Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Square Deal

"Square Deal" was a term used by Teddy Roosevelt in describing how he approached social problems. Our house doesn't go quite as far back as the first Roosevelt administration, but I'm pretty sure the last time the garage doors were closed, before yesterday, was during the Eisenhower years.

The reason the doors haven't closed is because the front of the garage was racked so far out of square the doors couldn't shut. I last wrote about the garage right before the 2006 elections:
"Very Scary House Update"

My neighbor, Russ, came over yesterday with his "Come Along" that he said he'd used to straighten barns at his parent's and in-law's farms. We drilled a hole through the sill plate and foundation on the one side of the front and set in an eye bolt:

Then we did the same up high on the other side:

A Come Along is a portable winch. In our situation we are using it to slowly pull the side of the garge leaning out (the HIGH bolt) back into straight by using the ground (the LOW bolt) to steady it. Of course this also moves the side that is leaning in back as well. The leaning in side (right side in the first picture, above) is the side where the doors were bound up and couldn't move.

Russ' come along is a thing of beauty, an antique:

It has TWO ratchets instead of the one so pushing the bar forward engages one ratchet and back does the other. Here is the winch and bar:

My analogy of the value of two ratchets is somewhat like taking half steps on the stairs intead of alternating feet: you are not putting as much work into each step! Here is a close up of the winch itself:

Yesterday morning we put in the bolts and tightened the ratchet until the garage started to "sing" (Russ' term, he's a musician too) Then last night I moved it two ratchet steps again. That was enough to free the stuck doors. This morning I did another two steps. I'm guessing it will take at least 10 days to straighten the garage up (I plan to over correct a little) Then I will nail 3/4 inch plywood over all of the available front (There isn't much room, barely a foot on either side of the doors) and over the top to function as a brace to keep it in place.

Now if I can actually get a car in the thing before winter I'll be like the other Roosevelt president and be singing "Happy Days are Here Again."


Jimbo said...

That's the best Rube Goldberg contraption ever! I wondered how you spent your birthday. Very cool.

Good luck with the straightening. Maybe now y'all will have a "dog house" to banish the other to when the projects don't work out.

Riri said...

I used a google search for pretty garage doors to find this blog. Fascinating

I want a teeny tiny house with a garage that doesn't dominate the building. Yours is very cute.