email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Garden Enclosure

The door is set in place.  Finally.  It was a struggle, and one I didn't expect.  I originally laid the door on the basement place and build a frame around it that seems accurate and solid.  The idea seemed so simple.  Build a frame around the door, measure the distances between the frame parts, and dig holes in the ground to put 4x4 posts to match so that the door frame could be attached to the 4x4" posts.


Reality intruded...  Even with screws every foot. the frame sagged as I tried to put it up to the posts.  And even 4x4" posts move some even when set 2' deep.  It's not like building a door into a house where everything is pretty solid.

I won't bore you with the details.  No, wait, I will.

First, I tried to just attach the hinge side of the door frame to the 4x4" post that had been set into soil and rocks crushed as tightly as I could get it, for 2 weeks.  Well, we've had a lot of rain lately and apparently the soil wouldn't dry deep.  I tried everything I could to keep that post level and packed.  I tamped the soil around it with a short 4' piece of 4x4" post, I stomped around, and I surrounded it with plastic sheeting to keep the rain away.  I clamped other 4x4" posts to it in 3 directions to hold it in place.  I gave it time to dry.

When I finally attached the door to the hinge-side post, I braced the door so it's weight wouldn't pull on it.  It finally seemed to be set in place.

So then I worked on the latch side.  I somehow had mis-measured the first time I dog the hole for the supporting 4x4" post on that side, so I pulled it loose and did it right.  I got it right the 2nd time.  Well, the "distance" was accurate.  But the squareness of the door frame was off.


I did some annoying unsquare connections to make the door frame fit the posts.  I had the door fitting properly, but the next day it wasn't.  The latch-side 4x4" post has settled a bit.  I wedged it up a bit with a board on the ground and shims pounded together using the ground board as a support) to raise that 4x4" post slightly (to square the frame).  That worked.  For 2 days...

Then it was out of square again!

There are times when I know I do not really have skills at this sort of thing.  But I can be obnoxiously persistent.  Sometimes dumb persistence and determination overcomes lacks of skills.

I FINALLY got the door frame solid with enough corner braces and screws so that, even if the posts shift slightly, they shift together as a unit.  The door latched.

And then it DIDN'T!

It was REAL close, barely catching or not.  Well, the latch may need some work.  But it was mostly just a matter of 1/16" between "sometimes" and "always" latching.  A professional would have taken some things loose and adjusted them to fit.  But I was at the limit of adjustments and would have had to a lot of filling and redrilling.  But I found some "give" around the metal door frame.

A shim stuck between the post and the metal door frame gained me that 16/th inch.  Hurray, the latch clicks closed with a simple swing of the door.  For now (after 2 weeks of fighting), it shuts and latches smoothly.  And I have a couple ideas to connect the door frame more solidly.

If it shifts more and refuses to latch again on its own, I will just put a hook&eye to hold it shut.

But everything seems to be working on the door a week later now, and I'll declare victory on that part.

It's not pretty, but it works...  And sometimes, that's the best I can do.

Next time, the inside of the garden enclosure...


Megan said...

Well, it certainly looks the goods in your photos, Mark. Very 'pretty' indeed. I hope it continues to work in the long term.

Looking forward to the next instalment ...

Sydney, Australia

Bella said...

Are the critters kept out?