February 06, 2021

Haight St. Update

January is not a quiet month for small businesses.  There's all the catch-up to do after the holidays on top of all the work to close out the books for the past year, along with getting tax information prepared (since Borderlands is a corporation, our tax deadline is a month early, on March 15th).  On top of that, mid-month I took a run up to Seattle to buy a book collection (more about that in my Office Piece a bit further down in this newsletter).  Long and short of it was that it was not a productive month at the new building.  

We did make some solid inroads on finishing up the last bits of sheetrock for the bathroom but, beyond that, all that I managed to get done was hang the bathroom door. That was a job that should have taken an hour or two, tops, but instead took closer to a day and a half.  The door that I was putting in is essentially temporary.  It's enough to pass inspection and work perfectly well but . . . it's a cheap hollow-core door.  Due to the thickness of the bathroom walls, I had to special order it but I wasn't really expecting any surprises.  But, that door was _made_ of surprises.

The first thing was that there was a gap at the top of the frame.  One of the nails had split the wood and so the joint wasn't tight.  Before hanging the door, I pulled the offending nail and closed up the gap.  I figured that would be it.  Once I got the door up, however, I discovered that the door had been fitted correctly _with_ the gap so now it was too tight and was sticking at the top.  Next step was to plane the side of the door to make it narrower and fit properly.  That job done, the door closed but was a little wobbly.  I checked the hinges.

Four of the eight screws in the top hinge were loose.  I tightened them and now, guess what, there was a gap at the top of the door where I had planed it.  Oh well, not a big thing (or a big gap - the door would have needed to be planed anyway just . . . not quite so much).  Onward!
Next I installed the latch and door knob.  It was a little irritating because the mortise (i.e. the recessed area that the strike plate fits into) had been miss-cut but I was able to sort that out with some quick chisel work.  That was made more complicated because, at some point, an unknown someone had hit a nail or screw with my narrow chisel, cracking off the corner of the edge.  A hassle but I just flipped the chisel over (it was a thankfully shallow cut) and finished up.  Installed the door knob and . . . the door won't latch shut.

Subsequent investigation determined that the location of the strike (the thing in the doorframe that the latch goes into) and the location of the lock-set (the holes in the door that the door knob and latch fit into) didn't match up.  They weren't off by a whole lot but it was enough to stop the door from latching.  The fix was to make the hole in the strike plate bigger.  Rather than do that by hand with a file, I decided to take the strike back to the bookstore, where I had the tools to reshape it easily.

Back at the bookstore, I turned on my trusty compressor and grabbed a die grinder.  I figure that would make quick work of the job.  Then the compressor turned off. Check compressor, it's fine.  Check cord, it's fine.  Check circuit breaker . . . tripped.  Hummmm.  Reset breaker.  Compressor starts back up.  Runs for a minute or so. Circuit breaker trips.  Double hummmmm.  Reset breaker.  Compressor runs.  Breaker trips.

Check cord on compressor.  No problems, no wear, no short-circuit.  Take off a couple of cover plates to check wiring to compressor.  All fine. Hmmmmmm.  Plug table saw into compressor circuit, reset breaker, turn on saw.  Saw runs then; breaker trips.  Right, bad breaker (they're all quite old because . . . landlord).

Look for extension cord for compressor.  All the heavy-duty cords are at Haight St.  Unplug compressor from air-lines, move compressor to different outlet.  Hook up temporary air line.

I'm not going to bore you with all the rest of the details.  Suffice it to say that, at pretty much every step, hanging that door was a problem.  I dunno, maybe the tree was cursed or something.  But, by the end of the second day (!) that I was working on it, the door functioned properly.  

That was last week.  I have high hopes that this week will be better.  I suppose it could be worse but I'm not sure I can imagine how.  Barring some unforeseen problems though, this month and next month are going to be very heavy days at the new building.  I've got all the catch-up done, the taxes are about ready to go to the accountant, and things at the shop are running smoothly.  The permit for the new front windows will expire in April and the permit for the bathroom expires in June.  It would be a very, very good thing to get both of those jobs closed out before the permits expire.  With a bit of luck and plenty of concentration, I'm pretty sure that I can get them finished.  Certainly, you will either be hearing about a bunch of accomplishments next month or . . . I'll be getting extensions for the permits sorted out.  Let's hope for the former.

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