Beating a problem

I’m still working on trim in the new house. It’s a slow process, at least the way I do it. Part of the problem is finding a way to do noisy, scary things without unduly spooking the dogs and cats, but there are other problems, as this picture shows.

This is the door that leads from our kitchen into the garage. You can see the light yellow foam insulation around the door frame. The white strip down the right side is the result of making the drywall even with the edge of the door frame.

This is a problem in a lot of places throughout the house. In some places, when the drywall was cut to fit around the door, there was a ragged edge of torn paper around the opening and that ragged edge turned hard when it was painted. I have to cut that away with a utility knife. In other places the drywall was not screwed down adequately. Sometimes a few drywall screws can solve that problem. In yet other places, for some reason, the framing plus drywall was simply too thick. All this makes fitting door trim more than just painting, cutting to length and nailing.

Our interior doors came pre-hung and sized for either 2-by-4 or 2-by-six walls with about a half an inch of drywall on both sides. In a perfect world, the door frame would fit flush with the wall every time. But anything built by men with hammers and power drywall screw drivers is not perfect.

Using a utility knife or chisel was not getting the job done. Then one day while reading online about trim work, I saw a casual comment about how professional trim installers handle this problem. They use hammers.

There’s an old saying attributed to Mark Twain: “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” It’s true, at least a lot of the time. But then, a hammer can be a useful tool for a lot of things other than driving nails. I have found that the quickest way to even out the door frame-drywall joint is to simply hammer the hell out of the high spots in the drywall. That smashes the drywall down and, if there’s still too much, just turn the hammer around and beat it with the claw end.

It also releases some pent-up anger and frustration at framers and drywall hangers.

So that’s why you can see white around the right side of the kitchen door. This especially offensive spot needed vigorous beating and clawing, so vigorous that the door casing will sit significantly below the adjoining drywall. But, from the kitchen, you won’t be able to see how deep the trim is set into the drywall (the cabinet keeps you from looking at the side of the trim), or the roughed-up drywall. That’s the beauty of trim.

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