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Butt Marker

Pre-hung doors make installation much easier, but what if you want to just replace the door blank without removing the casing and jambs? How do you get the door to line up properly? At least for the hinges, you can align them with a butt marker.

Stanley makes butt markers for 3″, 3-1/2″, and 4″ hinges. They make their butt markers from steel and finish them with a black baked-on enamel.

To use one, align the butt marker on the door or jamb with the existing hinge on the door side of the jamb, and strike it with a hammer a few times to leave an outline for creating the hinge mortise.

You’ll pay about $6 to $9 for the correct butt marker, but if used properly, it’ll make the process go a lot smoother.

Butt Markers [Stanley Harwdware]
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10 Responses to Mark Hinge Mortises Fast With A Butt Marker

  1. fred says:

    For hanging a single new or replacement door butt markers or careful measuring, scribing and chisel work will do it. If you have a few of doors to hang you might wish to consider one of the various router templates (e.g. PC 59375 as a Home Depot type example) that are on the market. Of course – if you are using square-corner hinges – you will need to finish the job with a chisel and/or corner-chisel (e.g. PC 42234). If you are hanging a whole house of hardwood doors in hardwood jambs (we do a lot of work where pre-hung doors do not meet client expectations) then you might look at either the Bosch (83038) or the Porter Cable 59381. We have an Old Stanley which looks a bit like the Bosch – but I do not think it is made any longer – and 2 fairly old Bosch units. Both work well after some learning curve for those new to the tools.

  2. Blair says:

    I agree with Fred, the butt markers will do for a one time installation, and are handy items to have around, but if you foresee more jobs hanging doors in the future, one of the router rigs is the way to go.

    Those Stanley jigs were real time savers in the past, and a few of us “more seasoned” guys still use them with no problems, but I’m sure that progress has been made to simplify the newer units (I may have to take a look for myself !).

  3. Shopmonger (aka Donny B) says:

    I hate hanging doors…..

    These sound great since i avoid this task like the plague…..

  4. Terrell Freeman says:

    I find the cutting side of the butt marker to be too dull to penetrate the wood. Should I sharpen it?

    • David Hess says:

      It’s a marker, not a chisel. Once you mark the door edge you take a sharp chisel to cut the hinge pocket out

    • Jimmy says:

      Yes they can be sharpened. With the cutting edges up, file the inside edges, holding the file flat on the inside edges. Both the inside and outside edges may then be finished on a fine oil stone.

  5. sid says:

    i love hanging doors- when no one else wants to do it,i get a call. stanley makes a great butt marker,have had mine for years. it is quite nice to be able to close a properly hung door with just the forefinger and a light touch.

  6. Rita says:

    I used the butt marker, chiselled until the hinge fit level with the side of the door, but the door will not close, by just 1/16 of an inch. Does this mean I didn’t chisel deep enough?

    • Jim says:

      If both top & bottom are not closing by the same distance then normally, yes you most likely didn’t set the hinges deep enough. The hinges including any screws must not extend above the surrounding wood.

      • Gerald Mucci says:

        …if the door frame is square. Otherwise you’ll have to noodle it for a bit..perhaps some trial and error and trial again.

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