Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Door for the Coop

It's time for them to GO.

The chickens, that is. They've been living in a dog crate in the sewing room since the beginning of April, and it's time for them to GO!

But first, I have to get the chicken coop ready for them. And that means making a door.

Now, the opening in the coop is 2'x6', as I measure it. So we bought plywood and 2x4s, and a hinge and latch set meant for a gate. Last Sunday, with the sun beating down on my straw hat, I set to work.

We had Home Depot cut the plywood. Two pieces, supposedly identical--one is too wide, the other too narrow. We'll use the narrow one. Drink water.

I cut 2x4 for the sides. Drink. I cut the waste lengths a little shorter for cross beams. Drink. I trim a wedge from another 2x4 and make a matching cut about 4' down to make a triangular brace. Drink. I screw it all together. Drink, drink, drink.

The hinges screw into the cross beams. The handle and latch-post screw on. There is some trouble getting the screws snugged down, but it sure looks like a door to me!

Another cut from the piece of plywood, and the rest of the 2x4s, makes a 4' ramp so the chickens can strut in and out of their palace. Three scrap blocks will be used for mounting the ramp. Drink.

Altogether, I drank 3 quarts of water. It was a HOT day.

Three days later, and the weather has moderated. It's actually quite nice out this evening.

I carried the door down to the chicken coop. Using the wedge I cut 4 paragraphs and 3 days ago, I put the door at the position in the frame I want it, and mark where I will drill the holes.

The last hole runs into a nail. It's toe-nailed, which explains why I thought I had plenty of room. But what are the odds? I mean, let's look at the random variables here:

  • Entry point of the nail
  • Angle of the nail
  • Position of the cross beam on the door
  • Position of the hinge on the cross beam
  • Position of the door on the wedge

It's so unlikely, it HAD to happen.

I had to pull the nail, which is interesting when it is toe-nailed and countersunk.

Then I screwed the hinges to the door frame. There was some trouble getting the screws snugged down. Of course, the door was now TOO WIDE.

I had to trim some of the sheathing where it wasn't cut straight. Perfect fit! (Well, for a chicken coop. They won't complain.)

I marked where the latch needed to attach. Then I found that I had used the wrong screws attaching the latch post, and the latch post screws were too large for the latch.

Out come two screws. In go two screws. There was some trouble getting the screws snugged down. Then I put on the latch.

The fourth screw is malformed. The head is at a strange angle. The Phillips cross is off center, AND filled with paint. "Three screws will hold it for now," I grumble to myself.

High up the wall, I drill through the sheathing. I will run a string from the latch through this hole to a pull ring, so I won't get accidentally locked in.

Now I just have to replace the back wall...

(I found 3 dog ticks and 1 deer tick crawling on me. How many did I miss?)