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post #91 of 108 Old 06-29-2014, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Loose Ends Update - June 29, 2014

Joists

I finished putting up all of the floating joists. I wasn't originally planning on putting any kind of braces or the like between them, but they ended up being quite a bit wobblier than I thought they'd be. Also, they bent just enough in places that they were no longer 24" O.C. So I ripped a bunch of 2x8 braces from the leftover bits and installed them between the joists.



The faint red line is my laser, in an attempt to keep them all in a row. This took quite a bit longer than I thought it would, considering how many times I needed to go up and down the ladder. What I wouldn't have given for a decent scaffolding system right about then.

Anyway, the end result looks like so:



After being open to the roof for so many months, it almost feels claustrophobic in that room with the joists. It's just in contrast to what was before, though. 8' is fine.

The "Other" Door

Here's what I was working on when I wasn't working on the theater:



It's a new fiberglass exterior door. I ordered it as a slab, since I intended to re-use the existing door frame. That meant doing my own hinge and latch mortises and hardware holes. I'm bringing this up mostly because this next picture is an excellent example of why even though I try to be very careful, I still make countless silly mistakes. This picture shows the router jig I was using to make the hinge mortises and the latch mortises. There is a setting on the jig that determines the depth of each. Try and see what mistake I made but didn't notice until quite a bit later:



Click to see the full size. My mistake was:

I set the jig to the PLATE setting and not the HINGE setting. This meant that my mortises were too skinny by a decent bit.



The end result was that I had to go back over it with a chisel and fine-tune it a lot more than planned... and taking a lot more time than planned. Ah well.
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post #92 of 108 Old 06-29-2014, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Massive Door (Part 1) - June 29, 2014

The Plan

I finally started on my theater door -- as opposed to the barn door on the outside. It starts with a 32" wide 1-3/4" solid core door that weighs about 90 lbs on its own. I then will add on a 3/4" panel on the back, attached with screws and with a layer of Green Glue sandwiched in between. On the bottom is a 3/4" thick automatic door bottom from Zero International (the semi-mortised kind, which works out well since it's the same thickness as my MDF). On the front is another MDF panel, this time 1/2" thick and skinnier than the door by 3/4" all the way around. It also has a layer of Green Glue in between. I haven't calculated the weight yet, but I'm assuming somewhere in the 150 lb territory.

Assembly



I'll admit that I sometimes get a little intimidated by things that I haven't done before. I tend to procrastinate doing things that are new in some unique or unknown way. Oddly, the Green Glue in pails was one such factor. If I had gotten them in the standard 28oz tubes, then it would have been no big deal at all since I've caulked thousands of feet of gaps over the years. But using a bulk loader from a pail was new and I honestly wasn't sure what was going to happen, even after watching a bunch of videos and reading up on it.

After putting it off long enough, though, I finally just did it. But... it didn't at all work like I was led to believe it would work based on the videos. In those videos, the goo streamed out of the bulk loader in thin streams. That's not at all what happened with me:



Yeah, it was a bunch of big clumps. It essentially wouldn't budge at all if I wasn't pulling the trigger and when I pulled the trigger, it would plop out in one big glob.

Can the temperature make that much of a difference? It was probably 115 degrees or more in that room at the time. The instructions say to do it at "room temperature" (70 degrees is NOT room temperature here in AZ!) but I think that's mostly in comparison to freezing and not to heat. Hrm.

Well, what's done is done, and since it was clumped evenly, I soldiered on. I attached the auto-bottom and the MDF with screws:



I left one side and the top of the MDF proud of the door, since I'll be going over it with a flush trim router bit later. I did make sure that one side was flush, though. But... I had apparently completely forgotten about something about door slabs. See, I was somehow thinking that plain door slabs don't have a front or a back, but that's not always technically true. Many door slabs will have the sides slightly beveled to allow the door to swing past the jamb easier. I actually knew that, but completely spaced on it until I was doing some checking after the fact and discovered this:



Yep, the MDF is flush with the outer edge of the door, but the door angles by by a 1/16" or so. Dang. I think I'm going to need to fill that in, since that angle extended for another 3/4" will be quite substantial. Maybe just wood filler will do? Maybe I need to use Bondo?

