Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sins of the Door Hanger

Most of the doors in my house were hung by a guy who 'knew enough to be dangerous'. Much as I liked the guy, he was not a master craftsman. He got all the requisite pieces together and in place, but not in a manner that they work harmoniously. I've rehung or reconstructed several of his door installations, and made some quick-and-dirty 'adjustments' to a couple of others to get them to at least work until I can do a more thorough job of improving them.

The ironic thing about ill-hung doors is that the difference in material cost between a door that swings silently and clicks shut like a bank vault, and a squealing door that you have to body check to get it to shut, is exactly zero.

The door I'm currently dealing with won't even shut with a body check applied. It has several problems, but the one I need to solve first is the too-deep hinge mortise pictured.

I've taken off the stop moulding at the hinge side already. It was binding against the door as the door was 'closing'. I've also stripped the paint off the hinges; painted-over hardware makes me gag.

A too-deep hinge mortise is easy to correct. Just add a shim of the correct thickness and the problem is solved. This sort of thing is why I keep a bin full of cardstock from retail packaging on hand. It tends to be excellent quality material, of various thicknesses. Here, I'm going to need about a one millimetre thick shim. A brief rummage through my cardstock bin brought forth just what I needed.

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That little punch is ideal for punching the screw holes in the shim.

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With the shim in place under the hinge leaf, the mortise depth is as it should be; the hinge leaf is flush with the door casing's surface.

The next thing I have to do is take half-an-inch of length off the bottom end of the door, so it no longer collides with the edge of the hallway carpet. That raises a point about fine-tuning a portable circular saw that I really ought to do a post about.

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195/256ths of an Inch

Pictured is my fractional inch vernier caliper in use taking the bore dimension of a hose-thread fitting. I introduced this tool in an earlier post here.

I use fractional inch measure a great deal, but until very recently, I never gave any thought to the possibility that very small fractions of an inch could be useful to actually work with; that was the province of decimal fractions of an inch or millimetres.

It came up that I needed to turn the end of a wooden pan-handle to a diameter that would be an interference/press fit in the bronze fitting in the picture, and that got me looking more closely at the caliper's resolution. What I found is rather interesting. (It is to me, at least.)

The caliper can resolve 128ths of an inch directly, and you can interpolate 256ths quite accurately. If you enlarge the photograph and look closely at the inch cursor, you'll see that it's reading 1/128th of an inch in excess of 3/4s of an inch. (That works out to 97/128ths, but don't bother with such expressions. I titled this post as I did for effect, but in actually working with such tiny fractions, it's much easier to just add them to the nearest larger fraction; hence, "1/128th of an inch in excess of 3/4s of an inch".) Let me digress here slightly with a brief list of some decimal conversions:

1/16th = 0.0625

1/32nd = 0.03125

1/64th = 0.015625

1/128th = 0.0078125

1/256th = 0.00390625

So, 1/256th of an inch is just shy of four thou. For fitting wood into a metal ring, that's press fit territory.

By interpolation, I set the caliper to 1/256th of an inch greater than the metal fitting's bore diameter and locked the slide in place there. And that's what I used to gauge the diameter of the end of the wooden handle as I turned it down. Pictured is the caliper set for that dimension -- 195/256ths of an inch, as in this post's title.

It worked. Once I got the diameter down to where the caliper would just go over it, I had my interference/press fit ready to assemble.

The rest of that story is here. (The outcome turned out not to be entirely successful, but for reasons that don't discount the validity of what Ive laid out here.) I'm looking forward to possibly finding further application for 256ths of an inch, and wood-into-metal press fits.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stainless Steel Fasteners

I was out replacing a faded flag, and I was reminded why I gladly pay the outrageous price to get stainless steel fasteners at times. That flagpole mount has been out in the weather for years, and those screws and washers still look fine.

The Home Depot has a pretty good selection of stainless steel items, but be prepared for a bit of sticker shock. Those four 10-32 screws plus nuts and washers would probably devour a ten dollar bill these days. But, hey, you can't have rusty screws holding up a pole for this flag, can you now?

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Further to 'outrageous price', this quite baffles me:

That 3 1/2" stainless steel hitch ring lag on the right was $6.69 at Canadian Tire. The No. 10 stainless steel flat washers next to it are 29 cents each at The Home Depot; so that little heap of twenty-two washers came to $6.38. What the bleep?

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

They Don't Make 'em Like This Anymore

And a good thing, too.

Pictured is a blown fuse from the fusebox in my mom's home. You can tell that it's blown, can't you? My mom could. She looked in the fusebox, spotted the ugliest fuse (the others were all the 'modern' glass-faced type), replaced it, problem solved. Sometimes, you can 'judge a book by its cover', so to speak.

On the face of the fuse it says, "ECONOMY FUSE & MFG. CO.
CHICAGO, U.S.A." From what I got from Google, I don't think ECONOMY FUSE is with us any longer.

At the base of the fuse, there's this: "PAT. AUG. 15, 1916 FEB. 27, 1917 FEB. 18, 1919 OTHERS PENDING"

We're talking antique here. This is the sort of fuse your grandparents had to replace when they made the mistake of plugging a toaster and a radio receiver into the same outlet.

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Now you can tell that it's blown.

It comes apart easily. You can see the strip of foil that was the fuse element.

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