I am investigating routing scoop handles on some pocket doors that have already been installed. Is this possible? I would be using a CNC cut template clamped to the door.

Here is what I'm trying to do:

enter image description here

Can I use a router on a vertical surface? Anything else I should know?

  • A small palm router wold be good here.
    – agentp
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 13:57

2 Answers 2


Routers are very handy tools and can be used for some amazing things but can also be very dangerous if not operated in a manner where you can easily maintain 100% total control over the tool at all times.

While it may be technically feasible to operate a router on a vertical surface I would be tempted to recommend against it in this case. The reason is that the doors you show will end up being partially open once you try to clamp on the template to one of the doors. This leaves the door in a not so secure and firmly placed position which could lead to disaster (to you and/or the door) should the router grab the material in the cut such as can happen it making a climb cut.

It would be far better to simply remove the screws that hold the doors in place and locate each door in turn to a solid work horizontal work surface. There you can securely clamp the door to the work surface so there is no chance for it to move around during the routing application. In the horizontal work position you also can have both hands on the router to focus the job of moving the router around from a comfortable body position. In the vertical position the cuts most likely are not at an ideal height and you are having to change your body position up or down during the cut whilst at the same time having to control the weight of the router in addition to moving it around.

  • 1
    +1 for the safety warnings. Sounds like a PITA to remove pocket doors but this is exactly what you will have to do after you ruin the first set trying to do it in place. If you're not sure how to remove pocket doors do a search or ask the question.
    – Stanwood
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 12:30
  • I intend to use a palm router for this and try on several test pieces first... I can't remove the doors without removing all the trim around the opening as well... I still haven't decided 100% what I will do. Thank you.
    – nielsbot
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 21:55

Yes you can use a router on a vertical surface. I do this all the time. Since your door is movable make sure to secure the door or make sure the jig for positioning the cut will prevent jumping.

  • I agree. A router is certainly capable of damage, but it's nothing like a circular saw or chain saw, both of which are used vertically as a matter of routine. Take precautions and carry on.
    – isherwood
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 13:02

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