DIY Video: Building a Custom Door & Jamb (with a lot of people staring at you)

Back when I built the shelving for the closets in the Memorial House, I had this idea about building some custom doors for them that mimic the style of the front door of the house, which we all know makes my little heart go pitty-pat.

Well, this is one of those ideas that was bound to end with something getting hit by a hammer– hopefully not an innocent bystander– because truthfully I’m not sure I’ve ever even just installed a pre-hung door by myself (usually there’s at least one other person involved that I try to stab with a shim at some point) much less built one from scratch. And of course, give the fact that I’d be taking on a totally new and challenging project with a high likelihood for failure, I thought it would be the perfect time to invite a bunch of mustached dudes with cameras to come film me while I did it.


(I actually work with these guys in my day job — the one where I’m not usually covered in sawdust– and after I asked for some tips about putting together this video they offered up a Sunday and many hours of their free time to come help me do this thing right. I am incredibly grateful and lucky to work with people who are so passionate about what they do.)

Other than the fact that there were going to be a bunch of people silently staring at me with video equipment while I attempted a totally new project, I was also pretty worried about the fact that telling the real story on camera is totally different than writing it down after the fact. You know, when I’m showered and sane again.  But the video team did a fantastic job of cutting six hours of work into this six minute video, and still telling the whole story, including the parts where I screw up and have to try really hard not to start throwing hinges around.

So, without further ado, here’s how you build a custom door and jamb with three cameras, to microphones, and seven people staring at you.

At the end of this video the door isn’t completely finished, but it’s what I could get through in a day. The jamb needs to have a door stop installed, and the door needs to be stained, polyed, and finished with hardware. I’m hoping to wrap that up and have some good “after” pictures in the next couple of weeks, once I’m settled in from the big move.

Thanks again to the video team for making this thing look completely awesome and professional. You never know what exciting things may come out of this, but I know for sure what came after it was a very long nap.


23 Responses

  1. That is very cool. You are such a natural on camera. Who do we see about getting you your own DIY Diva TV show, because I would watch the hell out of that.

  2. I’m so impressed! Great video and it’s so inspiring for me to think about tackling projects that involve loud and scary power tools. Seriously I always think of you when I want to talk myself out of using tools.

  3. This has got to lead somewhere good for you – you are truly a natural on camera and very entertaining and informative. You will have to get a show on cable though, in case the hinges don’t have removable pins (S@*T!) :).

  4. LOVE IT!! Like everyone has already said, you are a natural on camera and I would totally watch your show if you ever decide to do one. I just love how real-life you are because let’s face it… no DIY project is without an “oh sh*t” moment. haha I’m also really glad you showed how to clamp your boards together. I used a pocket screw jig on all my dining room table top boards but was trying to figure out how to actually screw them all together while keeping them lined up. Thanks!

  5. Kit, I am so proud of you and wish I could be there to watch this production in person, which will happen soon. You’re great on camera whether you like it or not. Love Mamie

  6. great vid! when I volunteered at habitat I had to chisel wayyyy too many doors so I second your notion of using a router next time!

  7. You make building a door look easy! I love how you make things that you are just trying out but you have the confidence to just do it and take a mistake as a learning experience. Now I want to make a door! 🙂

  8. You complete me.

    No really. I’m remodeling an urban ’20s bungalow (or mostly watching my dad remodel it for me) and you’re giving me the courage to jump in and get my hands even more dirty. Currently I’m just helping tear down walls, prying out staples from old ceiling tiles, and spending hours finding the perfect shade of gray/yellow/blue to match my decorating tastes. I might ask to tackle the clothesline with your tutelage and my father’s oversight. Can’t wait!

  9. If I build this door do I need to make a new jamb for it? Or can I retrofit the door to the existing jamb? Great video and instructions!

    1. There are no rules when you’re building something custom. If you have an existing jamb I think you could figure out how to use it.

  10. Best nearly seven minutes of DIY I’ve seen this week.

    They caught it all! The concept to design, the prep to setup, the cutting to assembly, and the confusion to solution.

    And only one cuss word.

    AND you look and sound good on camera. I expect to see you in the big time one day!

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I'm not interested in a mediocre life. I'm here to kick ass or die.