Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Doors

I finally framed out the rough opening for the front door today. I found a very fitting front door in my free pile. The bottom of the door had begun to rot right along the edge, but I was able to cut off 2 inches and find myself well into beautiful, rot-free wood. Now it's a 78" door, rather than an 80," which is more cozy-feeling anyhow. Hopefully you can feast your eyes on it in a photo tomorrow, as I'm planning on installing it in the morning.

I installed the first window. Actually, I didn't install it. I just tapped in a couple nails and sunk a couple screws to hold it in place. It's one of the windows that my parents found in Syracuse, NY and brought down to me in their minivan. I really love the aesthetic of it (especially from the inside - look two photos down...). I need to replace some of the exterior trim, and nail it all in properly. But I couldn't resist just getting it in for the sake of having a window.

I've never made a proper door jamb (frame) before. The door in the shed has a made-up jamb, and the bathroom door in the house (the one I installed yesterday) utilizes the studs as a jamb, which is not proper (the reason that I did this is that the bathroom door is just temporarily in that location - eventually it will be accessed from the North side of the room). And all of the doors I've hung at the farm are on studs as well; I think it's a fine procedure, but some people like a more finished look (and by finished, I mean clean, white, with trim, no nails/screws exposed, etc...). One of the points of this whole project for me is to do most of the things the accepted, "professional" way, so as to think critically about what makes sense and what doesn't - after building a whole house this way, I will have gained a lot of knowledge, and I'll be able to justify to people why I do certain things one way, and why I might do them another. Here's the start of my first attempt at a conventional jamb...

Cutting the mortise joints in the uprights:

Making sure the size is just right for the top piece in the jamb:

And locking it together, ready for screws:

I need to buy a sill from Home Depot tonight, as well as some more dead bolts - I want to install both the front and back door tomorrow (at which point all of the doors will be in!).


  1. No door frame is very unorthodox indeed. Emon can show you how to make one very quickly. The benefit, I believe is that you can make one to fit a door and not have to trim or add to a door to make it fit your opening. And, what to you use to cover the edges of your sheetrock and the edges of your exterior siding? Everyone's a critic. Rather than have a 78-inch door, you can rip a piece and use counter-sunk screws and glue to add 2 inches to the top or bottom of a door. Once puttied and painted, nobody will see the seam. We had to do this a bunch of times to keep tops of casings reasonably level throughout a project.

  2. I've enjoyed following your projects for awhile and I'm in the midst of renovating a 100 year old house up here in Charleston, WV which I post infrequent updates on at I particularly like your use of google sketchup to explore design issues and I was inspired to try using it myself. Problem is, I can't seem to figure it out. This is absurdly frustrating as I'm generally pretty good at figuring almost anything out. But with sketchup I'm stumped and I wanted to ask you how you learned your way around sketchup and if you can point me to any good sources for learning to use it competently. Thanks!

  3. Amazing Greg. I just checked out your entire blog. It is incredible. I hope I can build my house half as great as you have done in all of your building projects. If you ever make it up to West Virginia you should stop by. Mega bus! It was wonderful meeting you :) Amazing job. Good luck with everything!