I was just reading this article about casing doors (not that I needed to
read it of course...just because I was curious).
My door is about 7' high, the molding is 2" wide and 1.25" thick.
My strategy was that I would fit and mark the moldings to size, cut
them with a hand miter saw I have, and nail it up. Since I'm not
nailing through drywall, I figured 2.5" finish nails would be
appropriate. If 2" finish nails would be suitable, I happen to have
those on hand (please comment).
I was even planning to go through the extra effort of priming the ends,
before I nailed it up.
This isn't adequate for the fellow who wrote the article. He wants to
tack it down, and then glue his molding using "spring clamps" which I
have never seen before, and then go back and nail it down. Hell, I
think I'll be wrestling the molding to the wall (as I bend around two of
my drywall seems! : )
I do like his idea of using a "spacer" tool, to make the reveal
perfectly uniform. I would not have thought of that, and I can improvise
I wanted to share these words in case anyone is willing to comment on
anything. I intend to go buy the molding tomorrow morning. The stuff I
ripped down 3 years ago seemed ratty at the time (and was put up by
someone even less ambitious than I am!) I guess that partially
addresses my concerns. I suppose there are lots of ways to address most
any project. Whatever I do, it will be better than it was!
The fellow in the article even blunted or cut off the ends of the nails
to keep from splitting the wood. Is that a technique you use? To my
intuition, it seems like it might make more sense for much thinner molding.
On Monday, July 29, 2013 10:00:40 PM UTC-5, Bill wrote:
Is this brick or masonry molding? 1 1/4" this is pretty thick for door tri
ms unless it is for a masonry/rock application.
In this instance, probably everyone here learned differently. For me, I le
arned that you need to have at least 2/3rd more nail than the thickness of
the material you are nailing. In some cases this formula is part of the bu
ilding codes for certain applications.
Trims and moldings are different and there are other variables. If you whe
n I put up a thick trim like your are using, I use an 8d finish (2 1/2") if
I am nailing directly to the frame. If I am going over sheetrock I will u
se 10d due to the fact that you will be nailing <through> an additional 1/2
" of material that will not hold a nail.
Having hung a few thousand doors (literally), I have never seen anyone use
spring clamps on door trim.
As far as finger savers go, they can be handy and I used them myself when I
was learning to drive nails. As far as buying a special nail placement to
ol to work around hinge placement. put your nails on either side of the hin
ge where you have the room to drive the nail. There is no reason to put th
em right on the hinge.
Blunting the nails works on some trims. Not so much anymore as the hardwoo
ds we get that make up stock trims are hard enough to be brittle. With tha
t in mind, I take a nail the size of the nails I am driving and clip the he
ad off and use it as a drill bit for small nails, say 3d to 4d. Anything o
ther than those sizes, I use a drill bit that is a little smaller than the
nail in diameter and then drill only through the trim by a little bit. Tod
ay's nails are made from am mix of steel scrap, and blunting them will caus
e them to bend, creating another problem when driving the nail.
I don't use adhesive on door trims. I don't know what that guy thinks he w
ill be achieving by doing that on end joints. If I want then to stay and I
think they need help, I line the joint up where I want it, drill a pilot h
ole from the top and then nail down where the nail can't be seen. This als
o eliminates that spring clamp business.
For inside use if I am hand nailing, I drill pilot holes for the jamb side
and use 4d finish. For the wall side, I use 8d finish. But this is for 1/
2" thick trim. Your instance will be different. Put your nails on the jam
b side about 10" apart on a shimmed door, and about 14" on the wall side.
On non shimmed doors (I don't shim doors 24" or less) then tighten up those
measurements by 2" each side.
Take your time when installing your casing. On a proper door installation,
the casing is an important, integral part of the door structure. The inst
allation of the casing completes a "box", which will hold the jamb true and
help prevent the torque created from use from pulling the door out of adju
stment. I don't use as many nails as that guy you referenced does since I
usually shim most doors, but I am particularly careful to put nails on eith
er sides of the hinges on both sides of the casing, and strike side gets th
e same treatment as well.
On Tuesday, July 30, 2013 8:21:35 AM UTC-5, Leon wrote:
LOL! Not this trip.
Funny thing about Lake Tahoe, they don't consider themselves Californians a
nd are tired of being painted with the same brush as the dreaded "Bay Area
Assholes". Those folks in Tahoe really, really don't like their southern n
eighbors. I heard that everywhere I went this trip.
Without the skiing industry, Tahoe would be just another sleepy tourist tow
n. If you go now, there are few tourists and the town rolls up at around 9
at night. The streets are literally deserted by 11. A nice, clean hotel
room on the beach area of the lake is about $80 a night!
Hard to take a bad picture there too, since it is sooooo scenic. The folks
there on both sides of Tahoe love their town and have a lot of pride in it
and it shows. There is no trash anywhere in the streets; there is NO graf
fiti. This trip there was a wooden boat show, and antique car show, along w
ith all the other things to do. We rode the gondolas, took the river boat c
ruise, drove to Carson City and rode the antique train up to Virginia City,
and on an on.
The trip was a huge success. Plenty to do, but really relaxing as well.
