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Fitting an Interior Door into a Non-Standard Opening???


BigOldXJ's Avatar
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MA

12-13-11, 05:31 AM   #1  
Fitting an Interior Door into a Non-Standard Opening???

Hello all! I'm putting the finishing touches on my son's room that I recently remodeled. The closet and main door are not standard size openings. The house is old and uses rough cut lumber and has plaster/lathe. So unless I wanted to pay big $$$ for a custom pre-hung door....I'll have to make it fit myself.

Although I consider myself pretty handy as a DIY'er I'm a bit nervous about mortising the hinges (I think mortising is the right word, correct me if I'm wrong).

Cutting the door to size is no biggy, but I will need to cut-in the hinges. Are there any tricks to this? Any specific tools other than a wood chisel? Is it just a measure ten times and cut once type of deal? Solid wood doors aren't cheap so I don't want to mess up.

Should I install the hinges on the frame or the door first?

And while I'm at it...what are the ideal clearances on the top/sides of the door, and the bottom. Thanks!

 
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12-13-11, 06:06 AM   #2  
Ideally you would have a 3 bevel on the latch side, NO bevel on the hinge side, 1/16" of clearance on the hinge side, 1/8" on top and latch sides, and the bottom is up to your preference. You just don't want it to touch the carpet at all, or if you have wood floors, too large of a gap is usually unsightly.

I would measure carefully and cut the door first, making sure it fits in the opening. Use a couple shims on the floor to keep it raised up, and a couple shims on the latch side to provide your spacing. Once you like it, mark the hinges out, marking both the door and the jamb at the same time. Marking the top edge of the hinge is sufficient. Once you've marked all the hinge locations, you can take the door back out and stand it up, hinge side up, on the floor. Some people will have door stands that hold the door in this position. Transfer your marks around to the side of the door and side of the jamb. Now take the hinges apart, and set them on your marks. Use a vix bit and drill a pilot hole for one of the screws, then install that screw. Then drill a 2nd pilot hole and install that screw. This will keep the hinge from moving around. Now take a sharp utility knife and trace the hinge, scoring it repeatedly until you feel you have scored it about 1/8" deep. Now remove the hinge and repeat for each hinge location on both the door and jamb.

I use a laminate trimmer (Bosch Colt) and a straight mortising bit freehand to clean out the interior of the mortise (being careful not to cut beyond the scored line), but a chisel works too, just be careful not to gouge out too much at one time. As you know, the flat part of the chisel faces up when you chisel, and the bevel of the chisel lays on the material at the angle of the bevel. Good luck!

 
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12-13-11, 06:48 AM   #3  
Excellent response, thank you!

 
ray2047's Avatar
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12-13-11, 08:39 AM   #4  
Sears use to sell a mortising template for use with a router equipped with a guide collar. You just tacked the metal template in place. You could make something similar out of half inch plywood. Check Sears Tools they may still carry them. This wasn't a fancy multiple template jig, just a simple cutting guide.


I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

 
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