house – day 131 – it’s in the detail

I was awake early this morning, lying in bed thinking about various house issues, one of which was how to drill the narrow doors for the latches without going through the sides. I came up with an elaborate scheme, which should work, using bits of timber screwed together to form a flat platform.

I had a couple of admin things to do before I set off and Fiona had a networking event to go to, so she wasn’t coming with me today. As is often the case, she was running late, so I offered to drive her to the station on my way to the house. I contemplated calling in N&C to get the extra tiles we need for the step to the bifold doors and to get a refund for the large amount of plastic ply we have left over. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten the receipt, I need to save that for another day. I drove straight to the house from the station.

I spent what was left of the morning, fitting the strike plate for the front bedroom latch. What’s normally a straightforward, simple job is complicated by the holes and paint left over from previous installations. I need to clear out the paint and backfill with a lot of resin, then sand, prime and paint the area around the latch.  There’s not much wood left to work with, so it has to be done bit-by-bit. I had a bit of a brainwave and decided I should do it now for all the remaining door frames. I could have done it a long time ago, but for some reason, didn’t think of it. (Too many other things to think of, I guess.) I plonked some resin in the hole for the latch in the front bedroom and went off for lunch whilst it set. It normally sets pretty quickly, but I need to be sure it was set all the way through – and I was hungry.

Lunch on the beach was a bit dismal, the sky was overcast and I’d forgotten to bring anything to drink. I’d got the iPad with me, so I did a blog update then went back to the house. I finished off the bedroom pretty quickly and filled the other door frames. Whilst that was setting, I had a look at the car.  The screen wash isn’t working properly. On the dash it is showing empty, but then that light seems to come on when there’s about a third left in the tank. I topped the tank up with a couple of litres of water and tried it – water cascaded from the bottom of the vehicle. I have the complete servicing manuals for the Navara installed on my iPad, so I had a look so see if I could fix it myself. No way, the tank is buried in the wheel arch, so that’s another visit to the garage.

Time to get started on latch for the door in bedroom four. This is one of the tricky ones. The drill bit is 25mm in diameter and the door is 32mm wide and I have to drill a hole 150mm long, there’s not much room for error,. The drill bit has to go in as parallel to the sides of the door as I can. The drill guide helps, but the edge of the door isn’t square. The arrangement I eventually used was a lot simpler than the elaborate scheme I’d dreamt up this morning. I clamped two square pieces of wood on either side of the door using a set square to get a surface at right angles to the door sides. I then clamped the drill guide to these pieces of wood. By using screw clamps, I could adjust the angle of the stand until it was perfectly straight. Set-up took a while, checking and re-checking the angles, but drilling the hole took a relatively short time and was nowhere near as nerve-wracking as the first one.

Fiona had been badgering me by text all day, so around six o’clock I decided to call it a day. I wasn’t particularly enjoying myself at the house today and the idea of a pint made the prospect of lingering even less attractive. This detail work takes a lot of time and it’s boring (no pun intended). If it takes a couple of hours per door just to install the furniture, it’s going to take a full 24 hours to complete all the doors. There are plenty more other jobs that require a similar level of attention. I drove home thinking we’re going to have to spend much longer at the house each day.