It always happens this time of year. Doors that have been working just fine for months all of the sudden start dragging when they get closed. It can get so bad in really humid months that the doors hit the jamb so solidly that they won’t close at all.
This happens when a door is not correctly sealed at the time of installation. Instructions for sealing a door indicate that all 6 sides need to be sealed. (front, back, lock side, hinge side, top, bottom). While the front and back almost always get adequately sealed, and the lock side as well, the other sides can be kind of hit and miss. The most notable places for haphazard sealing have to be the bottom and behind the hinges.
If the finisher has taken the time to remove the door from the jamb and remove the hinges from the door, it can be fairly certain that the sealing process is done completely. However this is not necessarily the quickest or most efficient way to get the job done. Profit indicates that many times sealing will not be complete.
The outgrowth of this is that when the humidity goes up for a period of time, as it does in the summer months, the water vapor permeates the door and swells the wood. (Or the wood like substances that have replaced wood over time) Among other things, this causes the door to become wider and thus not longer fit in the opening.
The solution to this problem is to stop ignoring it and make the door smaller. And the best way to do that is with a power hand plane. Of course you could accomplish the same task with a manual plane, but unless you are somewhat experienced with using one, it is not as simple as that guy on public TV makes it out to be.
An electric hand plane make the task of removing wood from an edge like that on a door a fairly simple task. With the application of an edge guide, and most planers come with one, the task of keeping the tool square with the surface of the door is a relatively straight forward one. This is the type of thing that can be fraught with trouble when using the manual variety.
In addition, the power plane makes removing wood effortless. In fact it can be too much so. It is important to make some kind of guide line to ensure that not too much material is removed from the door, and to make sure that it is removed from the right places. The power hand planer can take material so quickly that it is easy to go too far. It is important to remember that, just as the door swelled in the high humidity of the summer months, it is going to shrink when the humidity drops again. The last thing you want is to go through the winter months with a door that misses the stops when it closes.
One more thing – when using the tool keep in mind that it is one of the more dangerous power tools you can get your hands on because of the fact that there is no guard on the blade. Always be conscious of where the tool is relative to your body.
Here is a quick video on the correct way to use an electric planer.