Lessons Learned

When paths collide.

When paths collide.

I’ve lived in my house for more than a decade and there are plenty of quirky things about it that I simply choose to ignore — but it wasn’t until I was having to keep the house clean, neat and inviting to potential buyers that I realized one major traffic flow annoyance (and I’m surprised not one of the 30 people/couples that viewed the house mentioned it).

I never noticed the problem, because I rarely use the guest room (the door on the right). It stays closed (to keep the cats from puking on the new carpet therein…so they puke on the new carpet in my bedroom instead).

But I was going in and out of the guest room a lot over the last five months to plump the pillows and what have you, and I kept running into the bathroom door.

So of course, now that the house is off the market and no one will notice or care, I decided to rehang it on the inside of the jamb so that it opens in.

That required cutting new hinge gains in the jamb…and filling and fixing the hinge gains on the door (I’m pretty sure whomever “cut” those used a butter knife to hack them out.)

paintWhile I had it down, I decided to tighten and peg the mortise-and-tenon joints (like my waistline over the last three days, they were spreading), then apply a fresh coat of paint to both sides. (Then hang out and watch the paint dry so I didn’t have to clean up white paw prints.)

The door is 32″x 82″ x 1-1/4″ of solid wood, and is both unwieldy and heavy. Getting it properly positioned by myself to mark the new hinge locations was a chore – made easier by use of a large handscrew clamped at the bottom of the knob edge (in effect, it created a foot) and the deployment of copious shims. Also, I can only assume the cursing helped.

Once I had it rehung and swinging properly, I marked the amount to take off the knob edge – because naturally, the interior opening is slightly more narrow (and out of square in a different direction) than is the exterior opening. I marked the waste directly onto the door off the jamb; turns out, it was 3/8″ from the bottom tapering to 1/8″ at the top.

So, after removing the knobs, plates and mortise lock, I placed the door back across my sawbenches then used a track saw to quickly and accurately trim the waste.

lockWith the lock out of its mortise, I took it apart, reversed the catch direction, then gave everything a good oiling and – with some judicious filing on the arrow-shaped thingamabob – it finally turns equally well in both directions. A Thanksgiving miracle, I tell you. (I know almost nothing about locks or metal…I got lucky.)

Then, of course, I had to cut a new mortise to recess the plate, and deepen the lock mortise a wee bit. Sure wish I’d not left my router plane at work – that would have turned a 15-minute job into a 5-minute lark. (Would have made the hinge mortises a lot quicker, too.)

There. I fixed it.

There. I fixed it.

Now given my headline, you may be wondering about the lessons I learned:

1) Locks are cool and not as confusing as I thought

2) Two full sets of tools (one for home, one for the office) would make my life easier

But here’s the most important lesson:

3) If I don’t require advice on how to go about something, don’t post about it on Facebook until after the job is complete. (Same goes for mentioning projects to my mother.)

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About fitz

Editor & content director for Popular Woodworking, ABD PhD focused on early modern drama, freelance content and copy editor/writer, ailurophile
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6 Responses to Lessons Learned

  1. Jim Kelley says:

    Another interesting and entertaining entry. Congrats on completion of your project. You’ve motivated me to visit and work on my developing “retirement” woodshop space.

  2. Very interesting project and a good job. What did you use to fill in the old hinge gains? Just curious.

  3. mike mays says:

    Looks very good; you reversed the swing of the door. don’t forget to paint all the worked on places; so you’re not doing it in the spring.
    just my two cents!

  4. toolnut says:

    That would have driven me nuts! Doors are supposed to open into a room. (The exceptions being closets with shelves in the way.) The corrected version looks a whole lot nicer.

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