You and lovely K should put that on your list!
You are correct, I was wrong. I was looking at the molding on the door
between the garage and the entry to the kitchen, which is of a different
The molding I should be using, provided I match the rest of the house,
should be 2 1/2" wide and 1/2" thick.
Thank you for providing a great lesson in the rest of your post!
By the way, when I really need a "finger saver" (for really small nails
or to get to hard to reach places) I make my own--out of a piece of
I learned to pound nails as a youngster the old-fashioned
way--accumulating a few blood-blisters along the way. But I learned--I
don't hit my fingers
like that anymore, at least not so much! : )
That's just what I need to do. I had not planned to use "2 columns" of
nails. %-) Surely you must drill pilot holes for the 8d finish nails
too, then, right? Right through the drywall I suppose.
Thanks once again for a very helpful lesson!
On Tuesday, July 30, 2013 2:39:27 PM UTC-5, Bill wrote:
That really depends on the hardness of the trim. I don't have any trouble
getting the nails in, but worry about splitting when using that really hard
white primed stuff from Chile that they sell at the big boxes. Try a nail
or two a foot from the edges when using the 8d nails and inspect closely f
or tiny splits around the nails. This can be a good indicator for splittin
g near the ends of the trim. Drill the ends of the trim about an inch down
from your inside miter for your nails if you have any doubts at all.
Reminds me of a good tip.
Make your reference/spacer marks as needed on the jamb. Cut the trim to le
ngth using the inside length of the miter, not the outside. Put both sides
up, but DO NOT nail the last 8 inches around the miter joint, just make su
re the trim is on your mark. Measure the outside length of the top piece (
the horns if you will) to get an overall outside measurement. If the sides
are not 100% attached, you can move them very slightly back and forth to i
mprove the appearance of your miter joints. This may be necessary as NO do
or is ever installed completely square or completely plumb. Attach the top
piece with a nail in the center of the trim, inspect your joints, adjust/t
rim as needed and if necessary put a nail (predrilled of course!) into the
miter joint. I would suggest a 3d for that joints as needed.
Once you are satisfied with the fit, complete the attachment of the trim.
Written like a true pro--it sounds like sage advise!
I don't know if you remember me screwing around "shimming" my door for
the last year or two (Mike Marlow was sort of helping me with it)? It
wouldn't stay locked all year. I ultimately determined that my
"weather-related" problem with the door not locking was only indirectly
due to the shimming. It was due to the door latch hitting the edge of
the striker plate. Installing a different striker plate allowed me to
move the opening down about 1/4 inch--which I strongly believe is the
final word on that problem. That said, this may be a good chance to
shim the door again (for the 5th or 6th time?) , before I "reinforce" it
with all of this molding! Like a "box"!!! %- ). I use my
reciprocating saw to cut the old nails... I'll try to force myself to
shim it one LAST time...though the place where the nails enter is
starting to get a little ragged. If anyone points and asks, I'll just
have to admit, "that's where I learned." Maybe I can cover my
experience with some joint compound.
I just came home with my casing from Chile, I mean Home Depot. At least
in my case, the "white primed casing" is MDF. I didn't notice until I
was putting it in the car. That means it has Formaldehyde in it, so (if
I follow the guidelines at Wikipedia) I could paint the back and ends
for instance if I feel like it. As long as I don't breathe the dust
directly, or eat it, I don't expect a real problem either way. I will
be careful to avoid doing either of those things... Based on my 2 bad
experiences working with regular plywood in the last 10 years, I think
I'll don a pair of my blue-nitrile gloves from Harbor Freight when I cut
it. I would have preferred to pay for wood.
I'm over the hump. I replaced a shim in the door with a slightly
thinner one to suit me. I noticed that the angles on my door are close
to 90-degrees. Then I cut all of the 45-degree miters in the door casing
with an old metal miter saw someone gave me. I compared my first cut
with my Starrett combination square and it fared well. I just made one
bad cut, forgetting that door molding not only has a front and back, it
has an inside and an outside too! My first thought was that I would just
"use the piece on the other side", but I noticed that it doesn't work
that way! ; ) With time to spare, and everything handy, I quickly
painted the backs of the pieces. I'll cut the two sides to length and
nail it all up tomorrow.
I inset numerous nails heads still present from me shimming the door
several times. My thought is that I will apply some EZ-Sand drywall
compound (or Durabond) over that strip (containing the strike plate),
and paint it, to pretty it up. The door opens to the inside of the
garage, and there is even a piece of weather strip in place. Thus, I
think condensation would be main possible source of moisture. Is it
likely to hold up if I do this (I'm sure how good my Zinnser 123 and
drywall compound are at dealing with moisture like this)?
The current paint there is very flat, and may be a primer itself (or
I knew I forgot something at the store. I forgot to buy my "pale green"
paint for the door. I think there used to be a movie called "The Green
Door". Any coincidence with my choice of color for the door is just
that. : )
Alot of work that seems really hard when it's "out of one's comfort zone".
I've noticed it can sometimes be really hard to move out of ones comfort
Thinking about being out of one's comfort zone seems to create
The prodding and tips I got in this thread were helpful in getting me
they contained some concrete "what to do's" that hit home and made me
feel more confident.
