knuckles, from McMaster-Carr; about $40) and mortised the inlay with a router. Right after I started this, the router spun a bearing, or threw a rod, or whatever it is that routers do that causes them to shower blue sparks around the inside of the motor housing. A quick trip to Lowes for a new router and larger straight bit and I was back to the races.
Soon-to-be dead Craftsman router and work accomplished with dull, ¼” straight bit:
Router jig made from scrap plywood and C-clamps:
After I had the mortise on the door completed, I measured the shower side wall and routed a mortise for the other leaf of the hinge. Apparently, I made a slight mistake in the measurements, because the mortise was about an eighth-of-an-inch too long. Since this side isn’t easily seen, I’m not too worried about it. I think I can fill the gap with some caulk ... or just leave it alone. ;)
The front-side mortise looks fantastic:
The door itself is attached to the hinge with these stainless steel low-profile binding posts, also known as Chicago screws. The barrel side has no features on the head, so that is what goes through the hinge and perfectly locates the door to the hinge metal; no loose play at all here so the hinge mortise should always remain very tight.
Once I had all the screw holes pre-drilled and ready to go, I again removed the plywood and cut the (very carefully measured) lines for the door opening. First the top and bottom edge, then—after mounting and unmounting the door again—the right edge at a length that would allow the striker side of the door to line up with the entry wall on the other side of the space. Every gap is parallel to within about 1/16th of an inch.
Door closed, looking forward:
The entry wall is on the right. The top edges of these two pieces were never meant to be the same height:
Binding posts from the inside:
I used a palm sander with 120-grit paper to brighten the aluminum:
The shower stall is so tight that the door has a built-in air damped closure; I can slam it as hard as I want and it will stop with a puff of air just before the door contacts the jamb.
I still need to fabricate a latch that will work to hold the door shut on the shower stall as well as open ninety degrees to create a comfy thermal zone for the bedroom and computer desk.