Monday, December 13, 2004

Carpentry Success

SUCCESS! The pet door is installed and I have no injuries.

On Saturday, I went to my not-so-favorite home improvement store, Home Depot, in search of a more aggressive drill bit. I was pleasantly surprised to be, first, approached by an employee who asked if I needed helped, and, second, guided to the correct product! I bought a 3/4” Irwin Speedbor drill bit. This type of bit is for making large, round holes in wood. A larger bit could be used to bore a hole for a doorknob.

Once home, Mike helped me take the door off its hinges and lay it on my makeshift sawhorses, two benches from the back porch. The boring bit worked like a champ. I found that if I moved the drill from side to side a little, it bored much faster than if I held the drill steady. The resulting holes were large enough to admit the jigsaw blade.

The jigsaw was much easier to control on a horizontal surface. I had a little trouble with the curved corners at the bottom of the pet door, but the frame covered any roughness. I attached the pet door frame to the front side of the door with four screws. On the back side, I had trouble making the pet door frame fit the hole I had cut. I had held the jigsaw at an angle, so the back of the hole was a little smaller than the front. I trimmed it a bit and the frame fit perfectly.

With Mike’s help, I put the door back on its hinges and then introduced the cat to her new entrance. She was hesitant at first to use the door. The flap seemed to confound her. After some coaxing, she figured it out. I can now deadbolt that entrance to the house and the cat can use her litterbox.

I am encouraged by my success. Next weekend’s project is installing a replacement dishwasher.


Blogger Scott in Washington said...

Good Job Kasmira! Now, can you come put in one at our house?

Couple of thoughts:
When I first started greedily acquiring power tools, by default, I wanted the cordless variety because that way I could wander the countryside with my drill, reciprocating saw, etc. What I found as I went along, though, was that the cordless tools were both more expensive and often underpowered when compared to their beefy grid-fed counterparts. When I had to crawl under the deck and drill through both walls of the cinderblock and concrete fill foundation wall to put through a vent for the dryer we moved to the basement, this lesson was presented in spades.

Consider buying a corded drill and circular saw for Mike (or the kitty) for Christmas. Both can be had for about twenty bucks (or less used). I find I use my circular saw in preference to the jigsaw in all but the most confined applications. If you get tools with cords, consider getting a power strip at the end of your extension cable so you don’t have to plug and unplug the 2-3 different tools that you’ll be wanting to use concurrently.

Other tools that I can think of that would have been useful for this project include C clamps for holding the door steady on your saw horses, a chisel and half moon file for cleaning up the cuts, and the already mentioned circular saw.

Oftentimes when I need to make a deep, long cut I will mark it and then make my first pass with the circular saw blade set to a quarter inch depth. That way the saw is much easier to control and I get my cut to stay on the line. Then I adjust the blade to a deeper depth and follow my quarter inch guide.

There you go – all sorts of unsolicited advice,

11:53 AM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

Thanks Scott! I certainly am considering a tool upgrade. When we bought the drill, I wanted a heavy duty drill, but Mike talked me into the lighter duty model. He assumed I'd be using it for no more than assembling furniture or installing hooks in the ceiling.

Should I get a table saw for future deck repairs and installing crown molding?

4:58 AM  
Blogger Scott in Washington said...

I have two table saws (welcome to power tool junkies anonymous, hi my name is Scott... HI SCOTT).

I got both of them as birthday presents one year. The super heavy duty one, which I have never turned on, looks like it could be used to mill lumber or bisect the hero as he lies trussed and headed down the roller chute towards said saw. I've never turned it on because the portable table top mahkita model I used to build my deck with has never failed to please. I like it for two main reasons: 1 when I have to make a true 90 degree cut and 2. when I want to hold the wood in both hands and touch it against the saw many times to carve out a mortise and tendon joint or similar such.

I think the table saw was fairly inexpensive. The next thing I will buy when I win the lottery or that shipment of bolivian coke that I ordered off Ebay finally arrives, is a top chop saw. Both the table saw and circular saw can be used to cut the ends of 2x4s, molding, etc. on angle, but neither can hold a candle to a top chop.

8:58 AM  

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