Hanging Doors


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Established Member
21 Sep 2022
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Hi All,
I have 4 internal oak laminate doors that need hanging 2 with furniture on and 2 new, I'm tired of having joiners either not getting back or wanting what I think is silly money, the last that did wanted £400 to do it, I have watched a few videos and want to have a go myself, I'm not fussed if it isn't perfect. I did help my dad hang our front door on another house about 17 years ago and that went ok, so my question is do I go old school and use chisels or hand router (never used one before only chisels), my old chisels are done for so if that route can anyone recommend a chisel set and I'm assuming a mallet or use a hammer? or a router and how to use?, I have a plunge saw for trimming the top or bottom. I have a Ryobi planer but I think the blade is shot so would nee another or hand plane, any recommendations please.
There is a history with these doors and casings that started with covid, my local timber yard gave me a "door hangers business card, we asked him could he install casings and he said yes (for £1700 5 casings and 7 doors), short story is he installed casings at different heights, only fitted them with 4 single screws down each side and made a mess of the sides of the doors with an electric plane including "facing" one the wrong way, I had to then pay another £350 for the 2 new doors and a further £400 for a joiner to fit the casings properly however he does not seem to want to finish it so I had to attach the architrave myself, at this point I've had enough.
I also have a kitchen that will need fitting come spring but that's a story for another day, I don't mind paying for a properly done job but everyone wants in, do a dung job and get out and charge as much as possible.

Any help again would be appreciated

Sounds like a complete disaster and has left you worse off , you’re going to struggle with the tools you describe and the cost to replace is going to add to an already expensive day out . You probably need a hand with this work as it again will be expensive if you make a mistake. Where about are you located.
Hi Bingy man, I'm in sunny Wigan, to be honest we had lots of problems, electrician left a live wire sticking out of floor when he left, that went pop when I cut it thinking it was an old dead piece plus Ive had too re clip and fix most of his cables flat and un twist them, back boxes were all loose, plasterer tried to screw us on money at the last second by doubling his price, roofer had to come back 3 times to sort roof faults out after a new roof was put on, so yes we have had enough of "tradesmen" really.
On the plus side plumber was great sorted some loose joists while under the floor void were packing had come out and insulated the pipes, did a great job, we have him back to service the boiler every year, a really honest bloke, wife works at screwfix and always gives a personal recommendation to those who need a plumber.

This is the video that Ive watched regarding a router.

I had a similar problem and when you compare the cost of getting it done to buying a hinge and lock jigs then for a few doors it is worth it and then re-sell the jigs. You will need a big router to sink the latch in to depth but with the tools & jigs door hanging is simple.
The jig I use is the Trend Hinge jig which makes, making the hinge mortices easy to position on the door and frame using just a small 1/4 router and bush.

I use the trend lock jig to make the hole for the latch but to get the depth you need a big 1/2 router to get down 70 mm. A 1/4 router will recess the face plate of the latch. A problem I had was the latch had a radiused face and the cover plate was square so needed additional plate to accomodate.

I would say although not a cheap outlay they easily sell secondhand because I could not find any for sale.
Sounds like you have had a bit of a rough ride getting things done in your house which is shame , there are lots of excellent trades people out there who take great pride in their work, unfortunately there are also there are also a number of rouges that will given the opportunity bodge it and scarper with your hard earned cash. Fitting your own doors is not really that difficult if you take your time and are OK using the tools needed to do the job. A router and jigs(as Spectric says you can sell the jigs when done with them) while not cheap can make life easier and quicker, but be aware that a router can do a lot of damage in the blink of an eye if you get it wrong . You can just use chisels and careful marking out to cut the recesses for the hinges and a drill with a spade bit to take out the bulk of the material for the latch ,then clean up with a chisel. All the doors in my house were done without using a router or jigs,just takes longer to do it that way.
I think thats why I used my smaller 1/4 Bosch 600 for the hinge mortices, a lighter more compact router that is easily controlled compared to using a big heavy 1/2 dewalt 625 for such small mortices.
@MARK.B. nailed it, first step is to get your chisels in order & stick with hand tools, & maybe a drill/driver, simple works, plus you will up skill in their use.

wanting what I think is silly money,
Be interesting to hear back as to how long it takes you to hang them, and how much you spend on kit to do it.
I just did some myself with a router and chisels. I had bought heavy solid core doors so a huge faff, and the frames I was fitting into were so far from straight it made it a pain.

If either of those two issues don't exist, you'll be fine. :)
The jig I use is the Trend Hinge jig which makes, making the hinge mortices easy to position on the door and frame using just a small 1/4 router and bush.

For four doors, maybe he can look at the Bradshaw Joinery jig. About 20p in MDF and superglue. Double sided tape to hold the jig in place.

Make a jig on similar principles for the latch recess. For the mortise, one of these (£23) is very good (you extend the legs below the base and it self-centres on the door).

Axminster Workshop Drill Guide

Only disadvantage is it needs a mains drill.