For the second side, I tried modulating the speed loader a bit more, and depressed it very shallowly while more vigorously shaking the entire gun back and forth. The end result looked like this:



It still has globs in a few places, but overall it's a lot closer looking to what I've seen done elsewhere. Still don't know why I don't see those globs at all anywhere else, though.

The door as it stands now looks like so:



I think this picture shows a bit better what I was describing with the skinnier front panel. It's what I refer to as a "bank vault" style door.

Some Thoughts

I only used one tube of Green Glue on each side for a couple of reasons. First, since those panels are notably smaller than the 4x8 sheets that Green Glue is designed for, one tube actually has more coverage than it normally would. The docs say that one tube has 70% of the performance of two, but with the size difference here, I'm guessing it's notably higher. Also, since I do have two sheets -- one one each side -- I do sort of have two applications.

Yes, I know that Green Glue works best on surfaces with the same density. Presumably it still has some value in this application. Heck, it was valuable as a test bed for using the product, if nothing else.

What still needs to be done:
  1. MDF needs to be flush trimmed to the door
  2. Door bevel needs to be filled in with something
  3. All panel edges need to be eased (rounded or chamfered)
  4. The door bottom needs to be trimmed to fit
  5. Door hinges shall be mortised out
  6. Door latch, too
  7. Door holes drilled
  8. Custom door jamb created
  9. Hinges and strike plates mortised out on the jamb
  10. The door shall be hung

We're getting into the hot part of the summer, so work has really slowed down. You might notice some discoloration in the above MDF pictures -- thats from the continuous rivers of sweat coming down. It's not a comfort issue as much as a stamina issue. The heat really saps your energy, and so I find it difficult to work for more than an hour or two at a time. As such, the rest of this door may well take me a couple of weeks.

Overall, though, I'm very happy with how it's turning out!
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post #93 of 108 Old 06-30-2014, 09:42 AM
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I've found that gripping the tube at the front of the speedloader with one hand while depressing the plunger with the other as you move around the sheet is eaiser, quicker, and provides a more even distribution without the "clumping" your seeing.. basically never touching the trigger .

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post #94 of 108 Old 06-30-2014, 11:14 AM
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WD 40 my friend you can not put tooo much WD40 on and in the loader. Put the plunger down and then spray it in the vent holes at the top pull it back and then spray it down the inside of the tube from the end every so often as you go about every 3 sheets of drywall. I know this is just the door but you will thank me latter. Take the plinger up and down to make sure you have plently of WD40 and it is good and lose then load it. Ted says you can't use tooo much GG goes on like butter then! well maybe peanut butter
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post #95 of 108 Old 07-01-2014, 05:07 AM
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WD40 works well for getting GG off of you and your tools as well. It may be the only thing in existence that will get that stuff off.
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Dude, are you made of leprechauns? Cause that was awesome!

The Plains Theater Has Begun
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post #96 of 108 Old 07-01-2014, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I accidentally discovered another way of cleaning up GG -- just rub sawdust over it. The GG pills up in tiny sawdust balls and just falls off of whatever it's stuck to.

And thanks for the tips, guys. When I get to the drywall (hopefully in the not-too-distant future), I'll try both lubricating the heck out of it with WD-40 and also giving it a try foregoing the trigger.
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post #97 of 108 Old 07-02-2014, 08:05 AM
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post #98 of 108 Old 07-06-2014, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Milling Time - July 06, 2014

Monolith

I continued my slow work on the massive theater door. After easing the edges and filling in the screw holes, I turned my attention to the door jamb.

My original plan was to create one monolithic jamb, using inch think pieces of hardwood (poplar, likely). This is somewhat frowned upon in this forum, but no less than an authority than Rod Gervais actually recommends creating singular door jambs. According to him, there is solid research which shows that door jambs play a negligible role in sound proofing, and so the extra strength provided for a very heavy door is welcome. I treat pretty much everything he says as gospel, so that was the plan.

