Lo, I am become Janus

Access to our basement is via a stairway inside the house, and a Bilco door to the outside. The Bilco door’s condition has been dodgy for some time, but during the winter it finally collapsed:

At the bottom of the stairs from the Bilco door there was an old wooden door which sometime in the past year or so finally fell off its hinges. Even when it still swung, it didn’t really clear the plumbing overhead. Here’s the door leaning against a wall.

With the Bilco door collapsed and the wooden door off, the basement and therefore the house was wide open to anyone or anything wanting to get in. Fortunately the Bilco door is in an area surrounded by brush, hard to find sometimes even if you know where to look. I think we may need to get a professional to replace the Bilco door, if only because I think some non-trivial concrete work will be needed, but vertical wooden doors I can do.

I was going to just shorten and re-hang the old door but on close inspection I found it didn’t really fit in the opening. In fact I don’t see how it ever did, even taking shifting of the house into consideration. So then I was going to cut the old door down to the right width but it was nailed together from many smaller pieces of wood, and I figured out cutting it where I needed to would mean sawing right through several nails.

So instead I made a new door out of 3/4″ plywood and 1x lumber, and hung that:

If it looks like it tapers toward the bottom, that’s partly a trick of perspective. It’s partly because it tapers toward the bottom. Weird opening. It’s also a bit out of plumb, but that’s okay because that means it swings up away from the uneven basement floor.

I’m getting to be sort of good at doors. I’ve done a lot of them. Let’s see:

  • Back door to this house (purchased and hung, 2003)
  • Door to garage in our previous house (purchased and hung, 2003)
  • Door to goat stall in machine shed (built and hung, 2003)
  • Door to garden shed (built and hung, ca. 2006)
  • Door to chicken coop (reclaimed and hung, 2008; rehung with better hardware, 2009)
  • Door to basement (built and hung, 2009)

2 thoughts on “Lo, I am become Janus

  1. Wait! Wait! I forgot to mention how proud I am that the International Door Institute training really paid off. The folks in Ommadawn, TN are really proud.


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