Woodworking, especially finish carpentry, is one of the most visible of the builder’s trades. Quality woodworking shows in the installation of trim, casing, and molding and in cabinets and built-in furniture.
When you have completed this course, you will be able to do the following:
Rough openings for interior doors are usually framed to be 3 inches higher than the door height and 2 1/2 inches wider than the door width. This provides for placing, plumbing, and leveling the frame in the opening. Interior doorframes are made up of two side jambs, a head jamb, and the stop moldings on which the door closes. The most common of these jambs is the one piece type shown in Figure 1, view A. Jambs can be obtained in standard 5 1/4 inch widths for plaster walls and 4 5/8 inch widths for walls with 1/2 inch drywall finish. The two and three piece adjustable jambs, shown in views B and C, are also standard types. Their principal advantage is being adaptable to a variety of wall thicknesses.
Figure 1 – Interior door framing parts.
Some manufacturers produce interior doorframes with the doors fitted and prehung, ready for installing. Installation of the casing completes the job. When used with two or three piece jambs, casings can even be installed at the factory. Common minimum widths for single interior doors are as follows:
These sizes vary a great deal, and sliding doors, folding door units, and similar types, often used for wardrobes, may be 6 feet wide or more. In most cases, the jamb stop and casing parts are used in some manner to frame and finish the opening.
Casing is the edge trim around interior door openings and is also used to finish the room side of windows and exterior doorframes. Casing usually varies in widths from 2 1/4 to 3 1/2 inches, depending on the style. Casing is available in thicknesses from 1/2 to 3/4 inch, although 11/1 6 inch is standard in many of the narrow line patterns. A common casing pattern is shown in Figure 1, view D.
Interior doors come in two general types, flush and panel. Flush interior doors usually have a hollow core of light framework and are faced with thin plywood or hardboard, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 – Hollow-core construction of flush doors.
Plywood faced flush doors, as shown in Figure 3, View A, are available in gum, birch, oak, mahogany, and several other wood species, most of which are suitable for natural finish. Nonselected grades are usually painted as hardboard-faced doors. The panel door consists of solid stiles or vertical side members, rails or cross pieces, and panels of various types. The five cross panel and the colonial type panel doors are perhaps the most common of this style, shown in Figure 3, Views B and C. The louvered door shown in View D is also popular and is commonly used for closets because it provides some ventilation. Large openings for wardrobes are finished with sliding or folding do
Figure 3 – Interior door types.
Hinged doors should open or swing in the direction of natural entry, against a blank wall whenever possible. They should not be obstructed by other swinging doors. Doors should never be hinged to swing into a hallway.
When the frame and doors are not assembled and prefitted, fabricate the side jambs by nailing through the dado into the head jamb with three 7d or 8d coated nails, as shown in Figure 1, View A. Then fasten the assembled frames in the rough openings by using shingle wedges between the side jamb and the stud, as shown in Figure 4, View A. Plumb and level one jamb using four or five sets of shingle wedges for the height of the frame. Use two 8d finishing nails at each wedged area once driven so that the doorstop covers it. Then fasten the opposite side jamb in place with shingle wedges and finishing nails, using the first jamb as a guide in keeping a uniform width.
Figure 4 – Doorframe and trim.
Do not nail casings to both the jamb and the framing members. Allow about a 3/16 inch edge distance from the face of the jamb. Use 6d or 7d finish or casing nails, depending on the thickness of the casing. To nail into the stud, use 4d or 5d finish nails or 1 1/2 inch brads to fasten the trimmer edge of the casing to the jamb. For hardwood casing, it is advisable to predrill to prevent splitting. Locate nails in the casing in pairs and space them about 16 inches apart along the full height of the opening at the head jamb.
Casing with any form of molded shape must have a mitered joint at the comers as shown in Figure 4, View B. When casing is square edged, make a butt joint at the junction of the side and head casing as shown in Figure 4, View C. If the moisture content of the casing material is high, a mitered joint may open slightly at the outer edge as the material dries. Minimize this by using a small glued spline at the corner of the mitered joint. Use of a spline joint under any moisture condition is good practice, and some pre-fitted jamb, door, and casing units are provided with splined joints. Nailing into the joint after drilling helps retain a close fit.
