Step 1: Trim the door to fit

Cutting the door's sides
Photo: Kolin Smith
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To determine the door size, subtract ¼ inch from the width and height of the door opening. Measure the door to see if it needs trimming. If the amount to be trimmed is less than inch, plane it down. More than that use a circular saw. If you must to cut the height, trim the thicker rail at the bottom of the door. To trim the width, take evenly from both sides.

To cut the door with a circular saw, place painter's tape along the cut line. Mark the line on the tape and score it with a utility knife to prevent chipping. With the saw braced against a cutting guide and its blade on the waste side of the line, trim the door.

Tip: Bevel the door edges 2 or 3 degrees where it hits the stop so the door will clear the jamb smoothly.
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    Tools List

    • folding ruler
      Tape measure and folding ruler
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • bench plane
      Bench plane
    • combination square
      Combination square
    • wooden mallet
      Mallet
    • drill
      Drill/driver with auger bits
    • centering punch
      Centering punch
    • ratcheting screwdriver
      Screwdrivers
    • hand clamps
      Clamps

    Shopping List

    1. DOOR

    Measure the width of your opening, jamb to jamb, in three places (top, middle,bottom) and the height, threshold to jamb, in three places. Note the largest of each and use these as a guide to buy the door.



    2. KNOB SET

    A set for a cylinder lock should include two knobs, a spindle, and two round escutcheon plates. For a mortise lock with a bolt, two escutcheons or a long backplate with a keyhole may be required.



    3. LOCKSET

    Choose between a cylinder lock (a tube-shaped ;acthset with a lock on the knob) or a mortise lock (a rectangular set with a bolt and a skelton key). You can reuse an old lock, but a new mortise lockset might be worth the cost (less than $20) just for the mortise-cutting template that comes with it. Before buying a mortise lock, make sure the distance from the spindle hole to the keyhole matches the one on the backplate you choose, and that the lock body isn't too thick to fit your door.



    4. HINGES

    You will likely need three to hanadle the weight of a solid-wood door or solid-core door. Many doors come with instructions that indicate the size and number needed.



    5. LOCK INSTALLATION KIT

    If necessary, for drilling for a cylinder lock. Tool companies make these kits, which come with two different hole saws that attach to a drill, along with a jig to guide where the holes go. Some kits also include a drill-mounted router bit and jig for carving out shallow mortises for the lock's faceplate and the strike plate.



    6. WOOD SHIMS

    To hold the door in its opening as you check the fit and mark for hinges.