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I have several interior doors with two hinges, where some of the screw holes are stripped. Using longer screws or toothpicks and glue didn’t work, and I would like to fill the holes with epoxy and drill new holes in the epoxy. But I don’t want to take the door off the frame. Is it possible to place shims under the door to support it while I remove one hinge at a time? Details on how to support the door would be helpful.

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    You won't be able to use the door as you are fixing it. Epoxy or dowels will take time to dry enough/fully before you can replace the screws. As the answer states, removing the only only takes a few seconds.
    – crip659
    Aug 30, 2023 at 15:20
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    @frankc Your door is 102 years old and is heavy enough to pull out screws? I'd consider adding one or more hinges, and potentially replace the existing pair as well. You could even move the top and bottom-most hinges further out, so they're in un-damaged wood in the frame, and fill in the old hinge rebates before painting. Comment, cos not an answer to question as asked.
    – Criggie
    Aug 31, 2023 at 10:56
  • Hammer a wooden golf tee into the stripped hole, put some wood glue in the hole before insertion. Cut flush. Reinstall screw.
    – matt.
    Aug 31, 2023 at 19:35
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    If toothpicks and glue didn't work and longer screws didn't work, you might have a bigger problem such as rot. Your epoxy is only going to be as good as what is holding it.
    – JimmyJames
    Aug 31, 2023 at 20:24
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    Attempting to prop up the door with one hinge still attached can put significant stresses on the hinge in ways that it wasn't meant for. For example if the bottom hinge is the one still attached and has three screws, there will be some horizontal force as the door tends to want to fall over. You can minimize this, but not get rid of it. In this case the middle screw acts as a point for rotation to occur and the door is a big lever. The top screw will be pulled one way and the bottom the other. Sep 1, 2023 at 14:08

5 Answers 5

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Your best bet is to simply remove both hinge pins and remove the door from the frame. Attempting to swing it and prop it open on only one of two hinges will carry a not insignificant risk of the door falling and ripping the other hinge out of the door (most likely for standard, hollow-core interior doors) or frame.

On the rare occasions that the hinge pin isn't removable (for any reason), remove the screws from both hinges and take the door off while repairing the holes in the jamb.

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    I have propped up doors while fixing the hinges, and havent ripped one off its hinges yet.
    – Simon B
    Aug 30, 2023 at 19:09
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    @SimonB I'm sure you have, and I'm sure others have, too. However, doing so adds a significant risk (not guarantee) of doing more damage. Removing the door completely eliminates that risk and all the other steps others are suggesting in other answers to ensure the door doesn't topple, causing more damage and possibly injuring someone.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 31, 2023 at 14:21
  • This is the correct and easiest way to remove a door, until you cannot get the hinge pins out; corrosion, wear, position/access, multiple layers of paint, hinge design...
    – 7caifyi
    Sep 1, 2023 at 12:22
  • @7caifyi That's why this answer starts with "your best bet...". It's not always possible to remove the hinge pins (my bathroom door at home, from the 1920s or so, doesn't seem to have removable hinge pins at all...), but, if/when it's possible, that's the "best option".
    – FreeMan
    Sep 6, 2023 at 12:36
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Yes, it is possible to hold the weight of the door on shims. Door wedges would be ideal. Otherwise, open the door then jam under whatever will fit.

If you're removing the top hinge, the door will want to fall over sideways. Make sure it's propped up on something sturdy, such as a heavy bit of furniture.

Then avoid doing anything to the door until your filler has dried, and both hinges are back on again.

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I ended up 1) opening the door all the way so the hinge-edge of the door was adjacent to the jamb, in the same plane, 2) jamming an object under the door to support its weight (102 yr old, heavy wood door), and 3) screwing a steel mending plate to the door edge and to the jamb , near the top, to prevent the door from tipping over. Then I was able to unscrew the top hinge without the door moving at all.
    – Frank C
    Aug 30, 2023 at 22:17
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    A door wedge is good, two works better when one is inverted. That leaves the top face flat under the door, so its less likely to rotate.
    – Criggie
    Aug 31, 2023 at 10:57
  • If possible, I'd open it against a heavy piece of furniture, support it, and put a strap round the door and furniture before removing the hinge. That way if something goes wrong (e.g. it turns out the other hinge is barely attached, or someone catches something on the door while squeezing through the work area) it can't start to fall while you're working there
    – Chris H
    Aug 31, 2023 at 12:58
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I agree with the answers suggesting wedging the door and propping it from the side so it can't tip over. Only if the door is particularly heavy might this be unacceptably risky to you.

But definitely use glued dowels rather than epoxy. Obviously, drill out the stripped screw holes in the wood to clean them up and make the dowels fit snugly - don't just hammer a slim dowel into the damaged screw hole! If they are a sufficiently tight fit then you can drill and refit the hinge straightaway without waiting for the glue to dry, though it wouldn't hurt to keep the wedge and prop in place for 24 hours just in case.

I've actually done this without even removing the hinge - one screw at a time - by finding a dowel that was small enough to push through the hinge holes, yet large enough to be a very tight fit in the wood. (The hinge had somewhat large holes.)

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  • I've done similar several times where "Dowel" = "several toothpicks or wooden matchsticks crammed in with lots of glue". Will usually last for several years.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 31, 2023 at 14:19
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    @FreeMan Yes, that often works. But in this case the OP said that they already tried toothpicks and glue.
    – Ian Goldby
    Aug 31, 2023 at 14:49
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Is it possible to place shims under the door to support it while I remove one hinge at a time?

Yes. Should you? Probably not with shims alone.

Epoxy usually has a 24 hour cure time and the risk of you knocking the door over in the meantime is not negligible.

If you have several of these doors then you could fashion some sort of wide-stanced brace to prevent the door from falling forward or backwards while you do your work. Make the bottom plate thin enough to go under all of your doors and shim for the ones further off the ground.

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There are a few possible solutions:

  1. Use a Winbag Air Wedge. This is a bag that can be pumped up with air to support the door. This will not hold the door in place however so the door could still tilt and fall. You would need to combine it with something to hold the door upright
  2. Build a simple jig that fits around and under the door. You would slide this into the open door and it would support it from tipping or drooping. I imagine something similar to a bike rack where the tire is supported

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