Carpentry question

I am putting a glass paned door in a non-standard size entryway.The door is 30" wide and I need to cut it down to 29 3/8".

Should I take 5/16" off both sides or 5/8" off one side? The tools I have available are a power planer, a jig saw, and a circular saw.

My concern with both sides is that I’ll have my usual waviness after the cut. I can sand it out, but it makes more sense to me to leave all that on one side as long as the door isn’t visibly imbalanced.

Table Saw
Take it to someone with a quality table saw…

Buy a $2 chalk line &…
Strike your like down the hinge side. Marke where your hinge plates will be on the finished side & use your circular saw. Once it is hung IF there are any waves, you won’t notice them on the exposed latch side & any door sealant strip will hide the “wave” on the hinge side. ALWAYS take off of ONE side.

Paddle easy,


of the tools you’ve got

– Last Updated: Apr-03-08 10:41 AM EST –

I'd use the circular saw and cut off of one side. But, I'd rig up a good, solid straight edge to follow. Don't be tempted by the power planer, unless you have a lot of experience with it. Although a single, thin pass when you're finished should not bring any trouble. Coffee's suggestion about cutting off the hinge side is the way to go.

That’s what I thought. I do have a
good, door length straight edge and taking it off the hinge side makes sense.

Thanks for the quick responses. It is today’s project.

Make a sawboard out of scrap with your circular saw. Then you clamp the sawboard to your door on the cutline and go.

5/8 on one side
will be quite noticable. I would suggest that you take the bulk off of the hinge side, 3/8 - 7/16, and the rest off of the other side.

And I’d use multple passes with the power planer. I’m assuming the door is a blank, no holes or mortices.

I helps if you have a fence, and clamp the door on edge, I use a WorkMate.

Cutting Hinge Mortices…
is there a simple way to do this without specialty tools?

Hinges and DoorKnob?

– Last Updated: Apr-03-08 1:45 PM EST –

The challenging part of refitting a door isn't usually adjusting the width of the door. It's mortising the hinges and the lockset.

IMHO, if the mortising is already in for the lockset, leave that side alone!!! I'm sure you would rather mortise new hinge insets than line up a new door knob hole with a new mortised lockset.

If your door isn't pre-mortised for the door knob, I'm curious how you're going to do that.

As far as cutting that edge, solidly clamp a straight edge to the door and run the fence of your circular saw along the board. This works particularly well with a finishing blade in your circular saw. Last week I bought an Avanti 40T finishing blade at Lowes for not a lot of money. I used it to shorten some doors - no splinters and incredibly accurate.

Before you cut your door, check the square and angles of the door frame. It's more important that the edge of your door be square to the frame rather than 'square to gravity'!!!

what kind of door is it?
if it’s a solid core, veneered door, you may be cutting away most of the solid wood style if you trim from one side only. you won’t leave enough meat for your hinge screws or lock set to attach to. if it was me, i’d trim from both sides, using a circular saw and a straight edge clamped to the door. don’t forget to cut at a 2 degree bevel to provide clearance, when the door closes, on the lock side. when the door is hung in the opening, you should have a dime’s width between the door and the jamb on the hinge side and the top, and a nickle’s width at the lock jamb.

Depending on the style of the door, if you take 5/8" off the hinge side, there may not be much meat left to anchor the hinge screws. I hung about a million doors in my time, and I would suggest you make yourself a quality straightedge as described above and take equal amounts off both sides with a nice sharp circular saw. Leave the cut a hair large and use a belt sander to finish if you have one. Don’t forget to reproduce the bevel on the latch side of the door.

It is a solid pine door with a 5" wood

– Last Updated: Apr-03-08 1:17 PM EST –

border aound the panes.I have already cut the bottom off using an edge guide and a fine cutting blade on the jig saw. The cut looks polished. It takes longer, but does a great job.
I picked up a kit from Lowe's with templates and blades for installing the handle and lock. It inclues a template for mortising the hinges. So far, so good.

Sounds good
It sounds like you have the cutting down well. If you can make a nice cut on both sides, you should definitely split the difference and cut both sides. On a 5" stile, a 5/8" difference in width on either side of a central pane will be glaringly, obviously, wrong-looking (rails are horizontal, stiles are vertical if I remember right). The eye picks up differences like that suprisingly easily - you could probably detect a 1/4" width difference.

Carpenter’s Saying
What is that carpenter’s saying, “measure twice, cut once”.

It didn’t help my old carpenter boyfriend who cut the wrong side of a door down, leaving a big gap at the bottom.

Good luck!


So far ,so good. I took the 5/8 off the
hinge side because I barely had room for the handle set my wife selected on the other as it was.

I can see the difference, but once it is pained white and in the white door frame, I think it will be negligible. I hope.

I appreciate everyone’s help.

The professional way is

– Last Updated: Apr-03-08 7:52 PM EST –

to block the door with a straight edge and cut 5/16" off each side.

Many door mfgs hinges aren't compatible with other doors anyhow.

Is the door knob hole already cut? If so then it would be best to cut 5/8" off the hinge side because the new hardware won't cover an oversized hole. You'll have to make and clamp a jig in place to recut the hole. Most people won't notice it.

Take a scrap piece of wood and clamp a straight edge to it about 3" in from the edge. Mark the straight edge line with a pencil mark. Make a saw cut keeping the edge of the saw against the straight edge. Measure from the saw to the straight edge. Add 5/16" to that distance. Now measure from the edge of the door the total distance and clamp the straight edge in place.

Having someone hold the other end of the straight edge in place while you clamp it will help.

Make sure you have a new or sharp blade on your shill saw. I use 40 tooth carbide blades.

Slowly and carefully cut the door making sure the saw base stays flat on the door. Also make sure the straight edge does not raise up and let the saw base go under it.

Do the same to the opposite side. Check and recheck before you cut. The "Carpenters Rule" is to measure twice and cut once.

If I lived close I'd gladly come over and do this for you. I made and hung 3 - 2'-6" x 6'-8" solid slab doors out of 3 - 3'-0" x 8'-0" today.

Clamp the two doors together on edge and scribe the hinges. Sorry but I'm old fashioned and use squared corner hinges notched by hand with a 3/4 wood chisel. The make a jig for a router but that takes the fun and skill out of the job.

When you finally go to hang the door, put wood shims under the hinge side to hold it to the right height.

If you have a problem, call me 404-545-6633

Paddlin' on

Damn it. I just read where I'm a day late and a dollar short. You've already cut the door and you did it right.

Be precise marking the hinges...a hair is a mile when the go against the jamb. This is where a tri-square is really handy. Cut the long side of the hinge with a utility knife to prevent the thin edge from splitting outward.

If using 3 hole 3 1/2 hinges, install the middle screw first. If you really want to dress up the door and the knob is brass ...use solid brass hinges. They are $10.00 - $12.00 each but worth every penny.

AND PLEASE: PLEASE: PLEASE after the door is fitted and hung, remove the door and all hardware, prime and paint the door then reinstall the hardware.

Prime or seal the bottom edge of the door(2 coats). If primer use an oil base and not water base

BTW old doors had a slight bevel to the inside of the door on the hinge side to prevent hinge binding so there was a hinge and non-hinge side to a door. This is still done on super homes that use 1 3/4 interior doors. We'll cover that on Hanging Doors 102.

They have a hinge jig for routers

If it is wood a good carpenter can

…fix it.

Probably too late now, but
why not fix the opening so that it becomes a standard size?

I think the door mod was easier.
To increase the opening a lot of molding would have to be removed. yep, it’s too late.