new laboratory door
Tuesday, September 6 2011
Operation Iraqi Freedom continues to be the oddball name of the set of recent house improvements initiated by Gretchen, one aspect of which has been the widespread replacement of ugly luan doors with either real or simulated-real doors. The latter category included a door I'd bought some years ago at Home Depot. I'd hoped it was made of plastic with a foam core and might be suitable for use as an outside door. But it turned out to be made of loosely-packed particleboard sheathed with a clamshell of pressed masonite, about the worst possible assemblage to expose to the elements. But it looked enough like a real door for Gretchen to greenlight its use for Operation Iraqi Freedom. To replace the old door, I needed to first remove a mirror I'd attached to it. Unfortunately, one of the attachment components for the mirror had been glue. I'd never tried to remove something as fragile as a glued-down mirror from a surface before.
It turns out to be possible, though it's a bitch. My method ended up using a long strip of stiff (but thin) sheet steel. I worked the steel in behind one corner of the mirror and then gradually pushed it further and further until I encountered resistance (glue). At that point I'd clamp one end of the steel strip to the door and then beat the other end with a mallet. The strip would gradually advance through the glue with every concussion, which never imparted enough force to the glass itself to damage it. This method was not perfect; at several points my metal strip dug down into the door or scratched the reflective backing on the mirror (making it somewhat less perfect). But eventually I got the mirror off the now-ruined luan door. By that point I had a crick in my back and a huge popped blister at the bottom of my right forefinger.
Meanwhile Gretchen had made a delicious safron-flavored paella.
Later in the evening, I mortised-out the countersinks for the hinges in the new laboratory door and then installed it in its opening. Unlike every other door in the house, the laboratory door is hung in a slightly-modified 30-inch-wide rough opening. The door is attached by hinges to a jack stud and latches to a strike plate in the other jack stud and there are no jambs or sill and just enough lintel to seal off the top of the door. Nevertheless, the new door was a little too wide for the hole provided, so I had sand it down to an appropriate rub-free size.
Gretchen had bought me a new key-lockable doorknob set for the laboratory to replace the slightly-cheaper knob set on the old door. This new knob set would be the third such laboratory knob set since the I began using the laboratory back in 2002.
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