I have an old house. From time to time, one door or another will stick.
I assume it's because of the house settling in an uneven manner.
In the past, I've used a surform tool to shave off about 1/16" or so.
This is a bit of work in an awkward location (top of door) on a surface
that is difficult to stabilize. And, if I'm not careful, there is a
tendency to knock chips off the side.
I have 4-5 doors that are sticking that I have been procrastinating
fixing. I'm thinking about buying a little power sander to make the task
a little easier. I'd be interested in suyggestions for what type of
sander to get. Orbital? Belt? Or something else?
I see some small orbital sanders with a dust collector. Do they work?
That would make clean up a lot easier.
I don't know but that is a good idea I will try next time with my small
orbital sander. I usually use an old surface planer. I seldom use my
orbital sander but thought it would be nice to have one around. Was not
all that expensive.
Hand plane is a poor choice for door ends. Often, the part that drags is end
grain, and a plane does a terrible job. I'd be thinking hand held belt
Christopher A. Young
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I had power tools on my brain, so a simple hand plane never entered my
mind. (sigh) Yes, I've done some really awful work with one of those.
Picture does not come up but we know what they look like.
My father was a ship fitter during WWII and plane came from this era.
Basically, he was a carpenter that fitted things like bunk beds into a
ship. He said there were no flat surfaces on a ship hull and there was
a lot of fitting, I'd say planing, to do. He had apprenticed in this
trade after the eight grade. Later became a typewriter and business
machine repairman. I've got a few of his old tools from that period too.
If it doesn't raise much dust, will it do the job. When I do it with the
surform tool, it's very hard work and there is a ton of dust. Maybe a
small belt sander would be better. I used to have a little sander that
was about 2-3" wide, but I can't seem to find it.
On Thu, 20 Sep 2012 10:42:59 -0700, Jennifer Murphy
By that I meant the dust basically fall downs, not up.
Coarse paper on the orbital will take the door edge down.
I've used only "bigger" belt sanders, maybe 21".
They put a lot of dust in the air, and require a firm grip so they
don't get away.
A little belt sander would work faster, but it still requires 2 hand
control. And it will still throw more dust.
The orbital will work with one hand on it.
With a suitable coarse grit, an orbital sander WILL (eventually) do the job.
Plus, it's a nice tool to have for other projects and well worth the less
than $20 cost
Dust will be generated with any sanding operation, unless your sander
connects to a vacuum source.
You can, however, confine the dust to a small area by covering the project
with a trash bag or blanket.
That's a great idea. And I already have a drill. Off to the hardware
store to get a drum attachment and some drums. Thanks.
I may still get a little orbital sander to finish the job. I imagine
that the drum sander may tend to leave the edge a little "wavy".
On Thu, 20 Sep 2012 11:18:36 -0700, Jennifer Murphy
Well, I should have done a search for drum sander bits before I went
out. I went to the local Ace Hardware and Home Depot. Neither carry drum
sander bits for drills except for Dremels. I really couldn't find
anything online, either. So I got a new surform and some drums for the
The Dremel worked the best, but was impossible to get an even surface.
If you ever want to teach a kid the difference between sanding side
grain and end grain. just have them use a drum sander on the top of a
door. They will get a very big dip just where the tiop rail is joined to
the side rail. No way to avoid it.
But, all doors now close easily, so I'm a happy camper -- for another
Thanks to everyone for the help.
On Thu, 20 Sep 2012 11:46:56 -0700, Jennifer Murphy
A power planer is actually two or more plane blades on a circular
drum, driven by a motor. It does a similar job to a hand plane but
much faster. (You posted a link to one earlier in the thread, though
oddly it's labeled a "hand plane" even though it's obviously a piece
of power equipment. I suppose that's intended to indicate that you
hold it in your hands as opposed to mounting it on a bench.)
It's calibrated to take off a specific thickness on each pass -- I
think 1/16" to 1/64" on mine. That's a big advantage compared with a
The power plane produces a smooth surface, like a hand plane, rather
than the relative rough surface you get with a sander. To get a
similarly smooth surface with a sander and also take off the amount of
wood you need to remove, you'll need to go through probably three
grades of sandpaper. Of course if the surface is on the top or bottom
of the door, the smoothness of the result may not matter.
It also produces a lot less dust than a sander, producing more chips
and less fine dust. Mine collects most of the dust in its attached
dust bag without needing a vacuum attached. It does still leave some
I've adjusted several doors with the same problem yours have, and I
like the results. You do have to make sure to plane in from, or
parallel to, any edge -- planing out is asking for large chips to
If you use a sander, I think you'll need a belt sander. An orbital one
will take a long time to take off 1/16" and you'll get frustrated.
If it's possible to remove the door -- either by removing hinge pins
or, if the pins aren't removable, by taking out screws -- doing so
will make the job a lot easier. You really can't reach all of any
edge, even the edge opposite the hinges, without taking the door down.
And taking the door outside eliminates most of the worries about dust.
Have you tried loosening some hinges and tightening others to reset
the door or cant it slightly upward or downward. A couple of pieces
of thin cardboard behind the right hinge can do wonders and doesn't
leave any dust<g>.
Normally one would only have to do this once or so and you would be good for
a number of years. Possibly the house is still settling and the foundation
needs looking at to determine if there should be something done to stabilize
it. Or the doors are installed so tight that changes in humidity causes the
door or the jamb to swell from dampness and stick the doors. There should be
about 1/16" to 3/32" gap all around the doors to ensure that they will
continue to work properly and not stick.
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