A Fast, Foolproof Method for Fitting Doors

A Fast, Foolproof Method for Fitting Doors

Cover2Cutting a door to fit an existing jamb can be challenging for a professional and downright intimidating for a novice. A door requires a glovelike fit to provide years of trouble-free operation and to keep out noise and cold air while keeping in heat. The gap between the edge of the door and the jamb can’t be too small or too large; it should be a precise 1⁄8 in.

When I started out as a carpenter, I learned to transfer measurements from the door opening to the door using a framing square, a
long level, and a measuring tape. Although this technique works, it has limitations. If the door jamb on the hinge side is bowed
or if the opening is out of square, you can end up making several trips from the door opening to the sawhorses, carrying the door,
re-marking, and recutting. If you measure, mark, and cut correctly each time, you’ll eventually get the door to fit.

A better way is to make a template that provides an exact pattern in which to cut the door so that you get the ideal fit the first time. This technique isn’t limited to full-size doors, either. You can use it on cabinet doors, countertops, closet shelving, and
even oddly shaped stair treads.

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