Fixing the Shed’s Door


Earlier this summer I did some upkeep on the board fence, pergola and yard gate of my house. Swapped some rotten boards and beams, put on some paint, whacked a few nails back in that had crept out. Easy work since I didn’t have to design anything: I just measured the original parts and copied them with fresh material. And today I cycled to the builder’s store and brought a few short boards home to fix the door of the garden shed. The lower four boards were rotten. Pleasing work, not least because I noted the need myself and did the job in my own good time.

What about you, Dear Reader? Done any carpentry lately?

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

15 thoughts on “Fixing the Shed’s Door”

  1. “Easy work since I didn’t have to design anything: I just measured the original parts and copied them with fresh material”

    For copying more complex stuff I recommend a 3-D printer for rapid prototyping -see “Rule 34” by Charles Stross.

    If the fence was originally designed to keep away Things from The Far Side I recommend you follow the original design to within a tolerance of one Ångström (there is a story by H. P. Lovecraft about what happens if you get sloppy about maintaining old stuff to the letter of the instructions).


  2. Being a house owner myself I know that there are always carpentry and different projects to be done at all times pretty much. As soon as you think you have it all done, you notice something else.
    I recently built a safety gate for our deck that is high up with tall stairs, I was going to simply buy a pre fabricated gate for it but decided to build one from scratch instead, went better than I thought it would actually and turned out nicely.
    Now I’m pondering building some kind of fire wood storage structure but I haven’t decided on a design yet.
    Carpentry can indeed by very pleasing and rewarding work if you have the time to relax and do it in your own time at your own pace, however with 3 kids (and another on the way now appearently) and a million things to do I find it increasingly difficult to find enough time to do these type of projects. You have enough to do to just make things go around with the basic chores that any extra project like this unfortunately is a luxury.


  3. I’m rebuilding my roof. It wasn’t well put together to start with. Poor quality materials slapped together by people who were clearly unknowing and uncaring. On such construction problems the hardest part is deciding where to stop. Everything is, to some degree, wrong. Some of it is very clearly so wrong it needs to be ripped out and replaced. Other parts are functional but something short of right.

    There is always the urge to start with a clean sheet of paper and build it right from jump street. In some cases tearing it all down and starting over is the way to go. Deciding on, and sticking to, a arbitrary transition point from old to new is always stressful. Easy to do ‘just a little bit more’ and ‘a touch more’ and …

    You probably know this but whacking nails back in is seldom a long-term solution. They will tend to back out at ever faster rates every time they get hammered back in. Substituting a larger diameter nail, ie: a 10d for an 8d, cut off to limit length if need be, works fairly well if the hole isn’t too over-sized. Slathering the old nail with a suitable glue, Gorilla glue or epoxy, works and an over-sized nail and glue is belt and suspenders.

    My favorite solution, my final solution, is to pull the nail out and substitute a deck screw. I’ve never seen a screw back out on its own.

    I’m always slow to start a repair. Small jobs are fun but any job can snowball quickly. Go to replace a loose board and it is likely you find out the entire structure is questionable. A friend started a fence repair and ended up essentially replacing it. After he was done the neighbor told him the fence needed to be moved as it was across the property line. The noise and digging prompted the neighbor to look closely at where the old fence was installed. The whole thing had to be dismantled and reinstalled a few feet away. Figures the neighbor would inform him after the new fence was installed.

    A good example of a one hour project growing into an expensive and stressful two week ordeal. I love the Zen feel of calm and competence working with hand tools and the warm glow of doing a job well. Years afterward I see an old project and smile.


  4. I’ve gathered that unless we’re talking leaky plumbing, your number one priority in house maintenance should always be the roof. If it leaks, anything you fix indoors will soon be ruined anyway.


  5. During the time I was in high school, We roofed a barn, tore down a barn and a goat shed, took out some pens, made new pens, etc. Right before I went off to college in 1953, we were almost through with the barn. I took a small board, drove three nails into it, and installed it as a temporary latch on the barn door. It is still in use today.


  6. Last year I had to give living on a farm with a workshop and move a small terraced house with no external storage [unemployment – the scourge of the archaeologist]. This entailed disposing of my stock of wood and other materials, but I now have a sitting room fully equipped for power carpentry.


  7. (OT) Yes! Fermented herring season begins on Thursday!

    BTW, I am told that wood from larch trees have some natural protection against rot, unfortunately larch wood is not considered to be high quality carpentry material.

    John Cleese (operating a slide projector): The larch!


  8. Great to hear you’ve got some work to do, since you’re so devoted to DIY-work. Having a house sure finds work for idle hands to do. We’ve enforced a truss and ceiling on the porch. So hopefully that will stand until we have to rebuild the roof in a couple of years. The running project now is to replace an old staircase.


  9. … or why not skip that intermediate technology go for the teleporting devices at once?

    I may have said it before here or you may have heard it elsewhere: “A homeowner’s life has two happy days: the one when he moves in and the one when he moves out.”

    (Actually, the fulfillment one feels when completing projects like this shed door can at least provide an illlusion of happiness for a while…)


  10. Two weeks ago I built a small box to house my British beer engine a friend of mine brought over from the UK. It fits two kegs of beer and has a small compartment for an ice pack to help lower the internal temperature a few degrees lower than room temperature.
    I have zero woodshop skills, and it looks like hell, but it’s functional. Anything that lets me serve beer makes me happy!


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