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Another Day, Another Door

Published by GrahamLewis in the blog Reflections on My Golden River. Views: 82

I've mentioned before my limited handyman talents, and my stubborn insistence on doing things that "seem" manageable, and are manageable with ease to people with experience in handling them. To me each one is more or less a new experience, which means I find new mistakes to make, mistakes that, over time, would become simply learning memories. That's what I tell myself anyway.

This time it was the bifold door to the linen closet. The old one kept coming loose, and the adjustments were getting harder and harder. Finally it simply wouldn't adjust, and I took it off. A neat solution, I thought, but one that was summarily rejected by the distaff side of the family parental unit. So I bought a new one to install. Not a totally new experience, I'd replaced the coat closet one a few years back. That one, though, required a custom-made door, because the previous owners had raised the level of the kitchen and hall floor by simply placing wood over the old flooring, rather than removing it. Which meant no off-the-shelf door would fit. Which meant a quality replacement, since the "cheaper" ones don't lent themselves to being shortened. Point is, that was a good quality door with quality parts, and all went relatively smoothly.

This door was off-the-shelf, and made from pressed wood instead of solid wood. Kind of like really strong cardboard, and with pre-drilled holes for the pivot pieces, which were themselves of plastic and cheap thin metal. And rather vague instructions. But I seemed to know what I was doing, and managed to insert the pivot pieces by using a hard-rubber mallet to pound them into holes they didn't want to go into. There were four holes for three pieces, and the instructions didn't say exactly which ones go in which holes. So I did some calculating and assuming.

The hardware brackets went on relatively easily, once I did some adjusting for the fact that (of course) two of the holes had to be drilled right next to nails holding the frame into the wall. But I did it, and the time came to put the door in. Well, again of course, I'd put the pivots in exactly wrong, despite all my calculations, so that the door would have to be put on backwards, something I was sure my wife might notice and object to (she's out of town these few days and this was to be a surprise project, done when she got home). So I had to pull those pivots out, and for two of them it meant that the cheap plastic sleeves broke off, leaving most of the sleeve inside. It's a rule by the way, that the more cheaply made a product is, the harder it is to use and install -- but at least it's cheaper.

Anyway, after a lot of sweating and cursing and improvising -- the floor seemed to be covered with almost every tool from my downstairs workshop -- I pushed and prayed and finally popped the pivots into place. The door works, and seems to slide smoothly and solidly. And it looks good. After only about two hours on something a pro could probably knock off in 45 minutes, including a cigarette break. But I'm reasonably sure that my third door will go much smoother, when, not if, it's needed.

And I can put another notch in my handyman belt. If I can figure out how to do it without damaging the belt.
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  • GrahamLewis
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  • GrahamLewis
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