(Exterior) Finishing…., Oct. 8, 2015

I am not teaching any of you at the moment, but that does not mean that I do not have a few stories to tell for those interested.

I save these “stories” up waiting for an opportunity to share them – either with a group I am currently teaching or with you, kind readers of this blog.

This story is from this past summer, when I was visiting with my daughter and got asked to help hang a few screen doors on her home.


Of course, projects are never as easy as they first appear, and this one is no exception. The doors came off the rack and had to be fit to the existing openings of the doors in question. In this case it is not just a matter of cutting them to width and length….because they will be mounted on the exterior casings, I had to cut a rabbet in the edges and tops, and also bevel the bottom to the angle of the threshold.

The project was complicated by the fact that I only had hand tools to work with…no table saw, no miter saw….only a trimming router and a circular saw.

I decided that we would have to cut a kerf around the doors to define the rabbet and then remove the excess with the trimmer using a mortise or straight bit.

Here is the kerf:


How did I do that with only hand tools?  Well, necessity is the mother of invention, so I got inventive. I found a couple of clamps in the garage and after setting the circular saw for depth, I clamped a straight edge (read: scrap piece of wood) to the shoe of the saw:


This will allow me to cut straight and true kerfs down the side of the door. These photos are taken with the saw not running:



Once the kerfs were cut into the face of the three sides of the door, We were ready to set up the trimmer.


Here is a close up of the kerf:


I used a little Makita trimmer that is a workhorse of my carpentry practice.  This trimmer has a little guide that really makes it more versatile.


Here is the rabbet in progress:


And finished:


We then checked all the doors and did the final fit.  After that, paint, install hardware and put them on the house:


Con on in!!


I called this post “exterior” finish, because although the doors are for the exterior of the house, the techniques and skills used are the same for all sorts of finishing work. The idea is to find processes that work and that can be used in different situations to solve different problems!


About jhcarpentry

I am a teacher in the Construction Carpentry Program at the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre (CVCEC) for the New Frontiers School board. This blog is a way for me to connect with my students.
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4 Responses to (Exterior) Finishing…., Oct. 8, 2015

  1. marc robidoux says:

    Is the picture deceiving ,or does the screen door fit to soon. just wondering!! not judging.

    • jhcarpentry says:

      Not certain exactly what you mean, but it is true it looks a little awkward from the exterior view. There is an explanation: that door has a transom window on top and there is no division between the the door and the window, so my daughter elected to keep the screen door as high as possible until she changes the front door.
      Actually, it is not the photo I would have chosen, but she took the final installed shots and sent them to me, so I had to use them and not ones I would have taken!!
      Pretty observant of you….you must have had a great teacher!!

  2. marc robidoux says:

    Ok I see the plan now, and yes, I had top notch teachers, this is why I stay in touch with the blog because we never stop learning.

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