Specifically, the plan was for 13" wide boards. I'm not entirely certain what I was thinking when I created that plan. A 13" wide piece of hardwood would require some very specialized trips to specific lumberyards... and the end result would be quite expensive. Plus, once I had it, I wouldn't be able to work with it easily since my planer is only a 12" model. And boy would there be a massive amount of milling needed one a board that size. So yeah, that's just silly. I decided instead to create two 6" (roughly) door jambs, much like everybody else does.

I actually had a few pieces of rough 4/4 poplar in my workshop that I had kept in mind for such a use. I wanted to mill the jamb from rough lumber for a couple of reasons. First, rough lumber is MUCH less expensive than the S4S you get from the big box stores (50% or more). Second, I wanted the jamb to be as close to 1" as possible and the finished lumber would be only 3/4".

It's Miller Time

So I popped into the workshop Saturday morning and got started. It didn't take long for me to realize that the boards I had in mind weren't going to work. They were far too close to the finished size to easily be able to cut away defects. Worse, they were quite a bit more deformed than I originally thought. They were not only cupped, but also bowed, and twisted. When I calculated how much material I'd have to remove to get them to be square, I realized my 4/4 piece would end up being maybe 1/2" thick. Erg. So much for getting as close to 1" as possible.

Handily, I did have a couple of bigger pieces, that I was saving for another occasion. Well, no time like the present. The first one wasn't twisted (much), but it was mildly cupped and bowed more than a little:



The traditional way to deal with this is to go at it with a jack plane or such, but I'm not very well setup for handwork like that. I'm more of a power tool guy. The preferred power tool would be a jointer, but I don't have one anywhere near big enough to handle a board this width.

Just putting it through a thickness planer wouldn't work, since the rollers on the planer would just squish out any curvature and I'd end up with a thinner piece that was just as cupped and bowed as before (bowed for sure).

So the recommended way is to take a known flat board and attach your in-progress piece to it. I don't have any known flat piece that was big enough, so I created one out of plywood:



It's 8' long and 1' wide, with 3" stiffeners on it. It's as close to dead flat as you'd reasonably expect. Also, as I was to painfully learn, it's notably heavy.

Anyway, this is the board I ended up using:



It's technically 4/4, but it had a little extra, so it was really closer to 1-1/8" thick. Cool, that gave me a lot of room to play with. I ended up rough cutting it to a more manageable length, since doing all 10' at once would be a bit too unwieldy.

The next step was to support any high points. The goal was to make it impossible for the planer rollers to push down the high points, thus cutting them down and leveling out the piece:



The world runs on shims! Anyway, the piece only had a few high points and so I stuck shims in all of those places and started running the whole contraption through the planer:



Success! You can see it is only planing away the material over the high spot, while leaving the low spots alone -- just like planned. I continued doing this until all of my pencil lines were gone and I got a thin slice over the entire piece. That told me that that surface was now dead flat.

I detached it from the carry board and flipped it over and voila!



The bow and the cup are both gone! Sweet!

And if you like to end a post on a high note, just stop reading now, since it's all downers after this.

Quixotic Quests

Alas, I couldn't just look at that one side, and so I went around to the other side and...



Yeah... it was still pretty darn bowed on this side

I don't know if it's because I overcompensated on the shimming or if the plywood carry board deflected too much or if the board was simply moving too much, but the end result was that there was a still reasonably big bow on that one side of the board. So I decided to just shim that part out and essentially start again, this time flattening out the other surface.

Here's when I want to bring up the weight of that board plus my 8' long plywood carry. When I was younger and more spry, maybe, I may have been able to manhandle that contraption through the planer time after time for hours without any ill effects. That time is long past, though. My back was screaming at me roughly half way through and I just pushed through it trying to get it done. I barely was able to lift that darn thing in the end.

And after all that, the final milled piece is only 3/4" thick. Yeah, I planed off 3/8" off that board -- about 50% the size of the final piece -- in a quixotic quest for perfect flatness. Quixotic because even after all that back breaking work, it still isn't perfectly flat. There's still a slight bow on it.

