Old World tech – woodworking tools to fix an ill-fitting door


My Grandfather on my mother’s side was always working with wood. He made several items that I have acquired in our house today. Tables, a dry sink and a couple of other nicknacks. I always admired his skills and although I appreciate the art and skill – it was never a passion of mine to follow. However, that does not mean I don’t work with wood periodically just that I don’t create furniture. Once we got moved in there were a couple of simple tasks that needed to be done. All of the doors were painted (awesome) but did not close all the way. I am guessing maybe not placed back into the original location, but musical doors would be no fun.

I could feel my Grandfather tapping on my shoulder and saying you know what you need to do! I reached into my toolbox of old woodworking tools from him. In there was this old wood planer fit for the job.

*Keep in mind, this is a job YOU CAN do yourself if you can stand on a ladder. I encourage you to give it a try… you CAN do this!

For my doors, they were too tight at the top and that is what stopped them from closing. The process is pretty straight forward and is similar in nature if you have other section of your door that needs to be addressed.

  • Remove the door if needed or get a sturdy ladder to stand on.
  • If you are working on the top of the door (as in my situation) take a towel or pillow with some density to wedge against the wall. It will help support the door and keep it steady.
smooth and steady pressure when using a wood planer

Ok, now you are ready to start. Close the door and identify the specific area that needs to be trimmed and make a mental note. Most of the time, it is just one section of the door that needs to be addressed.
Lets get started!

  1. Start on a location that does not need to be planed. With a continuous motion, start to move the planer down the door toward the section that needs attention.

2. Once you get started planing, keep steady pressure moving the planer across the top of the door in long strokes. You will get resistance and have to start again – just stay at it and don’t let the tool dig into the door too much.

3. Once you shave off a layer or two, try to close the door and see how much progress you have made. It will take several passes to be patient and keep moving until completed.

This project took me about 15 minutes per door, so not too long and easier than taking the door down and shaving it with a table saw.

Using a wood planer on an ill fitting door.
Almost done using a wood planer on a door.

I hope this inspires you to take things into your own hands.

Until next time!

One Comment Add yours

  1. lulu says:

    P,a I gotta the tops of doors just happened here, but the hubby used an electric planer. It got the job done, but I like your sentimental tool better.

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