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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Upgrade Your Interior Doors- Doorknob

Yesterday, I wrote about how to trim a door 'slab' to replace an old door and mortise the hinges. Now it's time to make the hole for the doorknob.

At my project, I was replacing original doors with new Masonite 6-panel doors. The homeowner wanted to use the same hardware including the doorknobs. If you're using new doorknobs they often come with detailed instructions, including a handy template to get the holes in the right spot. If you're reusing the existing hardware, here's how to do it:

1. Measure from the top of the door frame to the center of the door's latch on the side of the door, subtracting 1/8" for the gap at the top of the door. If you have the old door you can check this measurement to make sure that it is the same.

2. Go to the door slab and mark this measurement on the side. I like to use a combination square to make extend this mark across the side and a few inches on the front of the door. This line will be the center of our doorknob and latch.

3. Next, you'll need a 2 1/8" hole cutting bit. Mark the center of your doorknob 2 3/8" from the edge of the door on the line you made in step 2. These are standard doorknob measurements, but you might check your hardware to make sure it doesn't require anything different. Make your hole.

I like to cut half way from one side until the boring bit (in the middle) goes all the way through. Then finish the hole from the other side. This helps make sure that you are cutting at an angle as you make the hole.

4. Get a 1" hole cutting bit, often sold as a set with the 2 1/8" bit for installing locksets. Mark the center of the edge of the door on the same mark from step 2. This will be where the latch goes. Make the hole and be careful that to keep it straight.

5. The latch will need also need a mortise, or pocket, so that it will install flush with the edge of the door. For this I like to use a 1" wood chisel, because the mortise is 1" wide. Insert the latch and mark the edges with a pencil. Then, clean out the mortise to about 1/8" deep or so depending on the latch you're using.

6. Install your doorknob and try it out!

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