The door opening is now complete except for fitting and securing the hardware and nailing the stops in the proper position. Interior doors are normally hung with two 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch loose pin butt hinges. Fit the door into the opening with the clearances shown in Figure 5. The clearance and location of hinges, lockset, and doorknob may vary somewhat, but the ones in Figure 5 are generally accepted by craftsmen and conform to most millwork standards. Bevel the edge of the lock stile slightly to permit the door to clear the jamb when swung open. If the door is to swing across heavy carpeting, the bottom clearance may need to be slightly more than what is shown.
Figure 5 – Door clearances.
When fitting doors, temporarily nail the stop in place; you will nail the stop in permanently when you hang the door. Stops for doors in single piece jambs are generally 7/16 inch thick and may be 3/4 inch to 2 1/4 inches wide. Install them with a mitered joint at the junction of the side and head jambs. A 45° bevel cut at the bottom of the stop, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches above the finish floor, eliminates a dirt pocket and makes cleaning or refinishing of the floor easier. Some manufacturers supply prefitted doorjambs and doors with the hinge slots routed and ready for installation. A similar door buck or jamb of sheet metal with formed stops and casing is also available.
Hardware for doors is available in a number of finishes, with brass, bronze, and nickel being the most common. Door sets are usually classified as follows:
Doors should be hinged so that they open in the direction of natural entry. They should also swing against a blank wall whenever possible and never into a hallway. The door swing directions and sizes are usually shown on the working drawings. The hand of the door is the expression used to describe the direction in which a door is to swing, normal or reverse, and the side from which it is to hang, left or right. These options are shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6 – Hands of doors
When you order hardware for a door, be sure to specify whether it is a left-hand door, a right-hand door, a left-hand reverse door, or a right-hand reverse door.
Use three hinges for hanging 1 3/4 inch exterior doors and two hinges for the lighter interior doors. The difference in exposure on the opposite sides of exterior doors causes a tendency to warp during the winter. Using three hinges reduces this tendency. Three hinges are also useful on doors that lead to unheated attics and for wider and heavier doors that may be used within the structure. If a third hinge is required, center it between the top and bottom hinges.
Use loose pin butt hinges and be sure they are the proper size for the door they support. For 1 3/4 inch thick doors, use 4 by 4 inch butts; for 1 3/8 inch doors, use 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch butts. After fitting the door to the tied opening with the proper clearances, fit the hinge halves to the door. Route them into the door edge with about a 3/16 inch back distance, as shown in Figure 7. One hinge half should be set flush with the surface and must be fastened square with the edge of the door. Screws are included with each pair of hinges.
Figure 7 – Installation of door hinge.
Now place the door in the opening and block it up at the bottom for proper clearance. Mark the jamb at the hinge locations, and half route and fasten the remaining hinge in place. Then position the door in the opening and slip the pins in place. If you have installed the hinges correctly and the jambs are plumb, the door will swing freely.
The types of door locks differ in installation method, cost, and the amount of labor required to set them. Some types, such as mortise locks, combination dead bolts, and latch locksets, require drilling of the edge and face of the door and then routing of the edge to accommodate the lockset and faceplate, as shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8 – Installation of lockset and faceplate
The bored lockset shown in Figure 9 is easy to install since it requires only one hole drilled in the edge and one in the face of the door. Boring jigs and faceplate markers are available to ensure accurate installation. Install the lock so that the doorknob is 36 to 38 inches above the floor line. Most sets come with paper templates, marking the location of the lock and size of the holes to be drilled. Recheck your layout measurements before drilling any holes. The parts of an ordinary cylinder lock for a door are shown in Figure 10.
Figure 9 – Installation of bored lockset.
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully.
Figure 10 – Parts of a cylinder lock.
The procedure for installing a lock of this type is as follows:
Figure 11 – Drill template for locksets.
The strike plate, which is routed into the doorjamb, holds the door in place by contact with the latch. To install, mark the location of the latch on the doorjamb and locate the position of the strike plate by outlining it. Route out the marked outline with a chisel and also rout for the latch as shown in Figure 12. The strike plate should be flush with or slightly below the face of the doorjamb. When the door is latched, its face should be flush with the edge of the jamb.
Figure 12 –Strike plate details.
You may now permanently nail in the stops that have been temporarily set during the fitting of the door and the hardware. Use finish nails or brads, 1 1/2 inches long. The stop at the lock side shown in Figure 13 should be nailed first, setting it tightly against the door face when the door is latched. Space the nails in pairs 16 inches apart.
Figure 13 – Door stop details.
Nail the stop behind the hinge side next, with a 1/32 inch clearance from the door face allowed to prevent scraping as the door is opened. Then nail the head jamb stop in place. Remember that painting the door and trim will take up some of the clearance.
