A Girls Guide To Carpentry

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Before attempting to work with wood, make sure you have the necessary tools and safety equipment. Woodworking tools can be dangerous in the hands of the inexperienced. But, saying this, carpentry can be fun and immensely rewarding.

There are a million and one woodworking jobs around the home but we will concentrate on the main things that can be done after only a little practice.


New doors are bought in standard sizes and you will find that you will be able to buy a new door to almost exactly replace the door you are changing. In general, the average household interior door is 6’6” x 2’6”. Check the size first before buying.

The first thing to do when getting the door home is to measure the width of the opening and allowing 3mm clearance either side. Mark the door on the lock side and plane to fit.

Put the door in place and mark the door for height, allowing 3mm clearance at the top and 6 mm at the bottom. Mark the bottom of the door and plane off as necessary, allowing for additional planing if there is carpeting.

The next thing to do, if the door now fits into the opening, is to fit the hinges. The top hinge should be 150mm from the top and the bottom hinge should be 225mm from the bottom of the door. Where possible use the existing cut-outs in the frame. Lay the door on its side and outline the hinges with a pencil where they need to be cut out. Score the outline to the depth of the hinge with a Stanley knife then, with a sharp chisel, make small cuts across the width of the hinge and then chisel out the hole. Screw in the hinges and offer it up to the frame, where you already have the matching hinge cut-outs, and screw the door in place.

Fit the door furniture and your door is now ready for use.


There are many ways to put up shelves. The main options are:


Each of these systems works well, the choice really is yours, but the most important thing to have is a good hammer or percussion drill and the right sized drill bit for the job. Do not forget that the shelves must be level, so use that spirit level correctly. Your local DIY shop or timber merchant will advise you on the best shelves for your needs.


The most common problem with wooden windows is for them to stick. This is often caused by excess paint or painting of the windows when shut. The best thing to prize the windows open with is a scraper blade. This is stiff and strong and can be tapped into the openings to slowly work the window open. When the window is open the edges can be cleaned up with a plane, the bare wood primed and painted and left open until the paint is fully dry.

TIP: If you have sliding sash windows, rub candle wax into the sash cords to help ease the up and down movement of the windows.

Plastic or aluminium double glazing is a great idea but if you look after your wooden windows properly they will last for centuries. Change them only when they are totally rotten and unable to be repaired.

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