How to Shave Down a Door

Written by angela baird
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Shaving down a door is the best way to remedy the problem of sticking. If a wooden door suddenly seems too large for its jamb, it may be due to seasonal swelling. This is quickly corrected with a little planing, followed by some cosmetic touch-ups.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Screwdriver
  • Planer
  • Doorstop
  • Sandpaper
  • Varnish
  • Paraffin

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  1. 1

    Identify the area of the door that is sticking. If it is along the bottom or hinge side, or around the lock set, you will have to remove the door from the hinges before you can shave it.

  2. 2

    Mark the area that is binding with a pencil, indicating roughly how much you need to remove and where.

  3. 3

    Remove the door, if necessary, by taking out the hinge pins and moving the door off the hinges. Alternatively, secure the door with a stop to keep it still while you work with it hung.

  4. 4

    Plane the area, working with the grain of the wood to avoid creating gouges. The Home Depot's website says when shaving the top or bottom of the door, work from the edges to the centre to preserve the stiles. Plane using long, shallow, smooth strokes.

  5. 5

    Check the fit of the door frequently to keep from removing too much. Do this by either rehanging the door on the hinges and seeing if it will close easily, or by simply removing the doorstop and seeing if it closes without binding.

  6. 6

    Sand off any rough edges left by the planer. Use a fine-grain, finishing sandpaper, and sand with the grain of the wood.

  7. 7

    Paint or varnish to match your repair to the rest of the door.

  8. 8

    Apply paraffin, according to Don Vandervort at This helps the door to slide smoothly shut.

Tips and warnings

  • Check that your hinges are set properly before resorting to shaving your door.
  • Shave in small increments to avoid removing too much wood.

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