Katsu router £50, Trend top bearing cutter circa £17 from Screwfix.
Thanks all for the advice, HOJ, I will let you know. I may just buy a cheap £20 hollow door and practice on that first, I look at it this way if I'm being asked for £400 to do it then I will happily buy £200 worth of tools or less to do the job myself, if I never use the tools again I'm not bothered, but I will have the satisfaction that I did it myself, I will go nice and slow even if its one door a weekend, fingers crossed.

Thanks all for the advice, HOJ, I will let you know. I may just buy a cheap £20 hollow door and practice on that first, I look at it this way if I'm being asked for £400 to do it then I will happily buy £200 worth of tools or less to do the job myself, if I never use the tools again I'm not bothered, but I will have the satisfaction that I did it myself, I will go nice and slow even if its one door a weekend, fingers crossed.

Send you a pm 👍👍
I wouldn't want to put you off but try one first. one really good tip is to use jigtech ironmongery from howdens et al. then you have to just hang the doors. these things are pretty heavy and I don't charge much less than your guy for that reason. its a task I try and avoid after a bout of tennis elbow. there are frames and there are " frames" if you can adjust the frames abit while the doors are hanging it helps correct cross legged frames.
the hinges go on the door normally these are best routered in using a palm router and the corners chopped in with sharp chisel.
I look at it this way if I'm being asked for £400 to do it then I will happily buy £200 worth of tools or less to do the job myself
and as we know decent tools deliver a decent job without the uncertaintity of getting it wrong. I have seen people use a chiesel to mortice the hinge recesses to give a perfect job but they have been doing it for a long time and make it look simple, using a jig and router delivers the same job without needing the practice.
It's very easy with hand tools the trad way, once you've sorted out the method. Worth getting into it if you are going to do more than one or two in your life.
Can't see the point of a router, and it wouldn't solve most of the door hanging problems you are likely to encounter.
Top tip - door hanging secret weapons: 1. two bradawls. You hang the door off one whilst you align it with the other and fiddle about with screws etc. 2. A handful of big wedges to help align it especially when trying to fit it to the hole - the first thing you have to do before hinges etc.
To give yourself a fighting chance.....

Start by checking your levels are in fact level in all bubbles and your square / squares are truly square.
Get each level and place it against a flat surface ( horizontal and vertical need to be checked )
Look carefully at the bubble placement, then rotate the level round 180°, keeping the vial in the same location ( i.e dont spin it end to end, just rotate it ) then recheck the bubble carefully. If the bubble is in a different location, its not level.

Put your square against a properly flat edge, mark along the square. Spin the square over 180° and hold it against your line. If they dont line up properly, it isnt square.

Now the linings.... start on the hanging side. Check it for level.... i mean really check it. Take in any bow in the frame, look across it's face from one edge to the other from top to bottom to check it isnt twisting. If its good, check the head for level and hold your square against it for good measure. If its out, make a note of how much and which way. I.e if it rises towards the latch side, you need to allow for trimming that when you mark your hinges.

Now measure the width, top, middle and bottom. If its equal and the latch side isnt twisting etc, you need to bone the lining.
No, i dont mean rub yourself against it 🤣
Stand offset to the lining so you can eye through the leading edge of one side to the back edge of the other ( like in my photo, excuse the mess )
This shows if the door is likely to sit flush along the closing edge of the latch side, or if it'll stick out top or bottom.

Hopefully now you know what the lining is like and what needs trimming.

Assuming youve made any relevant allowance on the head if its out of level, next you mark your hinges.
Normally we measure 6" down from the top of the door and 9"up from bottom and i centre any middle hinges between the other 2.
If your linings already have hinge recesses, match those on your door. If not, cut the door ones, check your measures, then transfer to the lining, adding 3mm gap at the top. I.e a 150mm hinge position on door means 153mm down from head of lining.
Cut them out. Mark the screw holes and predrill 1 screw hole in each hinge. Try it for size, fixing off the first screw in each hinge. It worked? Great, drill out the other screw positions and fix it off. If not, at least you only have 1 hole in the wrong place on each hinge and not all 4!

I have lots of wedges around and i usually put a pair of wedges under each side of the door and lift the door to height using the wedges, so you aren't fighting to align a door and screw it home at the same time.

Packers are fab for aligning too.


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I can recommend making a pair of door wedge holders like this too, it will make it 10x easier to work on the edges, with either a hand plane, chisel or power router.


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Id just use a flat bit to drill out the latch mortice, then either chisel or router to recess the plate. If you choose a 1/4" router over the chisels, practice on some scrap timber of a similar width as door, to see how it feels as you move closer to the edges Etc
Once the latch is in, move the door until the latch is up against the lining and mark the top and bottom of the latch onto your lining. Square the marks across the face about an inch, so you know for sure the reciever will be in the right location for height. Measure the back of latch to edge of door, because this is the measurement from edge of lining to edge of reciever hole. Now you have the depth marked, draw around the plate and set it in. ( dont close the door unless youve fitted the handles ) Once it works, you can move onto the stops.

Theres more i could write but its time for a cuppa.

Good luck 👍

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