Hang a Robe Hook on a Hollow Core Bathroom Door
Sounds like an easy task, a couple of screws and a pair of plastic anchors, right?
Then the Heavy Damp Towel Test (HDTT), the resulting anchor pull out and my fancy chrome-plated metal towel hook’s on the floor cushioned by a large bath towel of course.
The wood on the faces of a hollow core door are most often less than an eighth of an inch thick and likely three plies of veneer-thick wood - if that. The door is remarkably strong given the thickness of the faces. The edges are solid wood – albeit the wood is less than an inch wide on the top, bottom and hinge sides with a portion of the handle/latch side reinforced with solid wood where the handle and latch are mounted.
The door is a torsion box affair with thin strips of cardboard (or wood) standing and glued between the door faces adding strength and rigidity without adding significant weight at all.
So, when you want to mount a towel hook (or robe, dressing gown, etc.) hook in the center of the door and high enough to prevent the robe from touching the floor all you have to screw into is an eighth-inch thickness of three-ply and an inch or so of air behind that (air cannot grip screw threads). The holding power is not impressive at all. Adding screw anchors doesn’t help much either. Indeed, if you found anchors that would not ‘pull out,’ it is likely that the plywood would fail.
OK, enough of the problem, here’s my solution
Step 1: First, a Bill of Materials:
- Towel hook, mounting bracket & screws
- Carpenter’s Glue (waterproof’s best)
- Large Diameter Dowel 1.5”/3.8cm or larger*
* As large as you can ”hide” behind the installed hook!
Ok, a door
Step 2: Next, the Tools Required
Saw (I used a Miter Saw, but a hand operated crisscut would have sufficed.
Drill / Driver (I used a Craftsman C-3 Lithium model)
Twist drill bit (sized to match your screws)
Hole saw or Forstner Bit (No larger than the diameter of your dowel)
Optionally: Miter Saw Wood Lathe Electric Drill
Step 3: The Process
Determine the screw pattern of your hook’s mounting piece. IN MY CASE, the bracket had a center hole as well as two other mounting holes and I was able to use the bracket to locate the center hole position on the dowel and fasten it thus while I drilled two pilot holes for the bracket's mounting screws. I also screwed the bracket back into the failing screw anchors to allow me to find and mark a center point an pilot hole position for the hole saw.
Find a dowel of the right diameter or larger. It should be larger across then the mounting bracket but not more than the inside diameter of the Robe Hook. You want the round base of robe hook to hide/obscure your patch work! Find a Forstner bit of the same diameter (or slightly less) as the dowel.
Drill test hole(s) in a piece of scrap until you find a perfect match. You want the dowel to press fit snugly into the hole you will drill – best make the hole a hair smaller and ‘tune up with a file or sandpaper,
Test the fit – should be snug/tight,
Drill a hole in the door skin with the Forstner bit (or, better yet, use a sharp hole saw as they 'center' better than a forstner).
NOTE: You may well 'encounter' the cardboard when drilling your hole. Th bit will break a lot of it away, but you may need a chisel or similar tool to remove any of the cardboard stiffener from the opposite door skin under whare your reinforcing dowel is to be glued NOTE:Do not drill through the other side of the door!.
Forstners are designed to be used in a drill press and may wobble when used in a hand held drill driver - resulting in an oversize hole!
Cut the dowel square on both ends to the length/depth of the thickness of the door less the thickness of one ‘skin’ so it will be a flush fit when glued in place.
Place your dowel in the hole you just drilled.
Cut the dowel to fit. Step 3c, above..
I inserted a screw into the one end of my dowel to serve as a handle when gluing it into place.
Glue the dowel into the door and let it dry for hours. Sand flush with door skin. Use filler if anal.
Prime and paint as needed. Using the hook or hook bracket, mark the screw positions on the exposed end of the dowel. Using the appropriate size twist drill, drill a Pilot hole for each screw needed to prevent splitting. Do NOT drill through the other side of the door
After the glue has set up - Fasten the Hook Bracket to the dowel in the door.
Then install the hook and tighten its set screw.
Tell the wife, take a picture and post it here!