Man. I didn't have the heart to even take a picture of it, I was so deflated at that point. I just went inside and tried to be as still as possible to cajole my back into working the next day.

The Next Day

Well, Sunday rolls around and I decided that I can't be putting that kind of effort into something without getting perfect results, and so rather than repeat this with some of my other pieces, I instead went to Home Depot and spent $120 on some 3/4" S4S poplar pieces. They aren't perfect, either, but at least it was trivial to load them into and out of my car.

I treated today as a true day of rest (other than picking up the poplar) so I'll get started assembling the frame next week. Next up is to create a custom hinge jig for my extra wide hinges.
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post #99 of 108 Old 07-07-2014, 06:18 AM
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Your updates are awesome ! I love reading them; I especially love the pictures. Great job!

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post #100 of 108 Old 07-07-2014, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Mfusick. I'm growing concerned about posting too many pictures, though, since VBulletin doesn't handle them very well. Specifically, it doesn't add the 'width' and 'height' attributes to the 'img' tag and so the browser can't pre-compute the page size on load. This means a constantly bumping around page every time this thread is loaded. Hrmph.
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post #101 of 108 Old 07-07-2014, 08:06 PM
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Just keep posting updates and pics, I heard that AVS was working on a solution for pictures.

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post #102 of 108 Old 07-08-2014, 06:23 AM
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Man... I feel your frustration and pain! All that effort for nothing... aaaarrgh!
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post #103 of 108 Old 07-13-2014, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Massive Door (Part 3) - July 13, 2014

Custom Hinge Mortise Jig

I've routed out hinge mortises before, but I've always use a store-bought jig for them, since the one I got handles quite a few sizes. Well, the hinges for my massive door are wide-throw hinges and so the stock jig simply doesn't work with it. I toyed with the idea of doing the mortises by hand with chisels, but my chisel-fu isn't up to snuff, so I made a custom hinge jig instead. It looks like this:



It's just a flat piece of plywood with a "fence" attached, and a hole cut out that is exactly the same of the hinge mortise. You may note the bits in the back -- those are some shims I had to glue in after I realized that a 2-1/2" mortise is precisely the size of my door! Oops. The official recommendation is to have a 3/8" space between the hinge and the front of the door and so I reduced the size of the jig to 2-1/8".

This is actually the second change I made. The first version of this jig also assumed I was going to use my more manageable small-footprint router, with the 1/4" collet. That was largely because I figured that even if I couldn't reuse the templates from the commercial jig, I could at least reuse the dado bit. Well.. it turns out that all dado bits that I could find with a 1/4" shank have 1/2" blades but 5/8" bearings. Adding on that extra 1/8" of space to my custom jig made it a little less accurate than I'd prefer, so I decided to get a true flush dado bit (3/4" with 1/2" shank) and that required using my mid-sized router.

On that note, I almost screwed up the collet on my mid-size router. For some bizarre reason that I can no longer remember, I thought that I could tighten the collet down to 1/4". So here I was tightening the collet down until it stopped at just under 1/2"... and then I remembered reading that if you tighten a collet with no bit in it, that it could deform and ruin the collet entirely. I hurriedly loosed it... and it was too late, since my normal bits no longer fit. I lost a day recovering that collet -- but in the end, it did work and I had full use of my mid-size again.

Routing the Hinge Mortises

I bought some saw-horses so I could work on my door at a more normal height and then laboriously hoisted it up. Did I mention how heavy that door is? Yeah, it's heavy. I marked out the hinges at 7" from the top, 11" from the bottom and the middle one centered between those two. I've seen the recommendation of 5" from the top and 10" from the bottom, but word is that some states out west mandate 7/11 and I was thinking it might be because it's stronger that way. That is, since all three hinges are closer together, do they carry the load better? No idea.



