Friday, 10 Jul 2020

Hanging My First Door at Tangent Lodge

It wasn’t expensive, only about $65. A simple pine wood door that separates the kitchen from the dining/living room area of the cabin. So what makes this one so special? Mostly the fact that it’s the first door and it’s done.

I don’t have much experience in fine quality home construction. Now if you want a back yard fort built from scraps found down the alley, then I’m your man. The thing about doors though is you’ve got to get them right if you want them to work properly and look good.

Tangent Lodge is like most country buildings that are basically built to the standards of a common garage. There isn’t a straight wall or proper corner to be found in the whole place. Not that you can see these minor flaws with the naked eye, but if you put a square to the corners nothing is in plum.

I’m no perfectionist, my imaginary contracting license refers to my nonexistent company as Good Enough Construction. The only problem is I like things to look good and work properly. I don’t know codes, I’m unfamiliar with framing techniques. None the less, I can make it work.

Hanging this first door is a triumph of noticeable worth. It had me scratching my head more than once. After I squared and fastened the pre-hung door in the rough opening I noticed the difference in thickness between the old paneling and new sheetrock to which the trim would be attached. Making matters worse, on this particular wall the sheet rock was installed right over the paneling. I now had a half inch gap between the trim and the door jamb.

The gap needs to be filled up but I am sure that I can surely do it even if it takes a little while because that is the problem with new homes as you can’t seem to have room for everything during the initial days of moving in and this sheet rock needed to be taken care of quickly.

Quarter round molding was the cure. By running this additional trim piece around the frame filling that gap, the door installation looks clean, neat, and almost professional. A coat of Honey Pine polyurethane added just the right amount of age to the door without hiding the grain of the wood.

Simple brushed nickel hardware finished off the project and now I can isolate the part of the house that has plumbing to be concerned about. That’s the only reason for the door in the first place, now I only have to heat less than one third of the building during the winter when we’re not there to keep the water system functional for the time we are there.

This small section is heated with a 2000 watt baseboard unit for which I installed a wall mounted thermostat this weekend. Now I can accurately turn the heat down to say +45 degrees, enough to keep things from freezing but not so high as to be costly.

I have the second door, which leads to the master bedroom, mounted and usable. It still lacks trim and finishing but for this weekend I had to make repairs due to poor quality manufacturing. The top hinge wasn’t properly seated in its mortise and half the hinge screws weren’t screwed all the way in. That didn’t say much for the quality control of the manufacturer, but luckily Good Enough Construction does own at least one good, sharp, wood chisel to remedy the problem.

With a warm fire crackling in the wood stove most of the weekend, it was a beautiful fall respite. The leaves are at their peak of autumn splendor and most likely winter isn’t far off. Just about the time I’m ready to paint, I’ll also be ready to plow the first snow of the season.

No matter, any weekend at Tangent Lodge puts me closer to retirement.