Installing replacement doors


I soon will be replacing all the interior doors of my rehab. We are just replacing the doors - not the entire frame.

My problem is that I need an easy/quick way to mortise the hinges for 10 doors. I’m sure I could use the tried and true method of hammer and chisel, but with so many doors that will become frustrating. I’ve borrowed a router but still need to come up with some type of template or jig.

I can’t believe in all the history of home improvement that nobody has invented a handheld device that will shave out the required shape and depth for hinges.

If anybody knows of any tools that may be what I’m looking for I am open to suggestions.



Home Depot or Lowes both carry kits to do the cut outs

There is an adjustable metal template that clamps onto the door at the correct place and you just rout out the area that needs to be removed. You will have to set the plunge depth on the router to the appropriate depth…


Make sure you identify the correct swing, right or left. Standing in the doorway, put your back against the door hinge. If it opens to the left, it’s a left swing. This will determine how you cut in your hinge. I order all my doors from the same place and unless it’s a very unusual door, I have them pre hang every door (cut hole for handle set and notch for hinges). It’s only a couple of bucks more, but worth every nickel. 10 doors could take you 2 days to do. Will you be painting them?

I think Keith is talking about one of these
I’ve never used one, so I can’t vouch for how well it works.

I’ve been to Lowes and Depot but to no avail. The guy at Home Depot said he knew what I was looking for except they were sold out. He checked the computer and a nearby store had them in stock - Stupid me…I left without asking what “it” was. It may have been a template…who knows. I guess the search continues.

As for painting, I’m not planning on it. I’ll see what kind of damage I do routing/chiseling. I’m also going to ask the guys at Lowes and Home Depot if they’ll rout them for me.

Thanks for all the input guys. I still can’t believe there isn’t already a nice hand size tool that cuts out the mortise. It should come set to the right depth, allow you to chose a rounded or square template, then plug it in and bam! You’re done. I know what I’m going to invent after this rehab is done!

DDavis was right on with his product. It speeds the job. I just finished the same project myself.

Of course you will need a router, but that is usually a tool that someone would lend you. You will then need the correct type of bit. Find a friend who is a woodworker for help.

I know that Home Depot carried the product in the past year. You might want to call and speak with someone in building materials.

If you have the doors that were removed, use these to mark the new ones. This really speeds things up. BE SURE that you measure from the top down and make a ‘copy’ not a mirror image.

Good luck.


Just a little tip from what Boblaw said, When you buy the kit it comes with the bit already. They are usually found in the hardware section, most likely the tool area.