Monday, January 4, 2010

in through the front door

Hi again,

Patricia: We are back from a fluffy, white New Years Eve in Bend, OR and have an update for you. The day before we left Spencer installed a near 200 lb. front door by himself. Yes, he is my hero!

Spencer: yep that door is dang heavy. But, heavy doors can make great doors. For proof take a look at this 9 ton gate made of coral in Florida. It pushes open and closed with just one finger.

To jog your memory, we bought the door below at the Restore as our 2nd Wedding Anniversary gift to ourselves. Here's what the door originally looked like (rotated for a better visual effect).
But it wasn't a door we could just install. We first had to lop off 12 inches from the bottom. Here I am clamping down a straight board as a guide for my straight cut.Note the safety glasses. Always, safety first, positioning second and style third.

Cool. Ready to install? Well, not so fast. There were scratches and holes from the old barn door hardware. To do this we stripped the door with a heat gun [like a super hot hair dryer] and a 5 in 1 tool [currently lost]. The holes were filled with Bondo and the scratches sanded smooth. Then we applied several coats of Osmo Park Lane finish. We chose Park Lane for its strong, durable coating that will protect our door from UV light rays and scratches and most important is friendly to all plants & animals as well as my lungs. I recommend using a very good paint brush [Purdy or equal] with this finish. The Osmo brand brush I bought frayed after the first cleaning. When the bristles spread on a brush it creates streaks and bubbles that can't be brushed out with a bad brush.

Coming from the basement, the door weighs just enough for me to grunt on every stair step. I had to take a 20 minute rest after I got to the top so my arm muscles wouldn't cramp. After that, getting the hinges lined up was like snapping two Lego pieces together. This part I was unsure of because it took the most to plan out. More planning than I'd care to write about...I then dropped the hinge pins into place and grabbed the door for it's inaugural swing closed.

A door with good weight and balanced equally on all three hinges swings smooth and consistent with little effort. This was how it was with our door. With little effort it moved smoothly toward the door frame. Then it stopped and my heart sank a little. The door frame wasn't as square as I thought. The bottom corner of the door hit a full 1/4 of an inch into the door frame.

Patricia was due home in an hour and I had only about 45 minutes of decent sunlight left. I wanted her to come home to the new door in place and working. The door sat perfect along the hinged side so I had one of two choices. I could take the door off the hinges and begin messing with the door frame. This meant I would likely have to tear open the wall and that wasn't what I wanted to get into with limited time. So I opted for chiseling away the door frame. Which turned out to be not to bad an idea. Beneath the layer of green paint was a door frame made of fir. Fir is soft, which meant I could chisel it. The chisel work was quick and sanding it smooth took only a few passes with medium grit sand paper. The door was swinging closed in less than 30 minutes.

Patricia was so pleased that she made us pose in front of the house that next morning before we left for Bend. I like to think she did that because she thought the door was so groovy that she wants to keep a photo of it in her wallet. Print out this photo if you do too?Yep, that's our Christmas tree in the foreground.

Coming up: A quick Dump and Why Bondo! is better.

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