Monday, June 16, 2008

The Three Hundred Dollar Sixty Dollar Doors

Nearly Out Smarting Myself...

When we exited our recent real estate closing, one of the only things that still hadn't been refinished or replaced inside of our new/old house here in Knoxtown was the interior doors.

They were actually still in pretty good condition considering that they were over 40 years old, but through the years the old luan finish had been painted on the side facing into the individual rooms and the hinges and knobs were showing their age and I--being the self proclaimed king of "Do-it-yourselfers" in Eastern Tennessee--decided they needed replacement about the time we moved in back in late April.

The process of replacing an interior door today on a newer home can be as easy as pulling out the old pre-hung door/frame/casing and sliding in a new door/frame assembly, securing it in place, and installing new trim.

Home Depot and Lowe's have entire isles filled with assemblies from which to choose if you're interested.

Not so in houses built in the days when Men were Men and battery powered screw guns weren't invented.

My Old doors were custom built into the rough 2x4 openings and the edges were hand cut to accept the hinges and knob assemblies. Further, as I learned this weekend, in 1966 in Knoxtown a 24" door was actually 23-3/4" wide and the 32" doors varied somewhere between 31-3/4" and 32" wide, depending on the room (and mood) you were in while holding your saw and chisel.

So any way, back in early May when I ordered and had delivered the picket fence panels I've since returned for Missy the Turbo Pup's Country Canine Compound, I also had a single 32" x 6'-8" interior six-panel door slab dropped in my carport with the intention of testing my ability to complete the necessary replacement process on a single door.

Silly me...

What has ensued since in my well intended saga was a tool purchasing orgy verging on the absurd, delayed by weeks of time spent at first waiting on tools to arrive from E-bay vendors and most recently by sheer procrastination.

Regardless, I'm proud to report that as of about two PM this afternoon I had successfully hung SIX new door slabs in all of the interior door openings of our abode.

Take a look with me as I reminisce about all of the contraptions and doo-hickies I had to acquire and add to my ever growing tool collection in order to accomplish this super-human feat.

Here's a view looking at one of the old doors covered with the weapons used to wrestle it from it's frame and install it's replacement.

See that long thin ominous looking thing there on the right stretching almost the full height of the door?

That's almost $200 worth of Bosch door hinge template designed to make cutting the little depressions needed in the door frame and slab easier. Since my door frames already had hinges previously, my project was supposed to be half as hard and twice as much fun, Right?

It only took about three weeks after the template showed up in a box at my front door for me to actually USE IT for it's intended purpose.

And here's what really started it all--a nice glass covered box featuring router bits of all sizes, shapes, and purposes. (Anyone but me notice that only the 1/2" straight bit is missing? Why pass up the opportunity to buy a "set" when you only need one item is my policy--it should be yours too.)

Next we come to the router motor department. I already had the big old cheep Black and Decker router there on the right...the little Bosch Palm router was purchased while still under the mistaken belief that the router bit template which worked with the aforementioned router door hinge template required the Palm router to complete my new project.

Turns out I was wrong, and the new bit template only fits routers built by Bosch that have been discontinued and only are available used on E-bay. Since the word "return" isn't in my policy statement when it comes to new tools, the little palm router still sits unused in it's plastic storage box as I write this evening.

Finally, we come to the mundane tools that are a necessity on every project...things like clamps and cordless screwdrivers and stuff:

I will point out that that yellow and black thing there on the right below the Dewalt Screw gun is a Dewalt door knob template that lets you cut the hole for the knob and the strike without having to make any measurements except the distance from the bottom of the door slab to the center line of the holes.

I'll never live without one again, and I just may mount it in a frame and hang it on the wall in my office because it was worth every penny when working on six doors in one effort.

And regarding my original posting title? What started out as one three hundred dollar door (actually four hundred if you include the palm router) has been reduced to six sixty dollar doors through the economy of scale and mass production.

Regardless of the cost, I still claim the self-appointed title of KING OF HOME IMPROVEMENT in Eastern Tennessee this evening. Who cares about actually saving money if you're having fun in the process and not causing any fatal injuries?

So now all that's left to do now is take them all back outside after work this week to add some paint, and then bring them back inside and re-install them each in their own little openings to hopefully provide privacy for the next fifty years.

Time to tackle some electrical wiring in the basement now...a home owner's work is never done...


HEATHER said...
You may want to look at this place for some of your building supplies. They have great products at dirt cheap prices.

Anonymous said...

I never met a tool i didn't like. Thought of that right off the top of my pointed head. HEEE!!
Rick H