Updated: Jun 26
I first learned to hang doors in my late teens. I was the helper for two high end carpenters and we all worked for a man named Steve Usrey - Usrey and Company Builders.
One particular project was a 100% custom to the "T" home in the Olmos Park neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas. Old money. The doors and windows were handmade at a local shop from authentic Honduran mahogany. I was instructed to not let my sweat hit the raw wood as it would leave a stain.
The jambs came out first and I helped fasten them to solid brick openings throughout the house. They were ten feet tall. I watched as the carpenter shimmed, plumbed, leveled and strung the jambs.
Strung? That's the technique of taking a string, stretching it diagonally from the bottom of one leg and across to the opposite top corner, and then from the other top corner, diagonally down the the bottom of the other leg. The strings crossed in the center, forming an "X" across the door. If the spot where the two strings crossed touched - you knew that the jamb was set in a perfectly flat plane on one face. If they didn't touch at the intersection, the carpenter made adjustments to the jamb legs until they did.
Stringing the door frame was an important first step. If you knew the frame was right, the door could then be hung properly.