When longer screws are no longer enough…

Our house at 100 Prince Street is 190 years old this year, and so it long-ago entered the “needs constant upkeep or entropy will take over” phase of its life.

One area where this crops up regularly is in the tightness of the door hinges. While these are in no way original equipment, they are feeling their age nonetheless, and about once a year I need to tighten things up. Two years ago I could only do this by removing the screws from the doorjamb and sticking some matchsticks in the screw holes to add some friction; last year this stopped working, and the only advice I could extract from Home Hardware was “use longer screws.”

Longer screws kept us going for another year, but this year that wasn’t enough and I needed more drastic action.

The Internet assisted me greatly in this regard, and the approach I took–which worked like a dream–was this:

  1. Unscrewed the hinge from the doorjamb.
  2. Removed all the matchsticks, toothpicks and other stopgap measures from the screw holes.
  3. Drilled out each of the screw holes with an 11/32” drill bit.
  4. Inserted a 3/8” diameter, 1-1/2” long dowel, covered in Elmer’s wood glue, into each hole, and tapped each with a hammer until they were flush.
  5. Waited an hour for the glue to dry.
  6. With the hinge in place over the doorjamb, I marked and drilled pilot holes with a small drill bit.
  7. Replaced the original screws.

With the dowels in place, the screws held well, and the hinges are now pleasantly tight. As a result the door swings freely, shuts easily, and doesn’t make that horrible screeching sound it made all spring.

A pack of 20 dowels was $2.49 at Kent Building Supplies.