Here's what I ripped out of the crawlspace entry day before yesterday. Tasty, eh? Crappy paint, poorly secured, ill-fitting...all the best features of a quality construction job (and, to be fair, the excellent maintenance it's had over the years...not).

So I tore it out. Finally. Reworking the bed around it was the actual motivator that kicked the job over, but that's kind of immaterial. It needed doing. Once the hole was open, I discovered the reason the door frame wasn't flush with the brick -- the lazy-ass builder had failed to notch one of two joists deeply enough! The first (lateral) cut was deep enough, they just didn't carve out enough depth. Thirty seconds with a saber saw fixed it.

This time, the top member of the frame and the stops are anchored with a series of coated deck screws, while the verticals and the base are set with Liquid Nails, as I mentioned earlier. After a day's dry time, this sucker is rock solid.

As usual, I managed to misjudge my lumber needs just enough to be annoying. I picked up one too few 1x2 boards. Actually, I got enough for the one stop I'd originally planned to install, but when I decided to stop all four sides, that left me one short. But I digress. Come to think of it, this entire blog qualifies as a digression, more or less, so what's one more?

I cut the door from 3/4" sanded exterior plywood. I would have used pressure treated, but they were out. Since the plywood isn't actually in ground or masonry contact, and since my final step will be to stain the entire assembly, I think it'll be fine. If not, I'll replace the panel later, no sweat. I only had to trim it a little to get a good fit, and with the stops, it's far more weather/wind/critter-tight.

All the hardware is run-of-the-mill galvanized stuff for rust-proofing. The bar of 1x2 at the top of the door serves as both handle and “landing gear” -- the door will sit on it and stay level when opened, making it more comfortable to get in and out and easier to pick back up to close. When it's snugged into the frame and barrel-locked, it's surprisingly solid for what it is.

Tonight I'll finish setting the frame for the “well” surrounding the door, and hopefully get the sand and pavers in, as well as drop a bead of cedar-color caulk around it (the caulk is probably overkill, but there are flaws in the masonry in 2-3 places that result in some gaposis, and I want to make sure no baby snakes find their way in). That'll leave Thursday evening to put a coat of stain on everything, inside and out, and then it's ready to have topsoil dropped around it on Friday/Saturday.

Incidentally, I kind of apologize for all the minutiae on my home repairs. It's just what I'm doing at the moment. Work is a dry hole, since the semester is shutting down and I'm prepping for vacation. Emma's antics lately don't bear talking about (well, they might, but it wouldn't be pleasant), and I'm tired to death of politics. So this is what you get.