Wow, I can be dim sometimes…

When the Lair’s addition went up 3 years ago I included a back door for convenience and fire safety. But the door I had to work with didn’t have a cutout for a deadbolt and the lock on the knob left a lot to be desired. Rather than invest in a hole jig and maybe screw up my only door, I went old school.


That worked so well I ended up doing the same thing on the front door*. Those brackets are sized for a 2X4 but the application really calls for hardwood. Except nobody, at least nobody within my traveling range, sells hardwood lumber – and I got some funny looks when I enquired. Finally just relaxed about it – but I won’t say it didn’t bug me a little.

Then this morning I was cutting up pallets for firewood…

That loose pile was once 9 pallets, and the intact ones you see are all there are left so I’ll know pretty definitely when the project is finished – and when the Lair’s woodstove goes on a juniper diet.


…and I happened to be cutting up an especially nice hardwood one…


And I hefted one of the nice clean stringers in my hand and thought, ‘wow, that must weigh seven or eight pounds and it’s only four feet long. Lots of nice heat in that baby…’

When the older wiser voice in my head that doesn’t come around very often mused, ‘Four feet? Weren’t you looking for two 4-foot hardwood 2X4s?’


Dummy! That should have been the first thing I noticed about them. Gonna need a lot of sanding to get them less splintery, though…


*Yeah, and if you think that sounds extreme I won’t argue. But weird things can happen in the boonies – Not far from the Lair there once was a guy who lived not so differently from me…until some nutjob murdered him in his bed. His situation wasn’t exactly like mine: He was more public than I am and a rather unpleasant character. But I know of nothing he did that earned a whacking. And you can’t defend your own sleep, so anything that delays and loudens a forcible entry is good. I don’t have even the illusion of cops to defend me.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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12 Responses to Wow, I can be dim sometimes…

  1. Zeep says:

    Maybe time to consider a new dog, or building a DIY rudimentry alarm system. Just sayin’.

  2. Joel says:

    A dog will happen in the fullness of time. Probably won’t get serious about that till spring, since I don’t feel like breaking in a puppy in winter.

  3. Jean says:

    If you did not cut the boards up first and then think of it, you ain’t dim.

  4. winston smith says:

    Did they ever figure out who the killer was?

  5. Mike says:

    Yes Joel, you can be dim at times… just like the rest of us. 🙂

    As for the hardwood verses the soft pine 2X4s, I would be more worried about the 2X4 mounting brackets being ripped out of the sill.

  6. Joel says:

    Winston Smith: yeah they did. Turns out we had our very own local serial killer. The cops ended up dredging a nearby recreational lake.

    Mike: Lag bolts are the answer to many of life’s little problems.

  7. Malatrope says:

    When they notice the lagbolts, they’ll just go in through the windows…

  8. Joel says:

    Yeah, true. So I hope I hear breaking glass. Can’t afford custom bars.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well, you don’t live in NYC, so you should have less of a problem! (In my old “farmhouse”, the floors squeak loudly and irreparably, so I’ve decided it’s a security feature, not a bug.)

    And FWIW I can’t afford custom bars either. Somebody squeaks the floors in the middle of the night, they’re going to be facing the wrong end of one of these:

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/mgm-content/sites/armslist/uploads/posts/2012/07/07/462126_01_winchester_1300_defender_12_ga_640.jpg

  10. Norman says:

    RE: breaking glass – 3M makes clear security films in thicknesses from 4 to 12 mil that increases the degree of difficulty of breaking glass from “regular window shatters instantly” to “requires prolonged application of large hammer by a strong person.” IIRC, it’s also available in various strengths of tinted and reflective, although those have a downside – at night they reduce how much you can see outside by quite a bit.

    Some years back a friend built externally-mounted “shutters” with 5/4X4 lumber for the frame and small-grid 12 gauge livestock fencing (aka “heavy pig fencing”) mounted about 4″ in front of the windows to prevent rock, brick and molotov damage to store windows but something similar,and lighter, could be made as an internally-mounted “hinged shutter” to prevent access without strenuous effort. For wire mesh sizes, 16 gauge is .0625″ (1/16″) wire, 14 ga is .080″ (~5/64″) and 12 ga is .106″ (~7/64″). 14 ga 2″ square mesh is common and readily available, but even 2″ X 4″ mesh would work, even 16 ga will require a fair bit of effort with wire cutters or very strong hands with diagonal cutters. Hinge on one side of the window, put a slot on the other side of the frame, screw a wood-thread eye bolt into the building structure and fits through the slot, drop a 1/4″ (or larger) machine thread eye bolt through the eye, fast to remove in case of fire. The anal retentive and OCD among us would use 2 screw eyes through the slots, one near the top, one near the bottom.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to see external versions of these popping up as “Antifa storm shutters” soon.

  11. Norman says:

    Some years back a friend made some external window frames out of 5/4 x 4 lumber and attached heavy gauge (2X2 mesh, made with 12 gauge wire, IIRC) “pig fencing” to them to protect his store windows from bricks, rocks and molotovs.

    The same thing would work for you with an internal frame, and it wouldn’t need to be as heavy. 1X4 frame, hinged on one side, 16 (1/16″ wire) or 14 gauge ( about 5/32 wire) “pig fencing” mesh, simple eye bolt & pin latch on the non-hinge side for quick opening in case of fire.

    And, extra points for installing 3M Security Film on the interior of the glass; it’s available in 4, 8 and 12 mil thicknesses, available in clear, tinted and reflective (using the tinted stuff cuts light enough that it’s hard to see outside at night).

  12. Mike says:

    “Lag bolts are the answer to many of life’s little problems.” Yes, yes they are. 👍🙂

    Joel, if you are worried about windows being broken, there are products made to stop this. Where I worked they used a window film over the windows for the cash office. While the film would not stop the glass from being broken, it would prevent entry.

    https://www.amazon.com/S8MC-Window-Security-Safety-Clear/dp/B00FRLJU0S/

To the stake with the heretic!