The Woodworker, cover image, June 14I expect we’ve all heard of The Terror that followed the French Revolution of 1790, but I wonder how many readers have experienced the very real terror of ‘the job that’s about to go disastrously wrong at any moment’? That was my lot recently as I endeavoured to fit assorted locks and catches to the half dozen interior doors I’d just hung. 

Having been spoilt on a diet of solid and traditionally constructed doors of late, the mass-produced, vacuum-formed budget items with which I was working posed a different challenge entirely. While reasonably good-looking and very light to manhandle around, this type of door – essentially hollow – is very delicate and can only have a lock fitted in one side. Having made sure I had the lock block – a block of timber sandwiched between the thin outer skins of the door – on the correct side, I set about chopping in a mortise lock on the first door. My usual way is cordless, spade bit, chisel, but it wasn’t until I was halfway through that I realised the lock block was now just a thick piece of chipboard instead of solid softwood, and my Thor-like mallet blows on the chisel were threatening the disintegration of the entire door.

A terrible vision of the door irreparably cleaving asunder rose before my eyes, and I had palpitations as the timeline fast-forwarded across my subconscious mind: driving back into town, buying a new door (now out of stock or discontinued), re-hanging it, fitting the lock again, painting it, and all at my own expense! That was when I stood back, and bought a suitable auger bit which eased the strain on every level. Phew! It all came out good in the end.

I know we all have close calls with some jobs, and maybe it’s this very excitement of the risk and terror involved which makes some projects irresistible. 

Happy - and safe - woodworking to us all

Mark