I still have plenty of things I need or want to do to the house. Some may be outside the realm of possibility but many aren’t. It can be hard to decide what to work on without an immediate need, but I had house guests last month for PAX and I was pretty sure they’d love bedroom doors that latch and can be locked.
When we moved into the house, almost all the doors had old skeleton key hardware, including the front door. Sure we were planning on replacing the front door, but I liked the thought of security between now and then. I removed the skeleton key assembly, filled the cavity with scrap wood, drilled holes for the modern door hardware and installed the spare modern handle I had. I slept a lot easier after that. Considering none of the doors upstairs latched anymore save our bedroom door, I figured eventually I’d get around to replacing them.
Between then and now we’ve had multiple overnight guests. While most of the time we only needed the guest room to accommodate them, two or three times the study has also been used. The bathroom and guest room both had eye-and-hook “locks,” but the study didn’t and every time a guest stayed there I felt self-conscious about its absence. I decided I had to resolve the situation before PAX.
The biggest road block (aside from how ugly the doors will look until the patching and painting is completed) was filling the existing hardware cavities. It needed to be warm enough to use the table saw and I needed the wood. Luckily I had more than enough spare wood from the other project for the task, and I did myself a favor and cut all the filler pieces at once. I only had one new door knob, so I bought three more and some wood putty to patch what holes remained.
With the filler piece installed, it was a quick matter to drill the holes for the new hardware, but the new mechanism had a wider faceplate than the old one. Fixing this managed to be the most time consuming part of each door, especially since none of the original mechanisms had been centered in the door to begin with.
Anyone with older doors can relate to how laughably badly they will line up with the hardware on the frame. Once the handle was installed, I had to mark on the frame where the door would latch properly and then modify the doorframe to accommodate the new hardware. Once these were installed I could start patching. This stuff takes forever to dry and requires a special primer, but whatever. I’m not entirely happy with the way it turned out but that’s the issue with sanding doors that potentially contain lead paint….. Still, the doors are white so it’s good enough, and it’s nice to finally have fully-functional hardware and to not worry about it falling apart in my hands.