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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Construction Report: Screened Door...

I may have mentioned my brother-in-law, Junior before. He has been known to dabble in the trades and can usually figure out an efficient way to build or fix most things. Like the time that he found it to be more cost effective to repair a leaf rake, rather than splurge for a new one at the Home Depot.

You might recall that during a brief hiatus from my regular line of work, I did some freelance craftsmanship for him, just to help pass the time.

So this past weekend, we were over at my Mother-in-laws house, and Junior had come up with a plan to build a screened door for the cabana out back. The thinking was, with scrap wood and some screen from the shed, he could whip together a nice door for less than the $23.00 that one of the big box stores wanted for the cheapest model on sale.
I suppose I could just cut to the chase and tell you that nothing ever seems to work as planned, and as evidence, I offer you this picture of a stool Junior made out of scrap wood.The only thing missing is the yellow caution tape. But, on to the project. First, as Norm Abrahm, the guy on The New Yankee Workshop says, safety first. Never mix power tools with beer.

Actually, Junior came up with a really good design. The door frame is made from 1x3 wood left over from some other project (see stool above) with a thin piece of plywood on the bottom for sturdiness and to keep a little dog from scratching on the screen. At about mid point, there is a 1X4 horizontal stabilizer, not only for sturdiness, but to allow two separate pieces of screen to be used. Pretty smart, eh?
But the screen was too short (even in two pieces), and he still needed the hardware. Plus, with all the inadvertent nicks and chips, he had to purchase some wood putty to fill the voids. Before we ever did a dry fit, we had to make a quick run over to Culebra Hardware to get some supplies, and by now, the parts and pieces (not even considering the time) had exceeded the $23.00 Junior was trying to save. Another brother-in-law, Ed from Rockport, got in on the action. In total, four of us got our hands dirty on this project. Bob Vila would be spinning in his grave (if he were in fact deceased).Please don't misunderstand - it isn't that we aren't all capable of a simple project like building a door to slap on to the front of a cabana, I think it is the overall effect of having four different people measuring, cutting, stapling and screwing. Screwing the door to the frame.After multiple attempts, we figured out where we needed to make a few trims and shaves of the existing frame, and eventually, a grill full of fajitas and a few 12-packs of beer later, we had the door in place.The final touch was a fresh coat of paint, added by another brother-in-law, Armando (no relation to Armando Montelongo). Looks pretty good for a little more than $23.00 and about 4 hours of labor from four of us.

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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