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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/6/2016

I can honestly say I didn't expect this.

It's all rather an evolution of the issue I discovered last week, when I acted on my decision to raise the door another 1/2" so as to make it fit properly and ended up with something apparently tilting the door. If you'll recall, I was very happy for about 30 seconds, and then I realized that the door was crooked--the speakeasy grate on the outside showed this quite clearly. Despite all my best checking and measuring and whatnot, the level quite clearly was not.


So this morning I had decided that something had to be wrong with the frame, somehow. Perhaps it was kinked or warped in some fashion, so that one end was out of square with the other. I knew that the "uphill" side (to the right) was higher than it should be (based on the level on the speakeasy grate) even though the threshold was as straight as could be, so perhaps if I took the doors back off the hinges (sigh) and undid the various set screws I could see what was what and put it back into place.

I got the doors off okay and then proceeded to take the set screws out. I knew I was on the right track when I took out the extended one on the right-hand hinge and all of the sudden the frame shifted--not much, but a little to be sure. I checked and checked, rechecked, and tightened, and made sure that both side of the frame were level front-back and right-left. Once I made very sure of that I put in a couple of screws loosely to hold the frame into place and checked it again a half dozen times.

I seemed to be on the right track, but I was mildly confused. I'm a good enough engineer and have worked with wood enough to know that while that frame was indeed off by a little bit it really was not much, and it didn't seem like this would have messed it up as badly as the level showed.

Then I went to put the doors back on after taking a quick break for lunch. I decided to start with the problematic right-hand door so I could address any issues immediately, and after wrestling with the door to get it at the right height and such I suddenly realized something...

...The speakeasy grill was still crooked. I'd bought a nifty magnetic level that I'd left on the speakeasy throughout so I could see how various adjustments were affecting it, and it was clear that it wasn't going to be level when it got on the door. Attaching the hinges to the frame would if anything accentuate it (if it were to move, which it shouldn't). I even lifted it up and set it on the threshold to double check, and sure enough - not level.

What. The. Frack.

So I took it back down and pondered for a moment--then had a thought. Took out a clean and straight ruler (they're almost all a little nicked after this project!) and checked the actual speakeasy itself...

...And sure enough, it's not on the door straight. It's crooked.

Just to be sure I moved the door into the room onto the tile and checked it again. Then moved it around so it leaned up against the wall and checked it again.

The speakeasy is on crooked. Slanted up nicely toward the "right", making the door look like it was off even though it wasn't. Took several pictures (below) and measured it several ways to verify this. The guys at ETO Doors apparently don't pay as much attention to this part as one might hope...

And good grief. I probably had the stupid thing on right last week, if I'd realized the problem was the speakeasy grate in the first place.

As it turns out at least there's some good news about the speakeasy grill. It is basically just attached with a bunch of fancy nails attached to large covers, looking rather like huge thumbtacks. The "ends" of each leg where it attaches down are rather large, so I think that with a bit of careful effort I'll be able to pull it off and reposition to cover the existing holes and square it up nicely.

So that is tomorrow's activity. The doors are going back on their hinges (with a bit of glue to help strengthen them I think; removing them a half dozen times has me worried about the holes now) while I take the speakeasy grill completely off for the time being. The frame itself is at least arguably better now and I'm hoping things will go better next time around.

Pics below.

I swear on a stack of dingo's kidneys I'm never buying another double door again...

Steven in Colorado


A closeup showing the problem. The darker wood is a level stick of trim, and it's sitting ON the bottom parts of the grill. The paler wood above that is the bottom of the speakeasy opening. Note the larger gap over towards the left; that's the "uphill" side that the grill slants towards.

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