Last April, I started to work on finishing the first project on my old house. I had completed the installation of a new door that was part of a long story. As I was painting the door and jamb, I discovered several staples from the construction of the door jamb that stuck out. This required cutting back the staples and patching the holes. I also found that the finger jointed wood was delaminating in several places. The final problem was the fact a steel door with a faux raised divided lights made of vinyl did not match the house. Even when it was painted, it still did not fit the time period of the architecture. Since this project was about making it right, I put this project on hold until I found the right door. I turned to Old House Journal to look for a source and ended up ordering a custom door from Vintage Door to fit my old house. It arrived in late August which coincided with an extremely busy time at work. Then the smoke from California’s worst fire season during the fall made it difficult to work outside.
In late January, one of the managers I work with surprised me in a meeting and announced a reorganization. The experiment I had been managing was being reorganized and a new engineer would be taking over the installation and assembly work I had been planning for the past 16.5 months. I also discovered that this same manager had been discussing an alternate plan to install and assemble the equipment with the new engineer without including me in the discussion.
The strangest comment that was made during the announcement was that the she did not want me to walk away from the job. I can only assume that she wanted me to continue to schedule and run the meetings, keep track of and manage the procurements, make sure the parts were moved from the warehouse to the experiment for assembly, maintain the schedule, and write the status reports. Basically all of the things I was doing as the manager minus the installation and assembly work. Since I have been in a toxic work environment exactly like this one before, I knew my best option was to walk away. I could see that this was heading for a cliff.
Over the next week and a half, all of the planning I put in place was modified or changed. It became clear that the manager above me was going to undermine everything I attempted to do moving forward. I decided to resigned from my reorganized responsibilities a week and a half later. Within an hour of my resignation, the chief scientist reached out to me asking to meet the following day, along with the chief engineer, to discuss a new assignment.
It is difficult to step aside and watch someone take a plan and turn it into a mess. The schedule has slipped by at least five weeks so far. The budget has also taken a hit with no solid justification. But I made sure it was documented as no longer my responsibility. How all of this is explained to the project office will be interesting.
To deal with all the stress this created, I decided to take a couple of days of vacation on Fridays to jumpstart the door project. After removing the existing door, I weather proofed the porch floor and the two posts. Next the door was installed with a level and plumb bob and checked and rechecked to make sure all the dimensions were correct. With an old house, some adjustments have to be made for the structure not being level or plumb after 112 years. When the door dimensions all checked out, everything was shimmed and nailed in place. The quality and workmanship of this door are superior to the last two doors. The door and jamb are African Mahogany with true divided lights. Installation of the door locks were the last item for the first day’s work.
The next day, the old new door was placed on the curb along with a free sign and disappeared in just over an hour. The trim on both the outside and inside was installed next. After a final sanding of the door, three coats of marine varnish was brushed on the door and jamb over several days. Everything was sanded between each coat of varnish.
Rain was predicted so I wanted to make sure all of the wood was sealed prior to the storm. This required working late each night to allow sufficient time for each coat to dry. After priming the trim, caulking was the next step in the process (and my least favorite part of paint preparation). As of last weekend, the house body color had been touched up around the exterior trim.
Hopefully this weekend there will be time to paint the trim around the door. I will also need to paint the trim around the windows since it has faded. The inside of the back porch is also due for a fresh coat of paint now that there is a new door. In the moment, I did not realize that the reorganization would give me more time to spend on my own projects. As I come up to speed on my new assignment, I will once again have less free time. For now, I will be happy catching up on my projects.
2 thoughts on “Back Door Project – Take #3”
Beautiful work on that door. I am impressed that you had the patience for three coats with sanding in-between. That is not a door, that is fine furniture. I feel for you being “shuttled to the side”. Glad you have a new project at work.
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Thanks, Harry. I have really enjoyed working on this door project. They have fallen behind schedule and a safety issue problem was created. I’m just a spectator at this point.