Thursday, September 20, 2012

I cut the wrong end off the front door

I cut the wrong end off the front door. Don’t laugh! It’s easier to do than you might think.

I was trying to stop the wooden screen door scraping on the front step.

I tried other remedies first. A couple of months ago, I took the door off its hinges and carefully planed the bottom edge. I felt like a true carpenter.

Unfortunately, I proved the truism that a carpenter is only as good as his tools.

Because my handyman outings are so rare, I refuse to buy expensive tools. The cheap plane I bought was so blunt I might as well have licked the bottom of the door for all the wood it took off.

When I hung the door back up, it still scrapped on the front step.

Having used up my allotted hours for handyman duties that month, the front screen door continued to make a high-pitched ear-piercing scraping sound for the next two months.

Why didn’t I fix the door during the next month’s allotted handyman hours, I hear you ask? I used those to weed the garden and poison the weeds growing through the pavers. A broad definition of handymanning, I admit – one that most would categorise as gardening. But since it uses equipment purchased at a large hardware warehouse, I feel entitled to categorise the activity under ‘handymanning’.

So this week, radical surgery was required.

No, not leaving the screen door off for good. That would stop the scraping noise, but risks filling the house with flies, mosquitos and the family of possums that live in our roof but who I suspect would happily move further indoors.

Instead, I proposed to cut a sliver of wood off the bottom with my trusty $8 saw. What could go wrong?!

For starters, I lay the door on the paved patio, so that as the door vibrated with each saw cut, the lacquer was rubbed off its underside.

When I stood the door against the wall to admire my handywork, it looked like that possum family had spent all night scratching it to try to get inside.

That’s when I noticed that I had cut a fine sliver off the top of the door, instead of the bottom.

I’m nothing it not dogged. So I lay the door on its other side and cut a sliver off the real bottom, instead of the other bottom, which was really the top.

Of course I again forgot to lay the door on any protective sheet. When I was finished the other side was scraped worse than the first. (I may have sawed a little more roughly the second time around. I am dogged but a little ratty when hot and bothered.)

It now looked like the possum family was trying to escape from inside the house. Perhaps they couldn’t stand the high-pitched ear-piercing scraping sound of the front door either?

I again stood the screen door against the wall and admired my handywork. 

What was once a beautifully lacquered cedar screen door now stood scratched and leaning sideways on my rough cut, like a refugee from Cyclone Yasi.

I sighed as I trudged towards the garage to fetch the lacquer. I touched it up and hung it back up.

Surprisingly, the screen door no longer scrapes on the front step. It swings silently open. And closed. It’s doing everything a screen door should, including keeping out the possum family.

And from a distance you can barely notice the ragged bottom, both of them.