Smacked by the Stupid Stick


It is with much chagrin that I share an old-house renovation lesson that I’ve just learned the hard way.

Today, my floor tile arrived. In prep for that installation, I need to install in the new doorway from my bedroom to the bathroom the jamb and stop assembly I removed from the former doorway from the hall. When I carefully removed it from its former location, I thought I was being really smart – it should be a perfect fit because I cut then framed the new opening at the exact same size. (And that will in turn make hanging the door a lot easier, given that it’s hung on that exact jamb since 1906.)

So I grabbed my hammer and a box of nails, and …dammit.

I was right that the jamb would be a perfect fit in the frame. But it’s too deep by about half the thickness of the plaster, plus the thickness of lath, that I removed.

I suppose I should have left as much lath in place as possible, and used thicker drywall for that wall. Or just used much thicker drywall.

Ah well. I’ll now have to add filler strips behind the bathroom-side casing so that it sits flush to the wall and jamb. I flushed the jamb to the other side, where the plaster is still at least semi-intact. I’m hoping the casing (also carefully removed from its former location) will cover up the bits there that are the “semi” of “semi-intact.”

Lesson learned. But I’ll likely forget it by the time I get around to the kitchen remodel.

p.s. See those pine 6-panel doors at the back of the picture? If anyone who lives w/in 200 miles or so of Cincinnati has the same (32″ x 83″, yellow pine, not covered with multiple paint layers) languishing in a basement or attic and wants them gone – let me know! I need a few more, and 6-panel doors of the right size and finish have proven devilishly hard to find in their original-ish state. Hoping to not have to strip…

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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13 Responses to Smacked by the Stupid Stick

  1. Megan, Try DuPreist Antiques in downtown Mason. He has a building in the back filled with architectural items.

  2. nrhiller says:

    Ugh. Super able to relate. Not stupid, just pulled in too many directions (you…and I).

  3. Dan Lyderson-Jackson says:

    Curious why you don’t just cut the jamb down on the side opposite the door? (Run into this issue a lot working on older homes).

    • fitz says:

      Well, it’s all (the two sides and tops of both the jambs and the stops) still in one U-shaped piece, and I don’t want to take it apart (which I’d have to do if I wished to cut it). But really, it’s more of a preservation thing for me. I don’t want to cut up any original woodwork if there’s a reasonable solution that preserves it.

  4. Having worked in multiple older houses back when I was carpenter, I can totally relate to your problems. The only option I can think of is get a plaster to build up the wall around the door if they can.

  5. PFrank says:

    A trick I have used many times in old houses is to use two layers of 3/8″ sheetrock. One layer horizontal, the other vertical. Makes up for plaster and lathe and makes one *ell of a strong wall.

  6. Dave Reedy says:

    Just left Antiques Village on 725 just east of Dayton Mall. There’s a reclamation area with racks of six panel doors. Lots of other stuff also.

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