Carpenter and joiner Robin Clevett gives us a few of his tips on how to hang a door.
XL Joinery has a huge range of modern styles in its range but it hasn’t neglected the traditional classics, such as this four panel softwood Shaker style door.
Most people know that fire doors require three hinges, but what about non-fire rated doors? When I was at college we were taught that most internal doors could be hung quite happily with two hinges. The exceptions were where the finish was different on either side, or where there would be a difference in humidity or temperature. That would be a bathroom door for sure, and maybe a kitchen or utility room door. These doors required three hinges. Now I notice that it is becoming standard practice to fit three hinges. You might suspect that it is hinge manufacturers who are keen to increase their sales by 50 per cent, but the real reason is that three hinges helps prevent warping.
These days, with quick grown timber, it is doubly important that you keep the door wrapped until you are ready to hang it, and then when you do hang it that you don’t leave any bare timber. It might seem like over-kill but I always dab a bit of quick drying primer or sealer behind the hinges as well as on planed areas.
If you have to shoot a door in take the same amount from either side, rather than just trimming up one side. I use an electric planer for greater accuracy, but on the top and bottom I like to use my track saw across the end grain.
Cutting in hinges
When I was an apprentice, I used to do all the hinges with a chisel but now I route them in free hand. It is easy enough to keep the router on the line if you mark the hinge out with a Stanley knife or marking gauge because you can stop short of the line. The router gives you a perfectly flush hinge but sometimes you need to set them in ever so slightly deeper. I usually do a trial fit on flush and then, if I need to reset the router I am good to go with the rest of the doors.
One thing I have on my shopping list is a smaller router. If you are cutting in hinges freehand then a ¼in. router that is handheld is a better way to go. I am looking at a few cordless routers that are easy to use one-handed.
The handles and three hinges came from XL in door fitting packs, which is a really good way of selling all you need. The tubular latch is included, but make sure you order the correct backset. The 65mm back set puts the handle nicely in the centre of the stile, with plenty of room to avoid knuckle graze.
One thing I could not do without these days is a pair of air wedges to pump the door up into position. The old-style door lifter was all well and good, but a little pump on each bag means you can dock it in precisely.
To be honest I am so busy cutting in roofs for builders that I don’t do a lot of second fix work these days. There was a time when I would get set up and in a long day I could do a whole house but not now. Still, I enjoyed myself doing these XL doors and it is good to keep my hand in.
The XL primed doors look good but they need painting with a couple of coats before they are finally fitted. I like to lay them flat and paint with a mini roller. Remember to apply the same number of coats to each side of the door and give it a light sand in between coats.