How to Use a Planer to Trim a Door

Updated February 21, 2017

A planer, which is also called a plane, is a hand-held woodworking tool that is used to shave off thin layers of wood. It is commonly used on wooden doors that have begun to stick when you open or close them. They are also used on new wooden doors if the replacement door is slightly larger than the door jamb. Planers are best used when you need to remove 1/2 inch or less from the door.

Close the door as much as possible and take notice of where it sticks. Use a pencil to mark all edges of the door that need planing. If the door is not yet installed, hold it up to the door jamb and perform the same procedure.

Insert a flat head screwdriver under the head of the pin at the top of one of the door hinges. Pry upward until you remove the pin. Repeat the process to remove the remaining hinge pins and set the pins in a safe location.

Grasp either side of the door and lift it away from the door jamb.

Set the door on one side so that the edge that needs trimming is facing upward.

Straddle the door so that it is between your legs to steady it. Place the planer on the door edge and grasp the two knobs on top.

Push the planer forward while applying slight downward pressure to begin shaving off small pieces of the door. Continue until you reach the pencil line.

Repeat the process to trim any remaining edges of the door in the same manner. Then place the door back into position and tap the hinge pins into the hinges with a hammer.


If the door is not yet installed, you can also measure the door opening with a tape measure and transfer the measurements to the door. Make sure to use a jack plane and not a block plane, which only smooths, instead of trimming.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Jack plane
  • Saw horses (optional)
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure (optional)
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.