I had to go for my checkup with the opthamologist after he fixed my eye – it’s healing perfectly – and Gay had a haircut appointment, so we went into Seattle this morning. We went to the house and talked to Mark about some things. Katie happened to stop by and we talked to her about some things. Then Tom, the tile guy, came over and we talked about the problem tile in the master bath. More on that later…

Trapdoor opened

The garage was finished being framed last week and they put the floor down. A few weeks ago, I bought the hardware for the door (hinges and lifts) and I wanted to help build the trapdoor. I didn’t get a chance to build the actual door, but they waited for me to get there and put the hardware on. Colin showed me how to use a hand router and made the guide for one handle. I finished routing that one out, this time with my new safety glasses!, and then marked and routed out the space for the other handle.

The plywood on the door is 3/4” plywood and the handle recess is 11/16”, so there was just 1/16” of plywood covering the bottom of the handle. It took a while to rout out the handle recess rather than just use a jigsaw to cut the hole out completely, so I asked Colin why we didn’t just cut it out. He looked at me and said “But you’d see it from below.”  I like his attention to detail and concern with aesthetics!

He marked the hinges and I routed out the space for those. We mounted them and the door was almost done. Colin took a planer to the one side of the door so that it could open without rubbing against the opening. We then screwed down the other side of the hinges into the floor and we had a working trapdoor!

When I opened it for the first time I realized a problem I didn’t anticipate: it’s such a big door that when you lift it your momentum pulls you forward and towards the hole in the floor. It’s about 12 feet down to the garage floor, so it’s not a comfortable feeling. Worse, I instantly had the thought of the kids playing with it and falling through. We will need to put a lock on it and maybe find a way to make it open by itself once it’s started. There will usually be a car below it, so your fall would be broken by the car after falling just a few feet, but Murphy’s Law says that the time you do fall, the car won’t be there.

Before we left, I quickly sanded off some of the paint on the beam and rafter structure above the front door to see what was underneath. Aside from colors and the decks outside, we’ve ignored the exterior of the house. I always imagined those things as big rustic wood beams, but we never knew what they were made of. I assumed it’d be cheap wood and we’d either have to just paint them or do something to make them look better. I was happy to discover that they are made of, according to Colin, vertical-grain Douglas Fir! I think we can sand off the paint and put a clear coat on them and they’ll look great. I may even get to do this myself as I’m running out of things I am qualified to do at the house.