Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Healing a Wood Ulcer

Wood ulcer is not a real medical term.  It describes, however, what we found while repairing and rejuvenating the back door.  Over the last 50 years the structure has seen its share of inhabitants come and go, though this old schoolhouse-turned-home has always belonged to my mother.

My sister recently realized that we all, including my mother, were having more and more trouble getting the old knob and paint-coated door jam to release the door from its opening on request.  So she bought a door handle-lever to replace the knob.  Installing it was at the top of the Things-I-get-to-do-today list when I arrived at Mother's place last week.

Knob already gone.
  Deadbolt chipped loose
Ancient deadbolt
Old hardware had to go.  A very dead deadbolt, no key, no bolt, no screws to undo it, had been in place as long as my mother could remember.  A few firm blows with a screwdriver under its lip and it was loose enough for my mother to suggest the claws of a hammer as the next tool.  Popped that sucker right out, it did!  Now there were two gaping and useless holes in the door.  We covered the hole mess with a metal guard, and no one other than all of us reading here needs to know what lies underneath.

Covering a multitude of "sins"

The new handle slipped into a hole made just for it at a comfortable-to-reach height.  Slick. Functional. Handsome with its own strike plate to match.


But now we see the hole in the door jam--the scene of a bundle of careless attempts to fix/replace the strike plate over the last many dozen years.  This is the wood ulcer--deep, ugly, festering, rotten.  No solution but surgery will work.

Prepped for reconstruction

So we cut away to clean wood, making square corners and straight lines.  Wood graft cut to fit the dimensions was glued and wedged in place.  The belt sander cleaned it smooth to its neighbor wood.

Restored and ready for its last
coat of paint.

It's interesting, isn't it, how old wounds/ulcers hold a funny sense of dis-ease about them whether in the body or in the wood.  The repair, cleaning, restoring of the entrance to this home has released old pain and suffering.  Now, as we come and go through that space, it feels free, fresh and peaceful. Healing on so many levels has taken place.


  1. Beautifully done. You remind me of my daughter whose husband acknowledges she wears the tool belt in the family.

    1. Thank you. I do love my husband's tools. I do love healing.

  2. Good job, girls! Nice job on the covering up those old sins! You are sure a Handy Andy!!!

    1. My mother taught me well on many levels. Necessity is the mother of. . . . Amazing what one can do when one "has to" and then how it can be finessed when one "gets to."