Sunday, July 06, 2014

Creative Door Repair

The back door of our home never quite opened and closed smoothly. It was necessary to lift the doorknob while closing it in order to prevent the bottom from scraping the threshold.

Very recently the upper hinge pulled completely away from the door frame.  My wife and daughter couldn't finesse the door closed any more.  I re-tightened the screws, but the holes for the screws had widened, so the screw threads no longer had enough wood to bite into.  The hinge wouldn't stay secure for long.

My first impulse was to replace the screws with longer ones of the same diameter.  But not finding any in my collection, I realized I would have to visit the hardware store.

I really enjoy going to the hardware store.  Not the big, nation-wide chain stores like Home Depot or Lowes, though.  I prefer the small, neighborhood shops that seem to carry the odd-ball bits of fixture parts that were used in our neighborhood over fifty years ago when our homes were built.  Our stores are usually staffed by a retired handyman or engineer.  Or maybe the guy just likes hanging out there, giving out free advice without even getting paid for it.

Alas I was too busy to make the trip.  So I busied my mind, thinking of alternative repair options while carrying out the many tedious chores I had to deal with.

My next idea was to plug the screw holes with wooden dowels.  In fact I had many ¼ inch dowel pins left over from an old wood-working project.  I could use those.  But because they were much larger than the screws and the holes, I'd have to drill out the holes first before inserting the pins.  And then I'd have to drill pilot holes into the dowels themselves so that I could get the screws into the pins.  And I'd probably have to use carpenter's glue to hold the dowel pin in place before drilling.

If I had much smaller dowels, I could simply stick them into the holes and jam the screws in.  This would certainly be enough to keep the screws fastened tightly.  But because I didn't have the smaller dowels, I'd have to go to the hardware anyway.

Finally the solution came to me.  I had all the dowels I needed right outside my door!  All I had to do was stroll through the wooded area of our yard to find the right size twig.  Which I did.  It took about 30 seconds.

One oak twig about four inches long was enough to fill all four screw holes.  I broke the twig into four pieces and inserted them into the holes and tightened the screws.

And now the door opens and closes easily, without needing to be lifted, and without scraping the bottom.

This to me is what makes home repair an art form.


Giovanni said...

That's awesome - fix what you can with whatever you have on hand. Worst case scenario, it doesn't work and you learned a lesson. Best case (yours), it works great, you learned a lesson, AND you didn't have to spend any money. Although I agree with you about hardware stores - the little neighborhood ones are the best.

Giovanni @ Coastal Contract Hardware

Author said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Giovanni!