Hanging doors gets a little easier
Some days I hate my job.
Have you ever walked on a job and faced a pile of 150 solid core 3/0 x 8/0 doors? And they’re on the first floor? And there’s four floors? And no elevator? I have. All the time.
Man, there are days when all I do is install hinges on doors.
There are days when all I do is wheel doors down hallways.
There are days when all I do is carry doors upstairs—a lot of stairs.
Nothing is much harder than working day in and day out with doors that weigh as much or more than you do. Which is why I’m always on the lookout for tools that make the job easier, like door dollies. Look for a story on those soon (if I can get my uncle Gary to take the pictures!).
Not long ago, I found a really cool tool—the DoorJack. It’s smaller than the prybar everyone on my crew used to carry. Look at Larry Rose (Mr. Clean, we call him), stepping on his two-foot prybar! Try and get THAT in your tool belt!
For hanging Timely Jambs (look for a story on that soon, too), or for lifting a door just enough so the hinges drop clean into the mortises, nothing works better than a DoorJack.
Here’s how it works:
The way I learned from Mr. Clean, you always stand the doors against the hinge jamb, with the hinges just past the door stop. Then you tilt the door up toward the top hinge. The door usually hits the top of the jamb before the hinge is high enough, so kick the bottom of the door a little until the door clears the top of the jamb, then tilt it up a little more, until the top hole in the hinge lines up with the top hole in the jamb. Then run in a hinge screw. But don’t torque the screw down. Just snug it up a little.
Next, move over behind the door and push the bottom of your shoe against the door until the door stands up plumb. Since it’s hanging on just one screw, the door drops down a little, but that’s okay. You can fix that later, after you’ve put a screw in each of the lower hinges. Don’t torque those screws down; just snug them up.
What I really like about the DoorJack is that it weighs next to nothing. It’s made from recycled plastic, but it’s tougher than getting a raise out of my dad. Plus, it can lift a door about 1 1/2 in., which is more than I ever need, so I don’t have to carry a block of wood, too.
You can get the DoorJack online at Amazon. And they’re less than thirty bucks!
Nick Katz is a carpenter by genetic and financial default. Almost every male in his family is a contractor, a carpenter, or works somehow in construction (including a few women!). There are a lot of things he’d rather be doing, like riding dirt bikes in the desert near the Colorado River, or racing motocross, or lying on the beach with a beer and a…but everyone has to make a living, right? He makes a pretty good one as an accomplished carpenter, working on high-end residential and challenging commercial jobs through the Los Angeles area.