Step 2: Shim the trimmers

Shimming the trimmers
Photo: David Carmack
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On the hinge jamb, measure from the bottom of the jamb to the center of each hinge. Mark the hinge locations on the hinge-side trimmer by measuring up from the floor (or top of the shims).

Tack the plumb bob to the top of the hinge-side trimmer, and measure the gap between the string and the trimmer at each hinge location. Where the gap is the smallest, place overlapping shims.

Adjust the shims to 1/8 inch thick, and tack them with a finish nail. Measure the gap between the shims and the plumb bob string.

Place overlapping pairs of shims at the other two hinge locations. Adjust each pair's thickness until the gap between shims and string equals the gap at the first pair.

Nail each pair to the trimmer and cut off the ends with a utility knife so they don't protrude past the drywall.

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    Tools List

    • hammer
      Hammer or nail gun,
      to attach casing and jambs to rough opening
    • four-foot level
      4-foot level,
      for checking plumb or level
    • drill
      Drill/driver,
      for fastening hinges
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • chisel
      3/4-inch chisel,
      for fine-tuning mortises
    • Phillips screwdriver
      Phillips-head screwdriver,
      for mounting lockset
    • utility knife
      Utility knife (for trimming shims
    • plumb bob
      Retractable plumb bob,
      for plumbing jamb

    Shopping List

    1. PREHUNG DOOR WITH SPLIT JAMS

    2. SHIMS

    for adjusting and supporting jambs



    3. STRIKE PLATE

    to protect jamb from latch bolt



    4. LOCKSET

    to hold door closed



    5. 4D FINISH NAILS

    to tack shims in place



    6. 8D FINISH NAILS

    to nail through casing