Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A nice job turns into two

I was checking out the competition on Craigslist a few days ago and noticed a misplaced ad where somebody wanted help adjusting an “iron” entrance door. So I replied and asked for phone, directions, etc. or to call me. Next morning I had an email from the guy which included his phone #. I was just picking up the phone to call him when the phone rang from him calling me. So, I went to his house and inspected the door. It is a big, double, steel door in an arch, about 8 1/2' tall, leading into a courtyard. The upshot is that the arched door frame had been bent sideways while getting bricked in place, and that made the doors too close together and they had trouble shutting it. I concluded that one hinge needed to be cut off and moved 1/8” or so to tilt the door enough to let the two doors pass each other. It was a little over my head, but I figured I could still do it with a little help from Joe, my friendly welder. So, later we went out there and looked it over again. We loaded the door into Joe’s truck (it's too long for my Jeep) and on the way home we decided it really needed to go to a welding shop. That evening I needed to talk to the customer so I dialed the number he’d given me in his email. Wrong number, but the lady asked me who I was so I told my name and that I was calling for Clear Sky Handy Men. She said, “Handyman! I’ve been looking for a handyman. Can you do stucco?” Well, of course. So next day I took the door to a welding shop and then drove over nearly to Ft. Worth to look at this wrong number lady’s strip mall which had some wind damage to the stucco. I took photos and measured it out from a distance (it was about 15 feet up) and had Joe’s crew estimate it for her. I told Joe he could charge whatever he wants, but I’m going to add 10% for finding the lead.

BEFORE: This is a photo of a hinge on the removed door before welding (It's the big one at the bottom. Notice what a great job they did of welding it perfectly so it’s nice and smooth. --- Too smooth! It's impossible to weld that good.

IN PROGRESS: This is a photo after the hinge was cut off and re-welded. It turns out that those nice smooth edges were just epoxy, and the welder told me that actually there were only a few spot welds holding it on. As you can see he put a nice long weld on each side.

AFTER: When I got it home (I have a trailer now, big enough for this kind of job) I used plumber’s epoxy to do my best imitation.This is the welded, epoxy-ed, and painted hinge back in its door frame at the customer’s house. I turned the photo sideways so it would be oriented the same as the earlier photos. It’s not quite as pretty as the factory ones, but with its much larger welded surface it’s the strongest hinge on the two doors. And I think it looks pretty good.

This is a photo of the stucco job resulting from the wrong number call. The biggest space is supposed to be an off-white stucco about like the ground-level wall below it, and it needs to be recessed a bit. It’s about 150 sq. feet, plus those two smaller, patches that should be the darker color. I haven’t seen Joe’s estimate, yet, nor heard from the lady. I hope the job is still on. I’d hate to loose out on a good contact from a wrong number!