DIY, You Are Dead To Me

For reasons with which I shall not detain you, I have been trying to hang a door in the interstices of the Maison Des Girrafes. The door frame exists, so I needed to find a door to fit.  That’s when Mrs Gee and I went to our local Boutique de Bricolage to buy a cheap internal door – one of those lightweight ones made from pressed hardboard panels on a timber frame.

I have hung doors before. I have even made doors. I have fitted door furniture. Easy, and, moreover, Peasy.

The task fell to me to make the door fit the frame. I sawed a bit off the bottom. I sanded. I sanded some more. I brought the door from my workspace (in the garden) to the doorframe (upstairs, round several tricky corners). It didn’t fit. This went on for quite a few tries, stretching over several days. Or weeks. My obsession with this door started to build.

I bought a new electric sander (my old one having conked out long ago). I even bought an electric plane. More tricky trips up and down stairs, It still didn’t fit.

This weekend I decided that enough was enough. I planed and planed and sanded and sanded and planed and sanded with fierce determination in the hot sun. I wasn’t putting up with any more nonsense from this door. Oh joy! The door fit the frame — just.

That’s when I decided to rebate the butt hinges into the frame. Realising that I no longer had a chisel, I repaired straightway to above-mentioned Boutique de Bricolage to buy a new one, clean and sharp. Hinges fitted. No problem! Door fitted. Slightly more of a problem, as it’s hard to keep the door clear of the floor when screwing in the hinges. A few shims of scrap wood under the door, and the help of Offspring#1, and it was all done.

And, what do you know, the door swung freely on the hinges. Wonderful!

Except… Ninety-five per-cent shut, and I couldn’t open the door again. It had become snagged on our uneven flooring, something I hadn’t factored in. I was stuck upstairs. With the help of Mrs Gee passing me tools through the gap on the other side, I wrenched the door free.

As a result of all this palaver I suffered heat exhaustion, with the dehydration, headaches and nausea that goes with it. Two days later I am still slightly unwell.

As for the door, it now stands fully open with a notice attached that reads something like

DO NOT CLOSE THIS DOOR. The last time this door was closed was 30 February 1739. The Consequences of that Event are Too Dreadful to Relate.

It’s clear that I need to remove another centimetre or so from the bottom of the door. This will mean taking the door off the hinges, taking it downstairs and working on it again, presumably with many more futile trips too and fro. Whether there is a centimetre of internal frame left to remove is another matter – the door might be rendered useless in the process.

But that will be for another day. Or week, Or month.

For now, all I can say is this: I fought the door, and the door won.

About Henry Gee

Henry Gee is an author, editor and recovering palaeontologist, who lives in Cromer, Norfolk, England, with his family and numerous pets, inasmuch as which the contents of this blog and any comments therein do not reflect the opinions of anyone but myself, as they don't know where they've been.
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