Test blocks for door trim installation? You betcha!
A few months ago I relocated my “shop” (a.k.a. assortment of tools) from the garage to the basement. It’s taken a while to carve out a spot down there, but I think I finally have a foothold. And now that I have the tools reassembled, I decided to tackle what I thought would be a simple job.
You see, we replaced our front doors (entry and storm), and I’d been procrastinating the job of putting up trim on the interior. I just wasn’t jazzed about using store-bought stuff and then staining it in an attempt to make it match the existing molding.
No. I am a woodworker.
I have power tools.
And hand tools.
I have a workbench (finally).
I can make moldings that are better than what I’d get at the home center.
A little background here… The new door, though plumb and level, doesn’t exactly sit flush with the drywall. I’ve done some home-improvement stuff, and I figure this is not a big deal cuz most houses have their faults, er, personalities. Well, it is a big deal for a guy like me. I labor over details. Some might say that I stress over them.
The design I had in mind was simple, not ornate by any stretch. But the hard part was figuring out how to deal with the gaps that will show if I were simply to lay the molding on top of the drywall and nail it in. So I decide to attach a filler strip to the molding stock to conceal the gaps on the inside. Simple, eh?
To come up with the right size filler strip, I made a few test pieces, with fillers of different thicknesses and widths. So there I was, sliding these test blocks around the door looking for the perfect look. Fortunately, I found the perfect size to use, and now I can use that test block to set up all my machine cuts. But this process chewed up time like Ms. Pac-Man on ‘roids: I spent the entire afternoon–that’s 4 hours for those of you keeping score–trimming drywall and foam insulation, filling any air gaps, measuring for the molding and making those test blocks.
In retrospect, I guess I could’ve just slapped on the molding and lived with the defects. After all, most people probably would not have noticed inconsistencies in the reveal or small gaps here and there. But I would. Every time I’d leave the house or answer the door, I’d see the errors of my ways. And I know it would drive me nuts.
So I guess it’s official. I’ve become a fussy woodworker, sweating detail after detail. I think it’s one reason why I enjoy the hobby. But I’m not sure my family appreciates the long wait until a job is completed to my satisfaction. This year I plan to remodel one of the bathrooms in our home. Judging by the pace of my molding job, look for a completion date of July 2012.