First of all, thanks to Dale Cox. I copied and modified his diagrams on https://www.do-it-yourself-help.com/.

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1st diagram shows partial section of wall between my kitchen and dining room. There is a serving window where yellow section is.

My goal is to create pass through opening where serving window is. Opening will be of same width as serving window. I don't want to install door, I just want to create pass through. 2nd diagram shows my goal.

I have already removed bottom cripples (red color) and Sill plate (green color).

Next thing I need to do is raise the height of header. To do that, I will have to cut top cripples halfway (depends on measurements) and replace existing jack studs with longer jack studs to support header.

Distance between left side king stud and right side king stud is around 3 feet 6 inches. I am in 2nd storey condominium, I asked few contractors about whether it is load bearing wall or not. They said that it is partially load bearing, I should be good as long as I only create door opening of same width as serving window and not remove any king studs.

Here are my questions. It may sound stupid questions but I am new to this and need some expert advice.

  1. What is the first thing I should be cutting/removing to release header ? Cripple studs or existing jack studs ?
  2. What tool should i use to make sure all 4 cripple studs are cut in level and straight so that it can be flush against top of header when i install it.
  3. After I cut cripple studs and remove existing jack studs, What should I do first ? Nail header to cripple studs first and then install longer jack studs below header ? (If I do this, How can I measure length required for new jack studs so that it is not too long that it can't fit and not too short that it cannot support weight of header.) OR First put new jack studs in place, then rest header on top and then nail headers with cripple studs.

  4. When should i cut my soleplate ? Should it be flush with new jack studs ? I guess yes.

  5. I know that actual width of 2x4 is 3 1/2" but my existing jack studs width is 3 3/8" (1/8" shorter). Where can I get that size ? Building is around 25 years old.


1 Answer 1


First things first. That header is there for a reason. Simply cutting it out could result in crunchy sounds at best, and significant sag at worst (which is difficult to reverse). I'd consider a temporary wall along it to carry the joists above. Use towels as padding to prevent damage. Cut the studs a bit long and drive them in to create lift.

What is the first thing I should be cutting/removing to release header?

Since you've eased the load on the header, it doesn't much matter. If you're discarding the header, cut through it to allow it to drop out, and start cutting nails where you can access them. They're likely along the top of the header and at the ends.

What tool should I use to make sure all cripple studs are cut in level and straight?

Use a carpenter's square to mark them. Mark the outer ones first, then use a straightedge between to mark the inner ones. For best accuracy, mark at least two faces.

Use a circular saw to cut them, or a reciprocating or hand saw. Be sure to keep the saw table tight against the stud so your cut is square. They'll be flopping around, so you might lay a horizontal board across them all and run screws in to stabilize. You could also just pull them out, cut new ones, and toenail them to the top plate. 3" gold screws instead of nails can make this type of work less frustrating.

After I cut cripple studs and remove existing jack studs, what should I do next?

  1. With a helper (or a temporary support leg), hold the header tight against the pin studs. Toenail it into the king studs from the face and/or below.

  2. Cut your new jack studs to fit snugly. Set the bottom in position and drive the top into position, using a block of wood as protection against damage from the hammer. You want a snug fit, but if you're really wailing on it you might shave 1/16" and try again.

  3. Nail the jack studs to the king studs.

  4. Toenail the bottoms of the pins to the header.

When should i cut my sole plate?

Doesn't much matter. Mark 1-1/2" from the king stud with a scrap block and cut it, or cut it flush later.

Where can I get studs to match the legacy size of the existing ones?

I'm surprised that a stud from the 90s is undersized (it may have just shrunk a bit), but you can just run them through a table saw, pass a hand planer over them, or ignore the issue altogether. 1/16" on each face isn't much of a problem.

  • Thank you for your feedback isherwood. I have few more questions. (1) I am planning to reuse header so i can't cut through it. How about if i cut cripple studs first when it is still attached at bottom with header and then cut through nails to detach it from header. (2) Can oscillating tool be used to cut through cripple studs ? I don't have circular saw. (3) What are you referring to by pin stud ? Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 16:43
  • 1. Sure. 2. If you're very patient, I suppose. Even a handsaw would be faster. How are you doing carpentry without a circular saw?? 3. "Pin" is an alternative term for "cripple", which some find distasteful.
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 16:50
  • 1
    Thanks again isherwood. I am beginner DIYer and this is biggest project i have ever done.:) Never needed circular saw before. I do have reciprocating saw though. Thanks again! Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 18:29
  • one more question, just found out that bottom cripples(red color) and old jack studs were not directly sitting on bottom plate, but they were on another half inch thick plywood (grey color in 1st picture) on top of bottom plate. Am i supposed to keep that plywood and install new jack studs on top of it OR remove that plywood piece completely and install new jack studs directly on bottom plate? Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 14:40
  • I don't know what that plywood is for, but it probably isn't a problem. Do whatever's most convenient. I'd probably cut it out flush with the king stud to make things more standard.
    – isherwood
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 15:08

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