Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sins of the Door Hanger

Most of the doors in my house were hung by a guy who 'knew enough to be dangerous'. Much as I liked the guy, he was not a master craftsman. He got all the requisite pieces together and in place, but not in a manner that they work harmoniously. I've rehung or reconstructed several of his door installations, and made some quick-and-dirty 'adjustments' to a couple of others to get them to at least work until I can do a more thorough job of improving them.

The ironic thing about ill-hung doors is that the difference in material cost between a door that swings silently and clicks shut like a bank vault, and a squealing door that you have to body check to get it to shut, is exactly zero.

The door I'm currently dealing with won't even shut with a body check applied. It has several problems, but the one I need to solve first is the too-deep hinge mortise pictured.

I've taken off the stop moulding at the hinge side already. It was binding against the door as the door was 'closing'. I've also stripped the paint off the hinges; painted-over hardware makes me gag.

A too-deep hinge mortise is easy to correct. Just add a shim of the correct thickness and the problem is solved. This sort of thing is why I keep a bin full of cardstock from retail packaging on hand. It tends to be excellent quality material, of various thicknesses. Here, I'm going to need about a one millimetre thick shim. A brief rummage through my cardstock bin brought forth just what I needed.

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That little punch is ideal for punching the screw holes in the shim.

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With the shim in place under the hinge leaf, the mortise depth is as it should be; the hinge leaf is flush with the door casing's surface.

The next thing I have to do is take half-an-inch of length off the bottom end of the door, so it no longer collides with the edge of the hallway carpet. That raises a point about fine-tuning a portable circular saw that I really ought to do a post about.

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