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Finish Carpentry Tips

Finish Carpentry Tips and Techniques for Trim Work

This finish carpentry tips page will hopefully help you and guide you through some of the problems you may be having. If you are on this page I commend you for not giving up.

The finish carpentry techniques do require some learning and patience but if you are dilligent with it you absolutely will feel the gratification and feel of accomplishment which comes with this work.

After a while if you are like me this work will actually be fun and addicting. If you reach this point you will be anxious to do bigger and more complicated trimming. The best part is you can make some good money at it also.



Finish carpentry tip 1.

One common problem when casing is the jamb of the door or window does not come out flush with the interior wall. This is particully true on outside doors or garage doors. Ok enough gloating and on with business.
  • One way to remedy this is to take your hammer and pound down or crunch the sheetrock down next to the jamb. Be careful as to not damage the steetrock out past what your trim (casing) will cover. If you do, it can be fixed with a little spackle or sheetrock mud but try to avoid this.


  • Finish carpentry tip 2.

    Another problem you might encounter is, when your casing is not flat against the wall or tipped in towards the jamb, your angle of the miter will change slightly.

  • If you ran your casing to the floor while trimming the door as I explained earlier you will have a little room for adjustment here.

  • Simply change the degree of the saw necessary for this angle and recut the piece of casing. Only cut whats necessary so your casing does not end up to short.


  • Finish carpentry tip 3.

    If this distance is substantial and crunching down the sheetrock would not be enough you will have to add an extension jamb to the existing jamb. This is done very easily.

  • Measure this distance around the door and take an average. Then rip some stock down at this measurement on the table saw about the same width of the end of the existing jamb.

    It is easiest at this point to apply this extension jamb with a reveal left on the existing jamb for various reasons thus you will end up with 2 reveals on this door. After you are finished I think you will agree that this does look ok and is not noticeable which is good because it was something beyond your control.


  • Other finish carpentry Tips

    Other things to remember is when using hardwood such as oak etc. stay away from knots in the wood. If you shoot near a knot you risk splitting the wood. The wood will undoubtably split on you at one point or another. If possible use this piece in an area that is not noticeable such as inside a closet or back side of a bedroom door.

  • Another way to fix this is to apply a little glue to the split and clamp it back together with a small clamp. Do not be afraid to use a little filler in times like these, there is not a trimmer out there that doesn't.


  • When shooting your miters together at the top corners( also this can be done from the side) you will have a nail pop through once and a while if you are not careful or in a hurry. One way to fix this little problem is to bend the nail over.

  • Take out the smallest chisel you have( I made a tool specially for this) and put your chisel on this bent over nail and give it a little whack with your hammer then bend it back and forth until it breaks at the point whered you whacked it.

  • Take your little punch and punch the petruding tip into the wood and cover the hole with filler. Be extra careful doing this with the softer wood trim as you could end up with a bigger hole than desirable.


  • One very valuable tip I was fortunate to receive was from my older brother when I was first learning the art of trimming. It has actually helped me tremendously in trimming and running my trimming business. This tip has to do with how you feel.
  • If you feel good and have a good attitude this really reflects in your work and it really applies to this type of work.


  • If your mind is messy with problems it will show up in your work and trimming becomes hard work.

    If you are having problems with some aspect of trimming and it is making you annoyed its time to move on to another part of the job.

    Take a break, get away for just a few minutes then come back and tackle the problem. If it doesn't work out to your satisfaction rip it off and start again.

    At this point I can't remember all the problems so this page of finish carpentry tips will be added to as I go. I don't think you will run into a problem I haven't dealt with although I have been wrong before.

    Some of my finish carpentry techniques and directions do get long, just read careful and try to understand and by all means e-mail me with any questions. Eventually this page of finish carpentry tips will cover all aspects of trimming so it would be worth checking back, at this point the web site is still young.

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