Building Confidence

Volume 15 Issue 1
ISSN 1923-7162

Welcome to Dave's Shop Talk's Home Improvement Newsletter of questions from our members on their construction projects, a Tip of the Month and a home remodeling article, both from our website at

What's New

All 10 of our ebooks are now available for purchase. You can find them at

Tip of the Month

Buy short lumber if you can. Two 6 footers are cheaper than one 12 footer.

And a Bonus Tip:

A finishing carpenter never leaves the edge grain of plywood visible in his work. Use edging tape or apply your own edging.

Ask Dave!

I am building a cabinet and am wondering what you think are the best ways to mount the shelves?

I prefer to dado the shelves, another option is the use of ledger strips, as shown in this drawing:

Drawing of dados in the gables of a cabinet for a shelf.

Some cabinet makers like to install shelves on adjustable metal or plastic shelf holders which are fitted into holes about 1" apart.

If you have any difficulty with this please email me a specific question.


Feature Article of the Month

(taken from our website:

Remodeling 15: How to Build a Door

You're planning on building a shop or backyard shed and would like to build a door a little wider or taller than a conventional door. You can go to the Door Shop and order a custom door and pay through the nose or build a door yourself.

Diagram of the frame of a door showing placement of hinges and backing for the door lockset.I've built exterior doors for buildings and garden sheds before without a problem. The door framing shown is for a 4' x 6'-8" door, perfect for a large storage shed. I found that the thickness should not go more than 1 3/4" if you are going to use standard locksets. One thing to watch is to rip nice straight boards. I use spruce 2x4s and rip them down to 1 1/4" x 1 3/4" (in half). Pick out nice straight ones with very few knots. Spruce is one of the strongest woods for its weight. For the outer skin use 1/4" plywood G1S, pick two sheets that are not warped, that are laying flat on the pile. Drill for fasteners, one 3" x #8 flat head wood screws, countersunk in each frame intersection. Use glue, as well.

Add the backing for the lockset, as shown, layout for the lockset to avoid placing screws in the drilling spot. Use 1 1/2" styrofoam fitted tight in the hollow core and with a hand saw resting on the door frame saw off the excess styrofoam.

Cut your plywood to size. Apply wood glue all over the frame and fasten the plywood to the door frame with small galvanized nails, set and fill.

Drill for the lockset and rabbet out for hinges, as shown, with the middle hinge centered between the two hinges. Use 3 1/2" butt hinges for the door.

Notice the hinge is rabbeted in the door and kept back about 1/4" from the door edge. This is the door from the garage to the basement. Notice the spring loaded hinge that is required to keep car exhaust out of the house.Photo of a door hinge.

If the door thickness when finished is 1 3/4" you can use a standard door jamb or construct that, as well. Check out the thickness of wall including sheathing on the outside and drywall or inside finish on the inside. Make the door jamb out of 1x6 or 1x8 depending on the studs and finish used.

Rip down a 1/2" thick door stop for the top and sides. If the door is on a tall gable end without any protection from rain, a threshold may be a good idea. Slope the outside of the threshold a bit to run water away from the door; actually 7° is the standard.

The threshold should overhang the outside to cover the sheathing and siding.Photo of a door threshold.

For weatherstrip, the best I've seen is a saw cut in the door stop which accepts an 'L' shaped foam strip. Door shops use this technique with new exterior doors.

Notice the saw cut in the door stop to accept the weatherstrip.Photo of weatherstrip.

The door sweep consists of a channel sweep that slides on the door itself and fastens to the inside. Allow about 1/2" for clearance.

The door sweep, notice the clearance of about 1/2" from the bottom of the door to the threshold.Photo of the door bottom.

Get complete access to our website - Subscribe Now!

I hope you enjoyed the Newsletter this month and that your summer was a good one.

We BUILD CONFIDENCE. If you need advice on Building or on your projects at work or home you can make a very small investment and subscribe to our website, then send me any questions or uncertainties you might have via email. There is no extra charge. That is all part of your membership to our site!

Subscribe now!

Please tell your friends and family about our site and this Newsletter.


(Ask Dave) (About Dave)

Your source for building tips, woodworking & furniture plans, house plans and building advice directly from Dave...

Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.


The Benefits of Membership

Membership gives you full access to our hundreds of how-to articles, woodworking plans, converters, calculators and tables. Our Stair Calculator is one of the most popular on the internet. We have projects you can build for (and with) your kids, furniture for your wife, and sheds and gazebos. If you run into a problem or need advice your Membership includes unlimited email questions to me through our Ask Dave quick response button.

Join us!