The cutting phase comes to a close with the third and final sheet of baltic birch plywood yielding the sliding door and rear hatch panels. The large panel (not cut in this project) that fits behind the closet can also be cut from this sheet.
Entire panel thread.
The retention clips used to hold both the rear hatch and sliding door panels are pretty easy to remove, but are also easily bent.
I found a crimping tool the best implement to use since the flat head and thin edges made removal effortless. With both sides of the crimper flat against the panel and inserted evenly under both sides of the clip head, I pulled straight back with a quick jerk. Any rocking or prying endangers the underlying panel and can pop the head off the clip.
With all twenty clips removed, the panel simply slides off the door.
Like the others, I laid the sliding door panel out for tracing and drilling. Scoring the trace line for both the rear hatch and sliding door is important as some clip holes are close to the panel edges, making splintering highly likely when cutting and drilling. Since this panel remains flat after installation, grain direction is less important for function, but for an original look, I kept the direction vertical in the new panel.
All clip holes for both panels were drilled with a 19/16-inch bit.
Old panel on left.
The rear hatch panel falls out easily, so I removed all but the middle two clips on the right and left sides. Then I carefully removed them one by one while supporting the panel with a free hand. Tape could be used to support the panel too. The two “pockets” in the door house fiberglass insulation and this method helps prevent damage to the panel as well as keeping the insulation from falling on one’s head.
Old panel with insulation.
The precarious location of the clip holes is easily seen in this shot. A deep razor score on the outside of the panel and slow drilling of the holes will help minimize splinters or chips in the new panel.
Grain direction runs across this panel.
Old panel on right.