6-week Install


It took only an hour or so to actually get a door fit and hung between the hall and one of the two front rooms on the second floor. But add in the distractions and prep work and it took more than a month.

My goal was to get the two doors hung before Woodworking in America (in case I had guests, so that I’d have guest rooms that could be cordoned off from bats). Given a lot of door hanging experience in my past, I figured it would take no more than a couple hours at most. So I got off my butt one Saturday before to haul from the pile of eight doors in the basement the only two that looked like the rest in my home’s interior.

Those doors – solid wood – are heavy.

They didn’t fit. Turns out they’re (probably) from the doorways on the front portion of the house on the first floor; I’d not noticed the 4″ height differential between the public-area doorways and the rest of the place.

So I hauled those back downstairs and scavenged two doors from elsewhere in the house where they’re not needed. But neither is ideal. One of them is painted on the side that faces the varnished woodwork in the hallway, and varnished on the side that faces the room with the painted woodwork. Of course. (I suspect it will be a long time before I get around to stripping either the woodwork or the door – or both.) The other one has a hole where there was a deadbolt; it used to close off the back stairs from the first floor to secure the second-floor apartment. Any guests will just have to live with a 1-1/2″ peephole for a while.

But the hardware needed stripping. Sunday, I cooked the hinges in the slow cooker with a little dish detergent in water. Eight hours later, I scrubbed off most of the gunk (and much of the original paint – oops), wiped the steel with oil, then tackled one door.


Damn thing was off by about 1/8″ using the original hinge mortises in the frame. But I hung it anyway; no time to fuss at that point. My last-minute WIA guest in that room was instructed to not try to close the door all the way; that would break off the point on the moulding at the top of the jamb. (He listened well – no damage. And there were no bats.)

Yesterday, I finally had time to jump back into that fray. After adjusting the mortises and making sure the door fit, I went to drill the holes for the screws. There were, naturally, multiple holes tangent to and overlapping the points where I needed to drill.


I filled those with dowels from the hardware store and waited for glue to dry (and ordered a dowel plate in the meantime; seems like something useful to have around so as to not have to whittle and sand hardware-store dowels for a perfect fit).

As of this morning, about six weeks after I started, that one door is now hung and working perfectly. I’m rather afraid to tackle the other one.

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
This entry was posted in Renovation/Restoration, Woodworking. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to 6-week Install

  1. potomacker says:

    It’s quite easy to strip a painted varnished surface. A heatgun melts the varnish surface just enough that the paint comes off readily with a putty knife. In this way, 98% of the paint is off after which chemical strippers can remove whatever is left in crevices and damaged areas.

    • fitz says:

      Yep — I’ve done that in the past. I wanted to try the slow-cooker method. It took longer in hours, but less time and trouble in actual work. A Scotch-Brite pad and stiff toothbrush made quick work of the gunk and paint after a day of cooking.

  2. nrhiller says:

    First one down! Definitely worth celebrating.

  3. Jeff says:

    Wood golf Tees are perfect for filling the holes, cheap and pre tapered!

  4. J.C. says:

    I replaced all of my interior doors too. The difference is that I was also building the jambs and trim too so I could pre-hang my doors. Which is such a goofy term, you can’t “pre” anything but pare. Rather it’s hanging the door twice. Once in the jamb then again after the you hang the jamb. Sorry, not enough scotch yet. Looking good, fitz. Keep at it.

  5. Russell Pitner says:

    You may think the progress is slow, but you surely are doing a very nice of the rehab of your new abode. Glad the doors are now hung; a good job behind you.

  6. miathet says:

    So eh…this is you gym calling, please renew you membership. We know you have found a way to exercise without undue expense. At least keep is a secret the hauling old doors works every time.

  7. Ann says:

    Both golf tees and bamboo bbq skewers are good to have around for filling holes. Heating painted hardware in water that has baking soda in it, will take off paint faster than several hours.

    Probably this is not the right time to mention how terribly useful tape measures are, smile. A slight adjustment to the old measure twice rule….measure twice, carry only once.

  8. Chuck says:

    It’s also been a month since you last blogged. You need to get your priorities straight girl. We come first, then your house, then your job, then WIA, then everything and everyone else. OK, your house can come first so that you have something to blog about. Now that we have that out of the way, when will your next blog post be?

  9. pogo930 says:

    For hardware I use old fashioned powdered Spic&Span boiled (simmered might be a better term) in a can on the stove top. The better half isn’t happy when it boils over but it doesn’t harm the porcelain. 1/4 thick layer of paint just sloughs off. It doesn’t hurt nickel plating, haven’t tried it on any other plate. Iron, steel and brass come out fine. Iron and steel are gray but it polishes right off.

  10. neitsdelf says:

    I had a serious miscue when I read, “My last-minute WIA guest in that room was instructed to not try to close the door all the way; ….”

    When I got to the semicolon all I could think was that I hope she outfitted the guest room with a Bosch drill!

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