A Quick Repair

When the environment is wet wood swells and warps. Wood that can no longer fit where it is nailed, screwed, or glued bends, sometimes with so much force that it rips the nail holding it down right out of the piece of wood it is attached to. It happens most notably with the wood surrounding the door of the chicken coop. When it has been raining for a week i find it difficult to open the door and if i succeed in getting it pried open i have to wait for drier weather to get it shut again. Now that is after i used tools and sand paper to shave wood off the door to get it to fit in the first place. It has also happened once with the boards of wood that made up the shed porch. One lifted from where it was pinned and took the nails with it.

I was doing the evening chores. I was walking the property covering plants and readying the well house for another freeze when i noticed the framing for the well house door was pulling away from where it was pinned. Upon further investigation there was a pencil thin nail that had been pulled out of the wood it was meant to be tethering the warped wood to. my immediate thought was that fixing this was going to be a dangerous endeavor because of the close proximity of the water softener tanks, tubing, and pipes to the wall where the door was hinged. Literally a half inch in front of the wall was a small black tube which i was sure was important to this operation. The piece of wood that occupied the vertical space directly in front of the displaced pencil thin nail was very thick. So i decided to attempt to screw the warped piece of wood back down and just drill incrementally, checking to make sure i wasnt getting close to the black tube.

I grabbed an extension cord from the shed, fetched the drill, and checked my toolbox for screws. Every screw i had wasn’t long enough to really anchor it into that piece of wood. There would just be a centimeter of length (if even) once it had gone through the warped piece of wood itself. I decided the only thing to do would be to get one of the three inch construction screws leftover from when i first moved onto the property. There was a bucket of them in the field mouse infested tool shed. I opened the toolshed and picked my way through all the rat feces and rat urine soaked cardboard. I had been breaking it down and throwing it out in the trash every week but when the mice really started saturating it with urine i just kind of gave up and let them claim it. I wasn’t interested in tearing it into rectangles anymore once it was pungent and sticky. I found the bucket, caked with a thick layer of dried turds and urine. I pried it open, grabbed three screws, and snapped it shut. I put two screws in my toolbox and used the third to pick out the drill bit. Then i plugged in the extension cord, plugged in the drill, picked a spot in the wood that wasn’t already cracking or split. with the door open so i could keep checking to watch for the end of the screw, i drilled the screw into the wood incrementally. At a certain point i had to just go for it and pray because had i stopped at this point the drill would not have forced the two pieces of wood together but rather apart.

I peeked into the well house to survey the possible damage. I neither saw nor felt the end of a screw. It was still inside the piece of wood i had tethered the flimsy gray outside piece of wood to. The tubing was fine, untouched, though i looked everywhere for water and even turned on the spigot and the indoor sink just to watch and make sure there was no water inside the well house in places where it shouldn’t be. It appeared that i hadn’t drilled through anything but wood and so i turned the well house heat lamp on and locked it up for the impending freeze that was to arrive overnight.

The little piece of wood now laid down fairly flat against the tin sheet.

For now the wood on the interior of the well house was a little more sheltered from the weather on the outside of the well house. Maybe it would last longer.

One day i really should fill in the holes in the well house walls where it looks like somebody put a screw in and then changed their mind and took it out.

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