It didn't take long for me to realize that most of my practicing with the jig were for naught because my practice runs all assumed that the jig would be horizontal and doing it on the door would require it to be vertical. It feels very different. For my first "real" run, I clamped the fence to the door and used a plunge body. That ended up being too shallow and too inaccurate. The inaccuracy was the big problem since I could always just increase the bit depth... but if I couldn't attach the jig in a reproducible manner, then it's unlikely that it would work in the end. So I switched out to using a fixed-depth body and then attached the "face" of the jig to the side of the door. This better approximated how I had practiced earlier:



I was very happy with the results -- nice and flush!



Note how much the jig juts out from the door. I no longer remember why I chose that particular size of hinge. Maybe I couldn't find one that was 3/4" skinnier? Or maybe I just miscalculated sizes when I bought them. Anyway, that does give me some lee-way for acoustic panels on the door, later.

Creating the Door Jamb

By the way, remember how I was complaining about how I spent a lot of miserable time milling down a board only to have it not be perfect in the end? Here's what I meant:



Yeah, yeah... it's not that bad at all. FAR better than any of the store-bought pieces. Really, the only reason I was so disappointed was due to what it took to make it. It's more than fine as the primary door jamb.

I wanted a darn near perfect match between the door hinge mortises and the jamb mortises, so I used the same jig and I indexed it off of the door. That first one took quite a bit of time as I transferred lines here and there and did some knife cuts and the whole nine yards. After the first one, though, the other two were a cinch. I purposely left some "play" on both the bottom and top of the jamb to give me room to custom fit it later. After the initial routing, it looked like so:



I then did a test run of screwing in the hinges to both sides. Man, those screws definitely are appropriate for how beefy the door is. I didn't directly measure them, but they may be #12 screws. I say #12 , because I have a set of self-centering hinge drill bits and the one that fits #10 screws was definitely too small for the countersunk recess in the hinges. I do need to figure that out before actually installing the whole thing because I'm going to switching out several of the jamb side screws with much longer ones that'll also go into the rough door frame. Anyway, I did get a kick out of the size, though, because most hinges that I've seen have screws that are maybe #8 at best, and are often #6 . These ones practically look like lag bolts in comparison. Cool.

Since the screws are so big and so deep (1-1/4"), I decided that my 3/4" jamb was too skinny. So I ripped a scrap piece of 1/2" plywood down and glued it to the back of the jamb. That gives me one side that is 1-1/4" deep -- much better.



For the door threshold, I decided that I really did want it to be 1" thick, and so I was back at the raw poplar board again. This time, though, I didn't have the same expectation of perfection. It had some notable defects in it that I wanted to cut away, but no straight sides. So I got out my rough board straight-line jig -- which is just a couple pieces of plywood that I screw to the rough board and use as a "guide" against the fence:



I then ran it through my planer just enough to get it roughly flat and make sure it didn't dip below 1". That was far easier than before since it's so much shorter and lighter and since I wasn't taking anywhere near as much off, nor as carefully. Curiously, of the 75-odd pictures I took of the door creation process, none are of the milled threshold piece. Not sure why.

I decided to put a 3/8" rabbet on the top and bottom of the side pieces to help out with the jamb assembly later (and to provide a bit more support). I did this by doing everything on both side jambs at the same time. They were cut to final length while stacked together and then I clamped them side-by-side to route out the top and bottom rabbets. I used my (upside down) mortise jig as my fence for no other reason than it was flat and straight:



I attached the jamb together with screws on the side (no glue) and verified that the length and width was dead-on consistent all around. It is. Whew.



I had the thought as I was doing some test fits that my completely untreated poplar threshold was going to be directly on the concrete. AZ is quite dry, but when I installed a hardwood floor some time back, the moisture test I did showed that the slab let in just enough moisture to justify a vapor barrier. Well, I have some left-over Red-Guard from a shower installation I did before and so I decided to just use some of that here:



That's it for now.

Next Steps

The next few days will likely be taken up by me clearing brush after the storm we had today. Lots of branches are down and some are hanging precariously. I'm also more than a little worried about my building supplies. I covered the drywall with tarps, but this storm was windy enough that I'm not so sure how well that worked. Really hoping I didn't have to re-order that.

