A friend has a log cabin with a wood stove flue that has a wooden surround. It apparently never occurred to the builder that one day the flue would need to be cleaned. (With the steep roof line on this place, the extra charge from a chimney sweep would almost make someone consider not using the wood stove anymore.)
I took a day to drive up with him, throwing tools, some surplus lumber, and miscellaneous hardware and fasteners in the back of the truck for an overnight outing. The wood had been lying in my shop surplus pile for several months. The day before I had spent an hour or so ripping and milling down some clear western cedar to use as trim pieces; If materials are “left-overs” I usually mark them on an invoice as “SS – shop surplus: N/C.” I consider using every piece of wood as efficiently as possible one of my contributions to sustainability as well as extra customer service.
It wasn’t difficult – removing the existing trim, cutting the siding for an opening, installing some bracing, using the cut siding pieces for the new door material, then cutting and installing the left-over cedar as trim. A surplus stainless steel piano hinge, two galvanized slide-lock latches (it gets really windy on that ridge and I wanted to make sure the door wouldn’t blow open when the cabin was unoccupied) and this project was done except for eventual finishing to match the rest of the cabin. To my thinking? Kind of a no-brainer thing to do on a fall afternoon.
My friend had been puttering around doing some odds and ends and came out to see it as I was cleaning up. He stopped and stared for a minute or two, then said, “Dude… How on earth did you do that? It literally seemed beyond him. The only answer I had for him was “Man… this is my thing. I simply looked at it for a while until I ‘saw’ the new door and then just made it happen.” It does remind me that what seems simple for some isn’t anything like that for others. Funny old world, huh?