Pennsylvania Limestone Farmhouse Renovations to an 1863 farmhouse built of limestone

July 5, 2010

Door and Trim Prelims

Filed under: Interior,trim — Duane Diefenbach @ 5:58 pm

Since I am waiting on floor finish to arrive before I can complete the upstairs yellow pine floors I decided to start working on trim. This begins with planing, cutting, sanding, and priming some white pine I have kiln dried (and any yellow poplar I have available). To hang doors I first have to install the door frame. Then I have to install the interior trim because we are using rimlocks for the door hardware. I bought some old doors ($10 each!)  from a couple  renovating a house in Beech Creek, PA (they were gutting the interior of a house that was built sometime around 1850-1860 — by my guess). Along with those doors came a series of rimlocks and cast iron hinges (cast hinges do not have removable pins). I have restored the locks and hinges. But using a rimlock means that on the interior side of the door frame the door is flush with the trim, which means the hinges are set into the trim (not the door frame like a standard pre-hung door).

The hard part of hanging a door in this manner is that, unlike a pre-hung door, you have to frame the door plumb and square and THEN you have to set your hinges exactly. Otherwise, the door binds or either self-closes or self-opens (depending on which way it’s out of plumb).  Fortunately, the old cast iron hinges tend to have a good bit of friction (so if just slightly out of plumb the door isn’t going to move by itself) and I think I have gained enough experience with hanging doors.

So door hanging #1 (of 7) has turned out ok.

The trim was another experiment in installation, dimensions, etc.  The old stone house has 5-1/4″ trim and 7-1/4″ baseboard. In the addition we are going with 4″ trim and 6″ baseboard. The old stone house simply has square pine stock used as trim (no moldings or other details). In the addition we are going to add a piece of trim with a cove routed out of it on top of the baseboard because we need someway to hide imperfections in the drywall (drywall is never a perfectly flat plane so any variation (gaps)between the baseboard and the wall are best hidden with a small piece of trim on top of the baseboard. Old homes with plaster walls didn’t have to worry about this because they installed the trim before they plastered the walls (no gaps to worry about!).

Also, mating the vertical and horizontal trim can be a challenge. So I am using what is called a sin strip wherever any horizontal trim sits on vertical trim. Here’s a close-up above the door I just hung (and take note of the beautiful 45° miter in the door stop!).

Ignore the strange colors because I had to change the brightness and contrast so you could see the difference between an antique white wall and the white primed trim. Anyway, the sin strip hides all sins of the carpenter. This little trick is thanks to my parent’s neighbor, Henry.

To make a sin strip I am using a jig made from an old hacksaw blade to cut a bead in a piece of wood

It would be a lot faster if I bought a router bit, but I don’t think you can buy a bit with this small of a roundover diameter. Once I cut the bead then I cut the strip off the board on the table saw.

I have lots of planing, cutting, sanding, priming, and beading to do!

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