After the cleanup, though, I'm going to fit the jamb in the opening and make sure it's perfectly plumb and square. Then I'll have to figure out some way to get that door into place. I'm sure it'll involve a bunch of levers and shims, no matter what.
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post #104 of 108 Old 07-13-2014, 08:07 PM
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Pm me when you are ready to install that beast of a door. I would be willing to come help with that step. You can't live more than a few miles from me.

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post #105 of 108 Old 07-14-2014, 05:34 AM
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Great thread, and I really like your attention to detail there.

A dig all the big fancy HTs here, and love all the inspiration I get from them. That being said, there's just something about threads that show the effort and dedication of the DIYs that always gets me.

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post #106 of 108 Old 07-14-2014, 11:26 AM
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Granroth - This is my first visit to your thread...I'm not sure why I hadn't discovered it earlier. Three words come to mind: Ambitious, Meticulous, and Impressive!! Love all the pictures and the commentary to go with it.

I'm sub'd and looking forward to following along.
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post #107 of 108 Old 07-18-2014, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the offer, Pete. I am far too unreliable to accept any help, though. I work too sporadically to accept help even from family members that live close by. They've offered many times and I've stubbornly done it myself each time. Perhaps I have a hidden masochistic streak as well
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post #108 of 108 Old 07-20-2014, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Massive Door (Part 4) - July 20, 2014

Plumb Jamb

I started the door installation by trying to get the custom door jamb in as plumb as humanly possible. One of the first things I did was to remove the integrated threshold. Yes, I had gone to all the effort to rabbet out the jamb to integrate the 1" threshold in an attempt to ensure that the jamb was perfectly square... but I very quickly realized the folly of that plan when I did a test fit of the jamb in the opening. The problem is that the floor is not level. That meant that in order to have a plumb and square jamb, I'd need to shim up the threshold. I'm perfectly comfortable shimming most things, but I didn't want to shim under the threshold, since there could be a lot of pressure with people stepping on that many many times over the years. Handily, I didn't glue the pieces together but instead just screwed them. Uninstalling the threshold meant just unscrewing it. As it turns out, I was doubly glad I took it out later, as you shall see.

I decided that rather than centering the frame in the opening, I'd instead make sure the hinge side was as tight to the jack studs as possible. I wanted that side to be essentially part of the wall (as much as possible) and so I minimized the number of necessary shims.

The typical way to install a frame is to first level the top and then plumb the hinge side. In this case, I don't care at all about the top and so I concentrated almost exclusively on making sure that the hinge side was perfectly plumb in both the X and Y planes. I did so using a combination of my laser level and a regular 6' bubble level:



The laser was right through the center of the back row of hinge screw holes ensuring plumbness back to front and then the clamped on bubble level ensured plumbness side to side. I had previous spent a minor amount of effort trying to get the actual walls to be plumb and square and it paid off here, as I only needed to put two very thin shims in to get everything pretty nice.

I flip-flopped on whether I should install the hinges on the door first or the jamb first. In the end, the choice was clear if only because of how I intended to secure the frame to the jack studs. I got six 3" long #12 screws and drove them through the back screw holes on the hinges. The goal was to get into the king studs to ensure as solid a connection as possible.

It turned out that finding those screws were far more of a pain than I'd thought. I almost exclusively buy "heavy duty" screws these days, like Spax. They are thicker, made of higher quality steel, have self-drilling heads, and don't taper like common wood screws -- e.g., they are much stronger and are far less likely to pull out of wood once they are sunk. But when I went to the two big box stores to get my screws, I discovered plenty of #8 , #8 x, #9 , #9 x, #10 , and #14 screws... but absolutely no #12 screws. Eh? That was true of all heavy duty brands. I ended up having to get some plain old #12 wood screws, which was not at all ideal, but what can you do.

After the hinge side was in and plumb, I quickly squared up the top and latch side, just to keep them in place.

