A close shave
Way back in the mists of time before even God was a twinkle in his own eye, I used to love pottering around The Workshop.
The Workshop was a little lean-too that my father built on the back of our abode of the time. It wasn’t very big, consisting mainly of a shed with a long bench and racks of tools. My dad was a dab hand at the carpentry and used to knock up the odd piece of furniture. I loved watching him cutting and planing and then the tricky process of heating the glue in a special glue-pot. Often I would try my hand at a spot of cutting, shaving or drilling. The Workshop was a great play area.
Sadly, little remains of his efforts. I still have a couple of his smaller pieces but sadly had to part with a lot of the larger bits of furniture into various skips over time. The one thing I did manage to hold on to was a selection of his tools, which have been put to very good use over the years. I think I even still have the old glue-pot and certainly have the old Primus [used for heating the glue-pot] and the blow-lamp.
Sadly my days of DIY are becoming fewer. It’s easier to get an expert to do the job, and a lot less tiring.
I got an expert to knock through an extra door when I was revamping the Back Room. He did a brilliant job. The trouble is that he did too brilliant a job – he inserted the door precisely into the frame with no free space around the edge whatsoever.
Over the last few weeks the door has been becoming harder and harder to open or close as it just jammed in the frame. I can only assume that the timber is breathing or expanding slightly in the humidity. There was no room for error and the error is now there in an abundance.
It was the top of the door that was rubbing off the lintel so I dug out the good old trusty plane. It was old when I was a child which means it must be close on eighty years of age. It still has a razor sharp blade and no motor to jam or batteries to expire – a good old-fashioned hand tool. I whacked it across the top of the door and the latter now closes smoothly.
You can’t beat the old ways.
Ah, memories. Just after the stone age, when I got my first proper house, I encountered a similar problem with a door binding at the top so I loaned a plane, took the door down, carted it outside and gave it a planing. I put the door back but there was no improvement. I repeated the process several times with no joy but on the last time of re-hanging the door i stepped back and noticed I now had a very healthy two inch clearance between the bottom of the door and the floor… I blamed the plane. As you do when you’re not the sharpest tool in the box.
Jeez Mac, don't say things like that, I have 6 doors to replace – two with new frames. Went to cut 10mm off the bottom of the bathroom door the other week since the floor is now a bit higher. Decided to use a hand saw for that, got halfway through the cut then realized I was taking it off the top of the door. Good thing its only going back on temporarily, filled the cut with wood filler.
Thank God I did it the lazy way and didn't remove the door! Okay, I couldn't shave the few inches close to the hinges but that short bit will soon wear away.
Unfortunately in my case I have 4 old wooden outside doors in an old house that's built about 200 ft from the river Clyde on a piece of ground underneath which a plethora of springs run. Dig down 18" anywhere on the property and the hole will fill with approximately 6 inches of water by the time you're done. Couple that with winters that can become so cold that the frost line goes down to 4 to 5 feet before spring arrives, and my property can become a slow motion roller coaster that changes shape on a regular basis.
This doesn't do my doors any good as you might imagine. One of the outside doors, the one that opens out onto our deck, is past the point of modifying as the house has shifted position to the point where the latch itself has dropped 1/4 inch below the hole in the strike plate. The room-to-room doors are in no better shape and none of them will latch shut. In short, I need to replace every single door in my house except the front door and the door that opens to the drive way (which doesn't actually latch half the year but the dead bolt still works year around).
But I figure I’m not going to do it as it's only my wife and I here, no kids/grandkids/great grandkids/etc, only us and our indoor cats who haven't learned to open doors yet and probably never will. And what's the point anyway? I spend the money to have all the doors replaced and a couple years later the house will have shifted to the point where I'll have the same problem all over again.
And who know? Give it ten years and we both may have arthritis so bad that we'll be glad that all we have to do is push on the door to get out of the bathroom rather than having to actually turn the door knob.
Amen to that. I can remember my dad using his plane to smooth wood in his little workshop when I was a kid. He made me a wonderful, if heavy, sledge. Great times.