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Old 09-06-2007, 11:47 AM   #1
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


I am swapping 2 doors out in my house - a cheap / light / hollow bedroom door, and a solid slab for my front door. I figured it'd make sense to work on the $25 slab (bedroom) before the $150 slab lol.

So, yesterday I drill/chisel spots for everything (door knob / latch, hinges), installed it, and it's just too tight of a door. It fits perfectly, don't get me wrong, but it's soooo snug that you gotta give it a little push to get it fully closed or to open once it is closed.

It's not sitting perfectly plumb - the top of the door starts getting closer and closer to the frame as it's closed, and once you're almost 100% closed, it's really scraping the frame on the knob's side (did I explain that clearly? the taller side is the knob side, and it's not that the slab's taller, it's that it's slightly angled up that way from my hinge mounting I'd imagine).

I imagine I need to adjust the hinges somehow, but any tips on exactly what to do would be appreciated. The quickest, simplest thing I can think of is just opening the door half way, and pulling the top end (on the knob's side) downwards. I know that would work, but it just feels like a shortcut and that makes me think it's a bad idea lol!!

Any tips are greatly appreciated, I still need to remove all hardware and stain this one, so I won't even be attempting to install again until tonight or tomorrow (depending on the smell of the fumes from the stain... If I can still smell the stain tonight I'm gonna keep it in the garage overnight..)

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Old 09-06-2007, 01:32 PM   #2
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


Hinge adjustment: old slang is pack the hinge.

In your case the top hinge. Loosen screw at jamb/ slide in old credit card.. thin card board.. a couple of biz cards.. cut slots for screw locations.. slide behind hinge../ tighten screws... check for improvement... repeat steps as needed.

You might need to break out the belt sander. Be sure your stain and finish coat is dry.

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Old 09-06-2007, 04:17 PM   #3
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


Awesome!! Now that you mention that I remember reading it on a contractor forum I read, can't believe I forgot it! Should fix this, hopefully, as I don't have a sander . Only power tools here are a drill and a saw! Kinda want a small/light duty sander, maybe I'll need to grab one for this. The fit is soooo tight, even when set perfect it might have drag...
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:25 PM   #4
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


I like to mark the door by tracing the jamb just before the door shuts from the inside, power plane, then belt sand.
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:16 PM   #5
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


I presume 'power plane' requires some kind of machinery I don't have?
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Old 09-07-2007, 07:49 AM   #6
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


yes a power planer. Electric hand tool. You could find a cheapy on ebay for $10 I'm sure. I should mention that these dont work quite as well across the grain of the wood, but rather with the grain. SOME cheapy doors will have an end grain on the corners. good luck
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:43 AM   #7
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


Cheepie HC might have MDF top & bottom. If pack the hinge does not fix it start a new thread on how do you trim a door slab.
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:13 AM   #8
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


will do!

I think 'unpacking' the lower hinge is what I need to do actually! I think if I pack the top hinge i'll still have problems, and the lower one looks like it could be a bit tighter.


Of course, I won't be able to post any results for at least a couple days now as the staining went awry. Perfect example why you never, ever rush jobs! I was rushing, so instead of color testing a small section, yup, I just went ahead with the roller and applied what had previously been determined to be the proper stain. Stuff went on like brown paint. Even this morning after it dried all night it's still waaaay darker than the other doors near it. (luckily, i only stained the inside of the door, so I now need to find a proper stain, do a test of it *first*, and stain the outside of this bedroom door. BTW it's one of those hollow slabs, but it seems to have some kind of hardwood for edges, I just dunno if it's like plywood or actual wood. When I drilled the bore for the latch, I got a solid chunk of wood.)
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:49 PM   #9
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


Joeyboy,

Trust me on this, pack the top hinge 1st.

Did you really apply the stain with a roller? Did you wipe off right away with clean a rag?
If not, the longer it sat, the darker it got.
The fault may not lay in the stain, but in your application. Please read the can.

On todays HC economy doors you may see stenciled print on top or bottom indicating hinge side. As the makers keep trying to save money, wood blocking for lock set is on opposite side only. Wood on edge is pine and is considered a soft wood. The hardest pine I am aware of is termed southern yellow pine and is the required material in FL code for top plates.
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:35 PM   #10
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


haha okay I'll pack the top one first. I swear unpacking the bottom one looks like the right thing, but I'm clueless so I'll go with what someone better informed says! It just seems that if I pack the top hinge, I'm not gonna scrape the top of the frame anymore, I'll be scraping the upper sides of the side of the frame (the side with the strike plate).
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:35 PM   #11
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


LOL, If you are that tight you might invest in a belt sander or start that other thread on how to cut doors to fit.

Humidity will swell jambs and your door.

Stop with the staining until you have the door in the hole.
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:37 PM   #12
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Bob View Post
LOL, If you are that tight you might invest in a belt sander or start that other thread on how to cut doors to fit.

Humidity will swell jambs and your door.

Stop with the staining until you have the door in the hole.
AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I forgot all about swelling!!! The main entrance door is going to be swapped, and the most precise size they had is so tight it's not even funny. It fits, but it's gotta be squeezed in there! Does that mean I should've gotten a different size? I mean, it's fit is awesome! Or am I supposed to get the best size and plane it to my needs?
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Old 09-08-2007, 10:32 AM   #13
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


Door slabs are just the starting point for installation in an old opening. When you are swapping out doors, do this. Look at the door that's in the opening now. There should be an 1/8" of gap on all sides, for clearance. You won't have that, usually. Mark the door for adjustments. If the top frame is rubbing the door on the hinge side, mark -1/8" on that corner. If the latch side has a 1/4" gap, write +1/8" on it.
Take the door off and remove the hardware. Place it directly on top of the new door and trace the outline. Adjust the outline based on the old door notations. When you cut the latch side, bevel the cut about 5 degrees so the leading edge of the door clears the frame.
Make sure you understand and notate on the door the strike side from the hinge side so you make the bevel and hinge cuts on the correct side of the door.
It would help to have all the tools you need to do a job before hand. Certain aspects of hanging a door require certain tools to make the job easier.
Ron
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:44 AM   #14
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
Door slabs are just the starting point for installation in an old opening. When you are swapping out doors, do this. Look at the door that's in the opening now. There should be an 1/8" of gap on all sides, for clearance. You won't have that, usually. Mark the door for adjustments. If the top frame is rubbing the door on the hinge side, mark -1/8" on that corner. If the latch side has a 1/4" gap, write +1/8" on it.
Take the door off and remove the hardware. Place it directly on top of the new door and trace the outline. Adjust the outline based on the old door notations. When you cut the latch side, bevel the cut about 5 degrees so the leading edge of the door clears the frame.
Make sure you understand and notate on the door the strike side from the hinge side so you make the bevel and hinge cuts on the correct side of the door.
It would help to have all the tools you need to do a job before hand. Certain aspects of hanging a door require certain tools to make the job easier.
Ron
If I'm cutting a solid slab (not the one I started this thread on, just a solid wood slab for my front door), and I bevel the cut, is that something that needs a planer or is that something I can use the tilt on my circular saw and cut?
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Old 09-08-2007, 02:54 PM   #15
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how to best fit a door slab that's too tight?


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Originally Posted by joeyboy View Post
If I'm cutting a solid slab (not the one I started this thread on, just a solid wood slab for my front door), and I bevel the cut, is that something that needs a planer or is that something I can use the tilt on my circular saw and cut?
All you need is the circular saw, a smooth cutting blade and some sandpaper. A 40 or 60 tooth carbide blade would be my choice. An orbital sander is a great tool to have, but hand sanding will get you there.
Ron

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