How to Build a Door Jamb from Scratch

Earlier this week I posted about the barn wood closet doors that I built and installed. When we remodeled our home we made the choice not to install closet doors – bad choice – if you are debating on open closets verses doors – go for the doors! After battling the open closet in my son’s room and losing the war, I decided to build those awesome closet door but first I had to build a jamb – so today I wanted to share with you how to build a door jamb from scratch!

barn doors for the closet copy

Here is the starting photo – and what I had to work with! You can see that it had nice round corners and drywall.

barn doors for the closet (1) copy

The first thing I did was rip out all the drywall from the inside of the door and the corner bead.

barn doors for the closet (3) copy

You need to expose the 2×4’s.

barn doors for the closet (5) copy

As you can see, I didn’t even bother to clean out the closet, but things didn’t get too messy – I was careful and had these awesome new bags to use!

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These self-standing Gorilla bags were awesome for this project. They are thick enough to stand on their own and held all the drywall and corner bead I had without falling over or tearing.

barn doors for the closet (6) copy

After everything was removed and cleaned up I started building the jamb. I used 3 1×6’s at 8 feet long and used my table saw to trim them down to 4.5 inches wide. Keep the little piece you cut off because you will use it later!

My door framing was twisted and awful and so instead of nailing the 1×6’s to the 2×4’s. I took my measurements and used my Ryobi pin nailer and wood glue to build the frame.

barn doors for the closet (8) copy

When it was dry I inserted the frame into the opening.

barn doors for the closet (10) copy

Then I got to work shimming it in and screwing it into place. I used three inch screws.

Note: When you screw your frame into the wall, try your best to drill the screws into the middle of the frame, then when you add the door stop you can cover them all up!

barn doors for the closet (11) copy

For some reason, the only picture I have of the square is blurry but make sure your frame is completely square!

barn doors for the closet (12) copy

Now you need the door stop. This is where the extra piece of the 1×6 comes into play! Mark your door where you want your door stop to go. I measured mine in the middle of the door and then (since the door stop was one inch thick) measured our half an inch and made my mark.

barn doors for the closet (13) copy

I drew a line down the frame and used a level so it would be nice and straight.

barn doors for the closet (15) copy

Then using my nail gun once again, I nailed the door stop into place.

barn doors for the closet (17) copy

I marked where my hinges would go and using shims, reinforced behind the jamb so my screws would hold nice and tight.

barn doors for the closet (18) copy

I also chiseled out my jamb for my hinges. If Spencer would have been home while I was doing this, he would have used his router before I even built the door and would have routed these out – but he wasn’t so I did it the good ole’ fashion way. The next time I build a door – I will wait for him!

Chiseling out door hinges is just plain crappy because it takes soooo long.

darn it!

Anyhoo – Here is how to chisel out a hinge.

Screw your hinge into the door, in place.
Use an utility knife and trace the hinge.
Take the hinge off.
Use your chisel and with the straight side on the outside, tap out the outline.
Tap out lines in between – it helps when you start to chisel.

barn doors for the closet (20) copy

Then tap and chisel out the wood pieces.

barn doors for the closet (21) copy

Do it over and over until you get the depth you need. When you have the depth you need (use your hinge to check) you can smooth it out a little bit.

barn doors for the closet (23) copy

Add your trim… and chalk and putty and your done and ready for paint!

barn doors for the closet (25) copy

Add your doors and you’re done!

barn doors for the closet (64) copy

Besides chiseling – which is easy just time consuming – this is a simple project with a a HUGE impact!


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Hey there! We are Spencer and Amanda, a DIY husband and Wife team, sharing projects we build and create together for our home. Since buying our home in 2007 we have had the saying that Spencer builds it and makes it work and Amanda makes it look good. We hope you will stick around because we always have projects in the works!

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  1. Last year I bought a new power tool that has become a favorite and is so versatile. It works great for chiseling the hinge area. It is a 3° oscillating saw. I use it to also trim the shims flush, it will cut through nails/screws flush with the wall so no metal is sticking out to catch on or be in the way of new projects. It leaves a clean and smooth hinge area and avoids accidental splintering. Thanks for the tutorial, your frames and doors look great!

  2. David Runge says:

    Nice post! I’m trying to frame out several sets of double doors and I was wondering how you’re keeping these doors closed. I’ll need mine to lock (they’re going to be storage closets in a public place) and I’m wondering if you came across anything during this project?

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