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Re-installing antique doorframe-Help!


I need help re-installing an antique doorframe, standard pine frame from a vintage 1900 3 family.

It's got (sorry, I don't know the actual names of the pieces):

4 small rectangles (approx. 3''w x 6" tall) that rest on the floor on either side of the doorway

4 decorative 'panels' (approx 3" w x 7' tall) that rest on the small rectangles on the outside of each doorway (that cover the frame itself)

2 decorative top panels that cover the frame

1 'male' side of the doorframe

1 'female' side of the doorframe

1 'header' for the doorframe

Can anyone tell me the 'correct' way to install this? (and what size nails to use?). The last time I did one, I couldn't get the decorative panels tight on the wall.



Re: Re-installing antique doorframe-Help!

Let's start with reconstructing the door jamb, first. There is a header (top piece), a jamb side/hinge and a jamb side/lock.

Nail the two jamb sides to the header. Look at it and see how it was put together the first time. The header either rests on top of the jamb sides or between them. I don't know how thick the jamb and and header pieces are but I would use at least a 6 penny finish nail to nail them together. Probably three nails each, or maybe 4, depending on the width of the jamb.

Now measure across the header, from outside to outside of the jamb. Your door opening should be about 1/2" larger. Stand the jamb up inside the door opening and use some shims (long wedges, most people use cedar shim shakes from a lumber yard). Make them about 1" or so wide and slip one in from each side of the door jamb, so that they overlap. Do this on each side of the header so that it jams it into the opening. Take a framing square to the hinge/header corner and see that the jamb is square, with the bottom of the jamb sitting on the floor. If this is square and the other jamb side (lock side) is sitting on the floor, you're good. If not, you may have to cut off the bottom of one side or the other to get them sitting solid on the floor (the hinge side at least or else the weight of the door will pull it down anyway, over time).

Once you're sure these things are good, make sure the jamb sides are flush with the wall by holding a straight edge against the wall and making sure the jamb just touches it (on both sides of the wall). Now make sure the shims are fairly tight (not too tight) and hammer a nail through the jamb, through the shims and into the stud.

Now hold a level against the hinge side of the jamb and insert shims at the bottom of the jamb, until the jamb is plumb and check it for square at the top hinge corner. When it's good, put a nail into the jamb like at the top. If there is a middle hinge, put shims in there too. It's good to have a straight edge that spans top to bottom, to make sure you aren't putting a bow in the jamb side, with the shims.

Now, I hang the door on the hinges and swing it into the opening. I shim the lock side jamb until the reveal between door and jamb is about 1/8" and then nail it off. Now go back and stick two more nails in each location and set the heads.

Next, I use the header trim piece as a gauge to see what spacing I'll need on the trim for the sides. Measure the header trim piece. Measure the door opening and see how they compare. Use this as your model for trim location. Now put one of the small trim blocks on the floor, hold about an eighth of an inch reveal from the face of the jamb and nail it off. Put the long trim piece on top of it, with a quarter inch reveal and nail it off. Then put the top square in place and tack it. Do the other side of the jamb the same way. Then put the header piece of trim in between the two top blocks. Make sure they both touch the header trim. If not, adjust the blocks on the corner and nail everything off.

Do the same on the other side of the door and it should be good. You'll probably have to play around with it, on the molding, to make sure all the reveals are right, etc. Just tack all the pieces in place first to be sure, before finish nailing them.

Hope this helps. Good Luck.

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