Heavy Lifting

Now it was time to move the door. I got out my old-reliable hand truck and enlisted the help of my wife. She's not typically much help for heavy things, but I figured that if the weight became that much of an issue that she couldn't help, then I was likely doing something wrong anyway.

The move went without a hitch. I lifted the bottom end of the door while she pulled the saw-horse out of the way. I then eased the door down and went to the other end to push it up-right. In the meantime, my wife brought the hand truck into position and I "walked" the door onto it. Once on the hand truck, it was an easy matter to wheel it over to the other side of the room. I made sure everything oriented right so that when I wheeled the door into position, the hinges would be facing in the right direction. Simple!



The next order of business was getting the door up on shims to bring it to the perfect height to align up the hinges. The bottom of the hinges were exactly 12-1/2" off the ground so in theory, I'd just need a 1-1/2" shim -- like a 2x4! Well, as I was sort of expecting, the fact that the floor isn't perfectly level meant that the the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor when the door is opening all the way was actually a bit less than that. I experimented with a few materials until I came across the perfect combination -- a piece of 1/2" plywood and 3/4" particle board. I walked the door up on the shims and voila!



I couldn't ask for a better fit. I had a very minor struggle, again related to the non-flatness of the floors. The floor mildly tilts upwards away from the door and so the hinge side of the door on those shims wasn't perfectly plumb. That meant that the top hinge was easily screwed in, but the bottom hinge was angled away from the door by 1/8" or so. I ended up having to carefully move the shims forward (hammer them forward, actually) so that the door could "lean back" a little. That done, I screwed all three hinges into the door.

And that was it for the heavy work! Could installing this door really be that easy?

Well... no.



Yes, that's the bottom of my door pretty much flush with the OUTSIDE of the 3/4" thick latch side of the frame. The top of the door wasn't quite so dramatic, but it too was proud of the opening. After all that effort making sure everything was plumb, my door simply wouldn't close.

It's All in the Angles

The problem was that the gap between the door and frame on the upper hinge was significantly more than the gap by the bottom hinge. That strongly implied that the door jamb wasn't plumb after all. I got out my laser level and... eh? Sure enough, it wasn't plumb in either direction!

It turns out that the weight of the door swinging on the hinges was enough to dramatically move the entire free-standing wall around! My previously mostly-plumb was wasn't even close. Oh, and even worse, the gap between the king stud and jack stud on the hinge side was also wider. I had essentially pulled the jack stud away a little bit out, just by the weight of the door. My pansy wood screws did nothing to keep them tight together!

My first order of business was getting the wall back towards some semblance of plumb. I concentrated first on the forward-back motion and used a clamp to tighten down the distance until the wall was as it should be:



That made a noticeable difference. I then used a spreader clamp to push the wall left to plumb it up in the side-side motion. After all this, I noticed that my previously perfectly plumb hinge jamb wasn't actually plumb anymore, but it would be if the shims were gone.

Before messing with that, though, I wanted to secure the jack stud to the king stud and to make sure that the door jamb could be supported independent of the hinge screws into the wall. For the former case, I got out my F-clamps and squeezed the studs together (took quite a bit of force) and then drove in some 2" #14 heavy duty screws through the king stud and into the jack. When I loosened the clamps, I was heartened to see that the studs didn't move at all.

I then got out a 4" long lag bolt with a 3/8" hex head and drove that through the jamb and into both of the studs. I first used my spade bit to carve out space for the hex head, since I wanted it flush. That's a far beefier piece of steel than my screws, so the hope would be that that would hold the whole thing in place even with the longer hinge screws removed. It did.

With the shims gone, the frame was back to being as perfectly plumb as I could hope for. That all did make a big difference, but not a complete one. The door was still hinge-locked on the bottom.

I've worked around that problem in the past using cardboard shims, but this time around I got a commercial hinge shim product that uses consistent sized plastic shims. I put two under the jamb side of the bottom hinge and that was all it needed. I now had a (mostly) consistent reveal all up the hinge side.

But it still wouldn't close. I now hit the latch side of the frame in a more consistent manner rather than more on the bottom than top, but that's of minor comfort when it won't close.