The items of commercial and industrial door hardware shown in Figure 14 are usually installed in commercial or industrial buildings, not residential housing. These items are used in new construction or in alterations or repairs of existing facilities. Most of these items are made for use on metal doors, but some are made for wood doors.
Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
Figure 14 – Commercial hardware.
Recommended door hardware locations for standard steel doors are shown in Figure 15. Standard 7 foot doors are normally used in commercial construction.
Figure 15 – Location of hardware for steel doors.
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The casing around the window frames on the interior of a structure should have the same pattern as that used around the interior doorframes. Other trim used for a double hung window frame includes the sash stops, stool, and apron, shown in Figure 16, view A. Another method of using trim around windows has the entire opening enclosed with casing, as shown in Figure 16, view B. The stool serves as a filler trim member between the bottom sash rail and the bottom casing.
Figure 16 – Installation of window trim.
The stool is the horizontal trim member that laps the windowsill and extends beyond the casing at the sides, with each end notched against the plastered wall. The apron serves as a finish member below the stool. The window stool is the first piece of window trim to install and is notched and fitted against the edge of the jamb and plaster line, with the outside edge flush against the bottom rail of the window sash. Blind nail the stool at the ends so that the casing and the stop cover the nailheads. Predrilling is usually necessary to prevent splitting. Also, nail the stool at the midpoint of the sill and to the apron with finishing nails. You may sometimes substitute or supplement face with toenailing of the outer edge to the sill.
Install and nail the window casing as described for doorframes, shown in Figure 4, View A, except for the inner edge. This edge should be flush with the inner face of the jambs so that the stop covers the joint between the jamb and casing. Then nail the window stops to the jambs so that the window sash slides smoothly. Channel type weather stripping often includes full width metal subjambs into which the upper and lower sash slide, replacing the parting strip. Stops are located against these instead of the sash to provide a small amount of pressure. Cut the apron to a length equal to the outer width of the casing line as shown in Figure 16, View A. Nail it to the windowsill and to the 2 by 4 inch framing sill below.
When you use casing to finish the bottom, sides, and top of the window frame, the narrow stool butts against the side window jamb. Miter the casing at the bottom comers as shown in Figure 16, View B, and nail it as previously described.
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Base molding serves as a finish between the finished wall and floor. It is available in several widths and forms. Two piece base consists of a baseboard topped with a small base cap, as shown in Figure 17, View A. When plaster is not straight and true, the small base molding will conform more closely to the variations than will the wider base alone. A common size for this type of baseboard is 5/8 inch by 3 1/4 inches or wider. One piece base varies in size from 7/16 inch by 2 1/4 inches to 1/2 inch by 3 1/4 inches and wider as shown in Figure 17, Views B and C. Although a baseboard is desirable at the junction of the wall and carpeting to serve as a protective bumper, wood trim is sometimes eliminated entirely.
Figure 17 – Base moldings.
A single base molding without the shoe is sometimes placed at the wall and floor junction Most baseboards are finished with a 1/2 by 3/4 inch base shoe, as shown in Figure 17, View A, especially where carpeting might be used.
Install square edged baseboard with a butt joint at the inside comers and a mitered joint at the outside comers, as shown in Figure 17, View D. Nail it to each stud with two 8d finishing nails. Molded single piece base, base moldings, and base shoe should have a coped joint at the inside corners and a mitered joint at the outside corners. In a coped joint, square cut the first piece against the plaster or base and cope the second piece of molding. Do this by sawing a 45° miter cut and using a coping saw to trim the molding along the inner line of the miter, as shown in Figure 17, View E.
Nail the base shoe into the baseboard itself. Then, if there is a small amount of shrinkage of the joists, no opening will occur under the shoe.
To butt, join a piece of baseboard to another piece already in place at an inside corner; set the piece to be joined in position on the floor; bring the end against or near the face of the other piece, and take off the line of the face with a scriber as shown in Figure 18. Use the same procedure when butting ends of the baseboard against the side casings of the doors.
Figure 18 – Butt joining baseboard at inside corners.
For miter joining at an outside comer, proceed as shown in Figure 19.
Figure 19 – Miter joining at inside corners.
The most economical, and sometimes the quickest, method of installing baseboard is to use vinyl. In addition to its flexibility, it comes with premolded inside and outside corners.
When installing vinyl base, follow the manufacturer’s recommended installation procedures for both the base and the adhesive.
