Finish carpentry is one of many projects more and more home owners are doing on their own. A few reasons for this would be because of the economy and lack of money, or because of the amense availability of finish carpentry and home improvement information that is accessible. Sometimes even with all the information through books, videos, or the web people still have trouble figuring out and calculating tough angles and precision with finish carpentry. More reasons for this is because it is a type of craft that requires actually doing it and learning the different variables and problems involved with finish carpentry. For example, hanging doors, shimming, leveling, or just every time a stick of trim wood goes up and having to adjust complex angles. Some of the most common problems may include crooked framing, crooked floors, crooked walls, or maybe even something like extra wide jambs. Here I am going to give some advice and tips to help explain some of these variables and problems you might encounter while doing your own finish carpentry.
Trimming doors or windows
One common problem when installing the casing trim to the door or window, is the jamb does not come out flush to the sheetrock of the interior wall. This is particularly true in many older homes where horse-hair plaster can be found . One way to fix this problem, is by grabbing your hammer and hammering down the horse-hair plaster or sheet rock until it’s flush with the jamb. And another way is by adding furring strips to your door or window to increase the width of the jamb.
When Hanging Doors
I’ve found that instead of first hanging the door without trim, it’s best to install casing trim on one side makes installation much faster and easier in most cases. This of course does not hold true every time but for the most part it does. Be sure to case the side which goes to the inside of the room. To make it even quicker some times you can order or buy these doors precased on one side straight from the factory, store or lumber yard.
When trimming windows for the first time
Trimming out windows does take a little patients and practice so take your time with the miter cuts. Pay close attention to your reveals, you want the trim to be close to uniform as possible but, if you do need to adjust it a little bit to tighten up a miter that is okay as long as its just a small adjustment. The reveal is not as eye catching as seeing a wide open loose miter cut –so take your time. Have a look at some of your friends and families finish carpentry, you will see a wide variety and quality of work. However, some of the quality finish work looks really nice, and some is so bad you wonder how anyone in their right mind let it pass. I can almost be certain that your finish carpentry won’t be absolutely perfect every time so know your tolerances and what your expectations are that you will except from yourself. A good trimmer (finish carpenter) knows his tolerances well.
When Using hardwoods
When using hardwoods such as Maple or oak, try your best to stay away from the knots when nailing. If you shoot a nail close to the knot, you risk splitting the wood, and don’t nail directly into the knot otherwise good luck getting the nail out. Don’t fret if you happen to shoot a nail near a knot and the wood splits, in that case you can and in most cases fill it with wood filler.
Closely Match your Wood
For example, let’s say your working with oak. The color and wood grains in oak can vary quite a bit, so try to plan ahead of time by matching your wood to the project in hand to have a better finish look. For pieces of oak that don’t match quite well, try to use them in a less conspicuous place, such a closet or linen closet. This applies to any kind of project involving wood, not just oak.
When Taking Measurements
I find that in finish carpentry, it’s best to cut your piece of window or door trim to rough lengths, followed by marking with a pencil the area in which you intend to cut. In doing so, will give you precise and more accurate cut and having to less rely on the measuring tape.
I hope my tips on finish carpentry can help you along the way to completing your home improvement project. Just remember, take your time and dry fit everything to see how it fits before you nail it together.