Finetuning the Screen Door


Date: 1 May 1996


A good screen door can be a blessing, and an ALMOST good one can

be a greater curse than a fully busted and worthless one. You have to

cope with it every time you enter or leave the house, and most folks would

be better off without one, unless the climate demands it. We're not very

bug-heavy here but it's good to keep up some sort of shield against small

birds and Deadly Orgone (DOR).


We had a screen door that was hinged on the opposite side of the

frame from the main door. That made it inconvenient and plain WRONG. It

was twice as hard to get in as it ought to have been and we had to walk

all the way around the door to get the mail from the mailbox instead of

just reaching out like is our god given right to.


Suddenly it struck me. A screen door is made up of a bunch of

components which can be just as easily taken apart as it is to disassemble

them into a new configuration. In short to remove the door, flip it over

upside down, re-order the panels in the frame, turn the handles

right-side up and away you go.


And by god that's exactly how it went. Only it had these little

things; it stuck at the bottom a little, and it wasn't latching quite

right - it would sometimes stick for complex mechanical reasons which I

could only explain to you with the device in hand but rest assured I know

EXACTLY why it would stick. AND now it would flap all the way open in the

prevailing wind, since there was no spring or anything, calling for a

hydraulic closer, which I did, and that part worked out fine. I found I

had to remove the door again, PROP IT UP IN THE DOORFRAME with thin strips

of wood holding it about 1/8 in. above the what-do-you-call-it, the THING,

the thing in the door that you step on, the wooden or stone... not lintel,

the lintel is on the top, but anyway holding the door up above it, and

PRE-DRILLED new holes for the screws which hold the hinge to the frame.

Which was interesting because the new holes were just above the old ones,

and I could see the top edge of some of the old holes. I tried to aim the

holes upward a little that I drilled, and wasn't worried about the screws

pulling downward into the old holes because of the GRIPPING PRESSURE of

the thing on the screw, the part, the curly part that goes around, what is

that called? But the PRESSURE it exerts on the wood around it is PARALLEL

TO THE SCREW'S AXIS! Thus gripping strongly the wood.


It all came out okay though, and I got the thing now so you let it

go and forget it, and it sighs slowly shut and latches with a click. With

hardly a squeak either because the hinges, I should explain, the hinges on

the door are one long piece with about five hinge parts in it where it

actually attaches to the door and the door to it. And those hinge parts

were put up against the wood of the door frame so every time you open the

door you hear the sound of five aluminum cylinders being rubbed against

wood. Horrible, reverberating in the metal door like a two-meter-high

sounding board. So I marked where those spots were, the ones that weren't

already marked, aluminum being a soft metal you can actually write with it

IF YOU HAVE TO, the rubbing cylinders rubbed some of their SUBSTANCE off

on the wood of the doorframe. I however used a pencil. Then when I took

the door off I took a rasp, a type of rough-toothed file, and rasped out

those areas so there would be no more contact between the wood and

aluminum, and that worked also.


What is really unbelievable, besides doing that final perfecting

of repositioning the door, de-squeakifying and unsticking (having done the

Inversion and Re-ordering a few weeks ago) and installing the closing

device, what the hell is THAT called, a closer? Anyway, what is really

unbelievable is that I also bought, re-wired, rebuilt and installed a

vast Copper Saucer lighting fixture for the kitchen, but that too needs

refining, which I will go into in a later report, but I did want to say

that I also, when I was out buying a new switch for the new lighting

fixture, I found at the liquidator Store some nice red leather ELBOW

PATCHES, exactly what wifey's favorite red sweater has been crying for,

since she went right through one elbow and is working on the other one, I

say WAS, because now those patches have been sewed on that sweater by ME.


And that was just today.


Look upon my works, ye mighty, and tremble.