Sunday, August 15, 2010

Birthday Adventures

Today is Amy's birthday. We don't usually make much of a fuss about birthdays in our house. The absence of children probably has something to do with that. Most birthdays are celebrated with a card or two, a small present or two and a cake. Today was a little different. There were no cards and Amy got her present a week and half ago when we went to see Cirque du Soleil's Ovo.

Yesterday was a busy day. I spent the morning kayaking with my friend Carol. And Amy and I spent the afternoon with friends celebrating the college graduation of their son, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend Bill.

Bill
The handsome graduate.

So, we hadn't planned much for today. Amy decided she wanted to spend the day with me, and so she came along to Meeting this morning - though she chose to sit outside in the sun and read rather than participate in Worship. After rise of meeting we shared the cake I made last night with the Friends in attendance. It was once most Friends had left the Meeting House that our adventure began.

Last week our caretaker, Wendyl, had asked for me help and advise on a project she had started. The kitchen of the Meeting House has a wonderful butler's pantry. At the entrance there is a swinging door which opens into the hallway. On the wall perpendicular to that door is a second swinging door which used to open into the dining room. Many years ago that doorway was blocked off to provide space for shelving in the dining room. On the pantry side the door was left in place and toenailed into the frame so that it was no longer operable.

It was this second door which had captured Wendyl's attention. She was eager to remove the door so that shelves could be added into the space of the door frame. When she asked me to take a look last week she had managed to remove several of the nails holding the door closed, but was unable to release it. I gave it an unsuccessful try, and decided that we needed a different selection of tools to attack the problem.

Which brings us to today. I'd reported the details of the project to Amy when I arrived home last week, and she'd volunteered to help (silly girl). So we left the house this morning with crowbar and saw in hand. The crow bar made quick work of getting the door open. The goal, though was to remove the door. This proved to be much more difficult than any of us ever expected.

There are a couple of hinge configurations currently available that allow a door to swing both ways. One involves specialty hinges which are screwed into the frame and the door, like standard hinges. The other variety involves a pin that holds the top of the door and a spring mechanism that does the work that is attached to the bottom of the door. The hinge mechanism on this door was most like that. This might have been a fairly easy extraction had both sides of the doorway been accessible - but one side of this doorway is a wall, so access to the edge of the door was non-existent. Method number one was to unscrew the plates above and below the doors. That didn't work because there wasn't enough give in the door to lift in off the pins at the either the top or bottom.

Then we decided that we should chisel out around the plate that accepted the pin at the top of the door. This necessitated a trip home to pick up chisels. After the trip home (about 15 minutes round-trip) and the yummy lunch Wendyl made for us we went to work chiseling out the wood around the top plate. After this work we were able to wiggle the door more but still could no get it loose. Careful examination with a flashlight revealed that the pin was about the same thickness as my finger, and the plate included a large tab that stuck further up into the framing.

After much discussion, examination of both the top and bottom mechanisms, and much wiggling of the door we decided to go with the slightly less elegant method. We pulled out the circular saw, draped off a good portion of the room with plastic and sliced the door in the middle (side to side). Space didn't allow us to slice completely through the door, but it didn't take much separate the two halves. After cleaning up the cut on the bottom of the door, which we did outside, and some cleanup our adventure was done, for now. The pantry is used for folding table storage, so the bottom half of the door is going back into the frame with shelves above.

We did get a small surprise - a non-structural two by four in the center of the opening. I did attempt to remove it but there was not enough support for the dry wall and that attempt was abandoned.

doorway
The end result.

pin
The top pin.

After our adventure we returned home to relax and promptly fell asleep. We both had nice, unplanned, late afternoon naps. Not exactly what we expected this morning, but a nice day anyway.

The birthday celebrations will continue - there's another cake to make (once Amy decides what flavor she wants) and the annual birthday lobster to be eaten (at one of the number of local restaurants that offer such fare).

1 comment:

paula said...

that is an adventure and i like that pin! how weird is that non-structural two by four, i like it too. it sounds kind of exhausting this door thing, i am always amazed how something so seemingly simple can turn into such a process.