Anyhow, just want to document that the "comfort zone" concept may be a
very important one.
Not just to us, but to our whole society (I don't claim this is an
I'm always quietly-excited when I can increase the size of my comfort
You are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT that you want to predrill for that nail!
I removed the first nail with the help of a box cutter.
I added a nail from the side too.
I exclaimed to my wife who happen to be standing nearby, and had no idea
what I was talking about--"How did I forget to predrill for that nail?!"
And, if one can somehow predrill it BEFORE the casing is tacked up, one
may be able to avoid sanding and repainting the adjacent wall surface.
In retrospect, maybe a "barrier" should be used.
I think I cut my casing at 45-degrees. I took your advise (all of it)
and hung up the "horns" first. I had to hack off a little off of one of
the verticals with my hand miter saw and I had to had to cut two or
three times on the other vertical to get them to meet the horns
properly. For the first one I stuck a paint stick in the miter saw to
create the bit of deflection. Due to the nature of the miter saw, and a
little impatience I ended up eye-balling and holding the workpiece with
my hand for the second one. It was nice that this worked pretty well as
it did as I had already cut the pieces to length (and cutting them to
length seems forced on you, at least up to 1/2" or so at the floor).
Using nail sets to set all of the 4d and 6d nails was tedius work (at
least one of the boards was quite hard) Are the folks who use
pneumatic tools able to shoot them below the the surface? I will put
some EZ-Sand on the insets tomorrow.
I bought a quart of "Airy Mint" semi-gloss paint today for the door. I
expect it to look pleasant against everything else, which is WHITE. The
door has a panel window which should look pretty, though the exterior or
it is in need of repair (it will require me to create some new pieces.
I have designate that as a *future* project). Until I started to paint
recently, it's always been covered up wth a make-shift curtain. I'll
enjoy it a bit before I consider covering it up again. Pictures later.
It's nice to have a "cased door" (just wait until it's painted!) Thanks
to all of the folks that helped!
You know what's even better than having a "cased door"? -- Having a
hunch about how to do it! : )
I just wanted to thank you again for the guidance above. I surely helped
the appearance of my work and made the work much less aggravating then
it would have otherwise been. Without your suggestions I confess I
probably would have worked out 45-degree miters on the ground, and then
struggled from there... probably clockwise (LOL!)
Anyone reading this who may encase a door, take note of the
technique--especially concerning the top piece.
On Tuesday, August 27, 2013 5:12:41 PM UTC-5, Bill wrote:
Certainly glad to help. Someone showed me that about 35 years ago when it
wasn't considered a trick, it was the way to do it! Precut trim was unhear
d of, and there were no "motorized miter boxes". We cut trim with a miter
saw and it wasn't always dialed in for perfect miters after going from job
to job, so we went for the best fit. I must say I am surprised that no tri
m carpenters I see these days do that.
After we all got "motorized miter boxes" we inched our game up a bit. Stai
ned or natural finished wood was still in vogue, so that meant the trim fin
To amp up your Jedi training on door casing, follow the first part of the t
ip for the side, but make your reveal mark with a tri square or something e
lse that you can use to make your perfectly spaced mark on the jamb, top an
d sides. Cut the side to fit, again not nailing the last 8 inches at the t
Cut the trim about 1/4" longer than the outside measurement of the horns.
Drop the trim in the space where it will go, overhanging each side of the m
itered cuts by 1/8". If the miter joints look good on both sides and they
are closed, simply cut the trim to length and nail it in. However, with th
e same 1/8" overhanging the points of the sides, you can also trim the top
piece to fit if you are careful to allow for out of square doors. Just rem
ember, if you trim a side a bit out off of 45 degrees, you MUST cut the ent
ire width of the trim each time (heel to point or point to heel) or you wil
l have a double angled end. When fitting, to get that last bit out of the
trim to get the joint closed you can also move the side trims a tiny bit ba
ck and forth to make sure your miters are closed.
That method takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it the key is
patience and you can get great joints with some patience. This method wor
ks great on problem doors when you don't want to caulk our miters. It won'
t fix anything that is really out of square, but hopefully when you won't r
un into too much of that when you hang the door yourself.
If it improves your spirits, I used a motor-less miter box that was
at least 35 years old! But I'm pretty sure the miter box was more
dialed-in than the door frame. I will be up to the challenge when my
next door comes around.
On Wednesday, August 28, 2013 1:21:13 PM UTC-5, Bill wrote:
After cutting rough cornice work for a while on the old rock maple boxes wi
th a back saw ( I was allowed to cut base and shoe mold with some practice)
the company I worked for acquired one of these after landing some large tr
Man I hated that saw. Just hated it. It had the singular distinction of b
eing out of accuracy after about two weeks of job use and there was no way
to adjust it. Hard to carry, hard to transport, it was not made for anythi
ng but stationary shop use. When sent to trim out a job by myself I used t
o take my shop made miter box and a belt sander and got much better results
. The guys sure liked using that old monster, though. It made them feel l
ike real pros.
I have no idea who buys those things these days, and never see anyone use t
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