Making Pocket Doors Work

I have done a series of posts about how to repair the pocket doors of the Cross House.

There are three pairs of doors, and one WIDE door. Only one pair opened/closed smoothly, all the others were a tug-of-war. I am a deep believer in not having to do battle with my house, and like things to work as they should.

But how to repair the doors? I had no idea. I did not even have any idea of how to remove the doors so I could ascertain what was going on. Were the wheels off their tracks? Or broken off? Were the tracks damaged in some way?

I had no idea.

This being the modern age, I looked to the internet to discover an answer for my 1894 problem.

It was then I discovered the website of Stephen Thorp. Stephen knows all there is to know about pocket doors. Well, I was thrilled! But would Stephen help me?

He would! He could! And did!

Stephen first, via email and phone calls, walked me through the process of getting the doors out. It was all surprisingly easy, once, of course, the magic codes were revealed. Wow.

The problem was instantly evident. The wheels, after 122-years, where a mess. It is amazing that some of the doors opened at all.



I learned from Stephen that my doors were hung from Coburn wheels and tracks. Cool. I love discovering such stuff. What was anonymous now had meaning.



And this was the particular wheel set, or “yoke”, I had. These yokes were rated for 40-pounds. Are my doors over that? How does one weigh a door?



My wheels were a disaster! OUCH! Geez.



And more ouch. WHAT was I to do? Freaked out, I sent images to Stephen. He replied, with preternatural calm, that he could repair my sorry wheels. He could? He would? Scroll down for the results…






















ZOUNDS!!!!!!!! ZOUNDS!!!!!!!! (Note: That is the first double zounds I have ever done. I think it recorded on a seismic scale.)



And the resurrected yokes back on the doors. Over a century of wear has just miraculously vanished. NOTE: I will clean the tops of the doors before re-installing, and oil the wheel axels as per Stephen’s instructions.



Again, the Before. Can you even believe the transformation?


Last month I had no idea of how to repair my pocket doors. For two years I fretted over the issue, and had tried several times to fix the issue, to no avail. I even pondered a terrible terrible question: Could I live with tug-of-war doors?

Today, by reaching out to an expert, the impossible is suddenly reality.

As such, I henceforth will refer to Stephen as…Magic Stephen.




  1. Sandra G. McNichol on April 19, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Yay for Magic Stephen! Yay for being able to find helpful skilled people who can educate us and help us restore our antique houses and their parts! Yay for working pocket doors at Cross House! Yay for you, Ross! 🙂

  2. Marta on April 19, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Very exciting!! Those doors were one of my favorite things, in the house, when my Aunt and Uncle owned it!! I’m very happy that you were able to find the help to get the pocket doors fixed!! Kudos to you!!!!!!

  3. Bethany on April 20, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I think that a video of you opening and closing the doors while holding a glass of champagne is in order!

  4. djd_fr on January 15, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Another wow! I agree with you, it is so much better when things work.

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