Ceiling moldings as shown in Figure 20 are sometimes used at the junction of the wall and ceiling for an architectural effect or to terminate drywall paneling of gypsum board or wood. As with base moldings, inside corners should be cope jointed as shown in Figure 20, View A. This ensures a tight joint and retains a good fit if there are minor moisture changes.
A cutback edge at the outside of the molding as shown in View B partially conceals any unevenness of the plaster and makes painting easier where there are color changes. For gypsum drywall construction, a small, simple molding as shown in View C might be desirable. Drive finish nails into the upper wall plates and also into the ceiling joists for large molding when possible.
Figure 20 – Ceiling moldings.
The decorative treatment for interior doors, trim, and other millwork may be painted or given a natural finish with stain, varnish, or other nonpigmented material. The paint or natural finish desired for the woodwork in various rooms often determines the species of wood to be used.
Interior finish to be painted should be smooth, close grained, and free from pitch streaks. Species meeting these requirements include ponderosa pine, northern white pine, redwood, and spruce. Birch, gum, and yellow poplar are recommended for their hardness and resistance to hard usage. Ash, birch, cherry, maple, oak, and walnut provide a beautiful natural finish decorative treatment. Some require staining to improve appearance.
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As a general term, millwork usually includes most wood products and components that require manufacturing. It not only includes the interior trim and doors, but also kitchen cabinets and similar units. Most of these units are produced in a millwork manufacturing plant and are ready to install. Figure 21 shows an example of the dimensions you might be working with.
Figure 21 – Typical dimensions for cabinetwork.
Cabinets in Place A common way to build cabinets, such as those shown in Figure 22, is to cut the
Figure 22 – Typical kitchen cabinets: wall (view A) and base (view B).
Figure 23 – Typical frame construction of a cabinet.
pieces shown in Figure 23 and assemble them in place. Think of building in place cabinets as four steps:
Wall units are made using the same basic steps as the base units. You should make your layout lines directly on the ceiling and wall. Nail the mounting strips through the wall into the studs. At the inside corners, end panels can be attached directly to the wall. Remember to make your measurements for both base and wall units carefully, especially for openings for built-in appliances. Refer frequently to your drawings and specifications to ensure accuracy.
Shelves are an integral part of cabinetmaking, especially for wall units. Cutting dadoes into cabinet walls to fit in shelves may actually strengthen the cabinet shown in Figure 24.
Figure 24 – End panels of a wall cabinet in place (view A) and completed framing with facing partially applied (view B).
Place shelving supports for 3/4 inch shelves no more than 42 inches apart. Shelves designed to hold heavy loads should have closer supports. To improve the appearance of plywood shelving, cover the laminated edge with a strip of wood that matches the stock used for the cabinet.
After completing the frame construction and shelving, apply finished facing strips to the front of the cabinet frame. These strips are sometimes assembled into a framework, called a faceplate or face frame, by commercial sources before they are attached to the basic cabinet structure. The vertical members of the facing are called stiles, and the horizontal members are known as rails.
As for built in place cabinets, cut each piece and install it separately. Lay out the size of each piece by positioning the facing stock on the cabinet and marking it. Then make the finished cuts. Use a cut piece to lay out duplicate pieces.
Cabinet stiles are generally attached first, and then the rails, as shown in Figure11- 25. Sometimes a Builder will attach a plumb end stile first, and then attach rails to determine the position of the next stile. Use finishing nails and glue to install facing. When nailing hardwoods, drill nail holes where you think splitting might occur.
Figure 25 - Facing being placed on a cabinet.
Builders use many methods of building drawers. The most common are the multiple dovetail, lock shouldered, and square shouldered methods shown in Figure 26.
Figure 26 – Three common types of joints used in drawer construction.
Several types of drawer guides are available. The three most commonly used are the side guide, the corner guide, and the center guide, shown in Figure 27.
Figure 27 – Types of drawer guides.
Figure 28 – Types of drawer faces.
The two general types of drawer faces are the lip and flush faces shown in Figure 28. A flush drawer must be carefully fitted. A lip drawer must have a rabbet along the top and sides of the front. The lip style overlaps the opening and is much easier to construct.
The four types of doors commonly used on cabinets are flush, lipped, overlay, and sliding doors. A flush door, like the flush drawer, is the most difficult to construct. For a finished look, each type of door must be fitted in the cabinet opening within 1/16 inch clearance around all four edges. A lipped door is simpler to install than a flush door since the lip, or overlap, feature allows a certain amount of adjustment and greater tolerances. Form the lip by cutting a rabbet along the edge.
