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Pineapple 09-24-2008 09:36 AM

Really old door jamb replacement
So I've moved into a relatively old apartment in the city and have a concern with the entrance door. The jamb looks like it has been really abused over the years! It now barely allows the door to latch. I'm pretty sure if I push on this thing hard enough, locked or not, this door's coming open :(

So my plan is to replace the jamb. I don't want to replace the whole door or casing, just the one jamb. I'm renting, so I'm limited in how much I can tear into the building. I've taken some measurements and it looks like a 2.5" x 2.5" piece of wood (maybe Oak?) should do the trick, but does anybody have any suggestions before I tear into this? I just want to make sure I don't get in over my head here!

My primary concern here is security, not so much looks. But I don't want it to look trashy either.


gregzoll 09-24-2008 10:24 AM

Depending on the age of the building, it could be Old Growth Pine. Best thing to do, would be to get a Steel Insert that places over the jamb, and allows you to secure into the jackstuds on either side of the door way. Only thing is, you go fixing things up, and if the landlord does not like what you are doing, then you will not have to worry about having an apartment to stay in.

BTW, looks like multiple B&E's (Breaking and Entering), not abuse.

Pineapple 09-24-2008 02:41 PM

Yeah, I'm hoping I'm able to pull this off without any serious complications. The landlord has already given me the greenlight to do it, so I'm not too worried about him getting angry. One of my larger concerns is notching out the areas for the strike plate and dead bolt. Does anyone have any good tips on doing this. My current plan is to use a box cutter to outline recess. Use a paddle bit to take out the bulk of the wood, then follow up with a chisel to remove the rest. Anyone have any better suggestions?

Termite 09-24-2008 05:50 PM

I agree that a security strike would probably be the best course of action for you. Replacing one side of a jamb could be a real challenge, and the door doesn't really get its kick-in resistance from the jamb anyhow. It is very, very easy to kick in a brand new entry door, and the failure point is always at the jamb where the deadbolt and latch go through. In order to be strong, the strike plates must be very securely fastened to the studs.

There are a number of steel and aluminum door reinforcing plates that are very effective for security. A simple search of "jamb brace" yields many results. Here's an example that would work great for you. These are available from most locksmith shops and some home centers.

These plates are typically mortised into the jamb on the latch side or inserted in between the jamb and the stud. The strike plate attaches to the plate with machine screws, and long screws secure the plate/jamb to the stud.

I have personally tried to kick a similar system in at a demo that a manufacturer put on for codes folks. I'm 6'6" 300 pounds, and I couldn't do anything to it.

Your suggested method of mortising the plate in would work just fine. I'd use a forstner bit instead of a spade bit...They leave nice flat holes and cut smoother. You can clean it up with a chisel.

Termite 09-24-2008 05:52 PM

By the way, you can pay $110 for a plate like the one pictured. Or you can make your own with a few different drill bits and a piece of inexpensive 1/8" aluminum bar stock available at any hardware store.

Pineapple 09-24-2008 06:28 PM


By the way, you can pay $110 for a plate like the one pictured. Or you can make your own with a few different drill bits and a piece of inexpensive 1/8" aluminum bar stock available at any hardware store.
That's what I'm talkin about! This seems like a great solution. Of course, I'm still replacing the wood, it's way too bad to work with. I've got a great sheet metal shop down the road where I can get some strong 16 GA stainless scraps practically for free! Although the 1/8" flat stock aluminium might be better. (Not sure of the thickness to strength tradeoff here) Either way, this just kicked the project up to a whole different level! Drilling/Milling should be no problem at all! :thumbup: Thanks!

Termite 09-24-2008 07:56 PM

I'd really suggest 1/8" aluminum. Nearly any hardware store will sell it in short lengths a couple inches wide, which would work perfect.

Anything would be better than what you've currently got!

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