I had tried to calculate how much space would be needed in advance using Sketch-Up. I knew I'd need slightly more of a gap on the latch side due to the thickness of the door and so I created a Sketch-Up model with exact sizes and worked out the angles involved in opening and closing the door. According to my calculations, I'd need just over 1/4" of space and so I rounded up to 3/8".

Well, that used the very big assumption that the door would like perfectly flat on the hinge side, and that simply isn't the case. Even though the hinges are mortise in both the door and jamb, there was still enough play to give a 1/16" to 1/8" gap between the door and jamb when closed. That extra gap completely invalidated my earlier measurements and meant that I'd need more space on the latch side.

So... I needed to remove the latch side of the frame. This did mean pulling out the old reciprocating saw (thought I was done with that!) since I had nailed that side of the frame in rather than screw it. Handily, since I did screw the frame together, I was able to unscrew the side from the top:



That was mostly lucky that the screws were far enough on the outside that I could get to them on each side of the wall. The far screw was actually in the space between my two walls and so I was able to get it out with a right-angle drill extension.

I then re-attached the latch jamb backwards -- with the rabbet on the outside. That gave me an extra 3/8" to work with and that was just the amount of space I needed. A few shims along the length of it to keep a consistent reveal on the door and it finally closed!



Hardware

Now on to the hardware. I have some door hardware jigs but they are all unusable this time around, since they assume a maximum of 1-3/4" doors and mine is 3". So I had to do all the measurements and drilling by hand, and hope I was accurate.

The first question I had to answer was if I wanted the hole at 2-3/4" or 2-3/8", since the door instructions said I could use either. I arbitrarily chose 2-3/4" since it might give me more flexibility space-wise in the future. It turns out that it's a darn good thing I chose that size since my door handle only works with that size! Emtek custom makes their handlesets and so they don't make them that flexible. I discovered well after the fact that I had explicitly selected 2-3/4" when I ordered the handle in the first place. Good thing I coincidently made the same decision when I drilled the hole else that would have been a massive pain to fix!!

Drilling the hole through two layers of MDF and one solid core door was notably easier than drilling through a fiberglass exterior door (the previous door I did). There's one exception. I could instantly tell when I hit the Green Glue layers. All forward progress stops; it starts smelling like something is burning; and the hole saw gets completely gummed up. I needed to drill for a couple of seconds, then pull out the bit and carefully scrape off all of the burnt gunk sticking to it. Eventually, it cut through. Want to see how Green Glue looks after it's installed and has been compressed between two layers for a few weeks?



Still very wet and sticky and still green, although the color isn't showing up in the picture.

Another 1" hole and then some free-hand work with a router and a chisel and I had a working handle!



Curiously, I must have chosen the wrong "hand" for the handles, since they ended up with the screws on the outside. That's not a huge deal, but I am going to investigate at some later date what it would take to reverse those. If it's not possible then I won't mind.

That done, I turned my attention to the latch side. That also took just a little bit of free-hand router work (to rough out the bulk) and some finish work with a chisel.



That also shows my temporary door stop, in place just so the door would stay shut when it's closed. And it does! Whoohoo!

Next Steps

Even though the door is installed and it latches closed, it's still not truly functional. For that to be the case, I'm going to need a full threshold; the other half of the jamb (for the outer wall); and decent weather stripping and stops in place. I started with one half of the threshold. It's glued to the floor:



Timing is going to be tricky. I'm going to have to install almost all of the rest of the bits all at once, so that I'm not left with a gaping hole for an extended period of time. The problem is that the jamb is going to stick out on the hall-side a good 1", to accommodate the two layers of 1/2" drywall that I'm going to install there (1/2" because I had some left-over from a previous project). That protruding jamb is going to prevent my current vinyl sheet and rigid foam insulation "door" from working, though. That means that the massive door will need to be truly air-tight at exactly the same time that the outer jamb goes in.

That's all going to be done next weekend, at the earliest. I have some family obligations this week that will keep me away from the theater at least until then.

Still, I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out so far!
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