Amish Country Journal

Reports and musings from Indiantree Farm, in Holmes County, Ohio -- the largest Amish community in the world. See more about author Larry D. Miller and Amish Country at

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Door Opens, A Door Crashes

          I think I may be developing dooroplexia, a fear of fragile doors (I just made that up.)
          It all started about four years ago when I forgot the cap door at the rear of my pickup was open and I backed into the garage – literally.
          Smashed that sucker good.  Tempered glass burst forth like sparks from a Fourth of July aerial bomb.
          After no small measure of hammering, prying, bending and painting, I got the thing looking like new.  Cut and fit a piece of Plexiglas to replace the heavy tempered glass and voila!  The door (now about five pounds lighter) opened and closed easier than before.
          Fast forward to last week when another wave of brain fade saw me backing the truck into the barn – while the cap door was in the "up" position – and wrecking it yet again.
          This time not only was the Plexiglas broken, but the door frame was pretzled and fully broken in one spot.
          Looked too tough to repair and thus began the hunt for a new door.
          Oops, an internet search shows the door manufacturer went out of business about 10 years ago.  In fact, the cap manufacturer also shuttered the factory doors about three years ago.
          A little (make that a LOT) of detective work finally led me to a company in Elkhart, Ind., which had purchased all remaining inventory from the door company.
          Well, they THOUGHT they might have a copy, based on the height, width and rough angle of the door cutout in the fiberglass cap itself (ok, I'm no wizard with angles and all I had was a plastic compass from sixth grade.) 
          Yes, we really had plastic that long ago.  Actually, it was called Bakelite.
          Anyway, I could order the door and pay $300 and they would ship it.  If it didn't fit . . . too bad, it was mine forever.
          Or . . . I could drive to Elkhart (five hours each way) and save $130 in shipping plus if it didn't fit, I wouldn't be stuck with it.
          So, after a sleepless night of weighing the alternatives and visualizing impact points and reverse pressure spots, my decision was, "What have I got to lose by trying to fix it?"
          That was followed by a day of hammering, prying, bending and splinting (pieces cut from an old aluminum door jamb were shaped, epoxied and riveted into place.  The frame was painted (flat black camouflages many hammer blows) and fitted with new Plexiglas.
          It fit so well and looked so good, I decided to christen it with a little WD40 to make the gas-filled shocks (that hold the door open) work a bit better.
          Turns out that made them glide so easily they barely hold the door open.  One whiff of a breeze and the door eases shut.
          Oh wait, that may be a good thing!
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