Overlay doors are designed to cover the edges of the face frame. Several types of sliding doors are used on cabinets. One type of sliding door is rabbeted to fit into grooves at the top and bottom of the cabinet. The top groove is always made to allow the door to be removed by lifting it up and pulling the bottom out.
To install premade cabinets, begin with either the wall or the base cabinets. The general procedures for each are similar.
First When making layouts and locating wall studs, lift the wall units into position. Hold them with a padded T brace that allows you to stand close to the wall while making the installation. After securely attaching and checking the wall cabinets, move the base cabinets into place and then level and secure them.
First When base cabinets are installed first, the tops of the base cabinets can be used to support braces that hold the wall units in place while they are fastened to the wall.
The following procedures are a simple way of installing premade cabinets:
Here are some helpful hints for the general construction of cabinets:
In cabinetwork, the counters and tops are covered with a 1/16 inch layer of high pressure plastic laminate. Although this material is very hard, it does not possess great strength and is serviceable only when it is bonded to plywood, particle board, or wafer wood. This base, or core material, must be smooth and is usually 3/4 inch thick.
Plastic laminates can be cut to rough size with a table saw, portable saw, or saber saw. Use a fine tooth blade, and support the material close to the cut. If no electrical power is available, use a finish handsaw or a hacksaw. When you cut laminates with a saw, place masking tape over the cutting area to help prevent chipping the laminate. Make cut markings on the masking tape.
Measure and cut a piece of laminate to the desired size. Allow at least 1/4 inch extra to project past the edge of the countertop surface. Mix and apply the contact bond cement to the underside of the laminate and to the topside of the countertop surface.
Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended directions for application.
Allow the contact bond cement to set or dry. To check for bonding, press a piece of waxed brown paper on the cement coated surface. When no adhesive residue shows, it is ready to be bonded. Be sure to lay a full sheet of waxed brown paper across the countertop. This allows you to adjust the laminate into the desired position without permanent bonding. Now, you can gradually slide the paper out from under the laminate, and the laminate becomes bonded to the countertop surface. Be sure to roll the laminate flat by hand, removing any air bubbles and getting a good firm bond. After sealing the laminate to the countertop surface, trim the edges by using either a router with a special guide or a small block plane. If you want to bevel the countertop edge, use a mill file.
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Finish carpentry is undertaken after rough carpentry is completed. Doorframing applies to the interior side of exterior walls and for both sides of interior door. Installing hardware for doors is part of finishing doors. Window casing is similar to doorframing, and is applied to the interior of all windows. Moldings at the ceiling and floor, as well as other decorative treatments are part of finish carpentry. Installing millwork, including cabinets and tops, is also part of finish carpentry. You can expect to study each of these features in this handbook.
1. Rough openings for interior doors are usually framed how much (a) higher and (b) wider than the finished door size?
2. What is the proper name for the edge trim around an interior door opening?
3. Why are louvered doors the most suitable for use on closets?
4. How should hinged doors swing or open?
5. When plumbing and leveling a door frame, which of the following materials should you use?
6. What edge distance allowance is made when the casing is nailed to the jamb?
7. What should you do to a mitered casing joint to reduce the chance of its opening up as the casing material dries?
8. What size loose pin butt hinge should you use for a door 1 3/8 inches thick?
9. A doorknob should be installed at what standard height?
10. To prevent scraping as a door is opened, what clearance is allowed for the doorstop on the hinge side of the door?
11. Which of the following devices holds the door in place by contact with the latch?
12. Which of the following members is NOT trim for a double hung window?
13. What should be the first inside window trim member to be installed?
14. Name the small strip molding used on the upper edge of a two piece baseboard.
15. Name the trim molding added to the baseboard at the floor and wall junction.
16. What type of joint should be used at inside corners of ceiling moldings?
17. When you build cabinets in place, what step follows installation of the base?
18. You can increase the strength of a set of cabinets by using what type of joint for the shelves?
19. When you use 3/4 inch material for shelves, what should be the maximum distance between shelf supports?
20. Which of the following drawer fronts, if any, is the easiest to construct?
21. Which of the following cabinet door types is designed to cover the edge of the face frame?
22. What is the first thing you should do when installing premade cabinets base-first?
23. Which of the following fasteners should you use to hang cabinets on a wall?
24. When installing laminated counter tops, you should use base material that has which of the following characteristics?
25. When cutting a piece of laminate, you should cut it at least 1/4 inch larger than the desired size.
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Copyright David L Heiserman
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