• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva explains how to repair a damaged doorjamb.


    1 Remove any nails or screws from the damaged area.
    2 Nail pine 1x4 guide blocks to the doorjamb around the damaged area.
    3 Adjust the router's depth of cut to equal the thickness of the poplar patch.
    4 Set the router in place, with its guide bushing against the inside edge of the 1x4s.
    5 Start the router and carve out all the wood from damaged area.
    6 Remove the 1x4s, then use a chisel to square up the corners of the routed recess.
    7 Set the poplar patch in place and mark it for cutting.
    8 Cut the patch to size on the miter box.
    9 Glue and nail the patch to the doorjamb.
    10 Sand the patch smooth using a random-orbit sander.
    11 Apply one primer coat and two paint topcoats to the repaired area.
    See products and services from this episode
    • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
      Carefully routing out the damaged wood is the only tricky part
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • hammer
      • chisel
      • needlenose pliers
        End nipper pliers,
        used to pull nails from damaged area
      • router
        Plunge router,
        fitted with guide bushing and ½-inch-diameter straight bit
      • utility knife
        Utility knife,
        used to scribe cut lines on wood patch
      • speed square
        Speed square
      • miterbox with saw
        Miter box and backsaw,
        for cutting wood patch
      • random orbit sander
        Random-orbit sander,
        used to smooth wood patch

      Shopping List

      1. 1x4 pine

      used to guide router

      2. 5/16-inch-thick piece of poplar

      used to patch the damaged area

      3. Carpenter's glue

      used to adhere wood patch

      4. 4d finish nails

      used to attach 1x4 pine and poplar wood patch

      5. 100- and 120-grit abrasive discs

      used in sander to smooth patch

      6. Primer and paint

      used to conceal patch on painted doorjamb