Rolling mechanism

I alluded to the almost happy ending of the pocket door installation. Almost, because we had difficulties to get the roller mechanism to run smoothly. In other words, the pocket doors had a tendency to get stuck.

I was aware of it when we started installing the pocket doors, and attributed the problem to the roller mechanism itself.

There were a lot of metal on metal moving parts and my hope was that greasing the bunch would solve the problem – which it didn’t. It turned out that the metal components had nothing to do with it, and the issue was the wooden rails on which the wheels run.

Framing is not an exact science, and although it looked like the left and right rail were at the same elevations, they were not. If one rail is a fraction lower than the other, the whole wheel mechanism is tilted to one side.


Because the structural two by ten headers sit right next to the rails, the tilted wheel mechanism was scraping along the lumber to the point where the pocket door felt stuck.

Once Drew and I identified the problem, we fit a thin piece of oak onto the lower rail. It brought it up to the same elevation as the other rail, et voilà, no more tilting of the roller mechanism.


And the result was no more pocket doors that got stuck.

We have to see how long this success will last. Framing lumber has the tendency to move with the seasons and humidity. What was level in April may not be level anymore in July.


In any case, we now have refinished, fitting and functioning pocket doors. May be one day, we can afford to replace the plain glass with stained glass.

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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