What Success Hinges On

Now that we have windows, we’ve moved on to doors. Several of the doors that we’ve gathered are antiques that we rescued from a barn in Amador City CA.

They’re very nice but they didn’t come with jambs or hinges so we had to buy a few new tools and learn a new skill.

The router and hinge jig allows the perfect dado for hinges once one gets the hang of it. The learning curve was not too steep and our first attempts were pretty close although there were a few goof ups which lead to much head scratching on how to fix it. In the end; however, we made all the mistakes disappear and we were happy with the result.

The real trick is making the hinge dados on both the jamb and the door align perfectly. This was tricky but doable.

On a side note, the new jambs were fabricated from old base boards salvaged from the hotel guest rooms. It’s old growth pine and is better than anything we could have purchased. More importantly, it was already paid for over a hundred years ago.

Another salvaged resource is the door hardware. The vintage iron is incredibly durable and can be taken apart, lubed and reinstalled without a problem. The only challenge is that most of it is coated in several thick layers of oil based paint. This can be overcome with a little help from Grandma’s crock pot which we found at the thrift store for eight bucks.

We learned this trick from a PBS show long ago and it’s simply a matter of submerging the hardware in water with a dash of dish detergent and cooking it for eight hours. The old paint to falls right off! After that, the hardware gets a coat of gloss black spray paint to imitate the original finish.


Author: Glenn

I'm a 5' 8" tall ape descendant with an interior design degree and a love for antiques and vintage architecture. I recently escaped from the IT world to follow my dreams and a beautiful damsel who shares my love of old buildings no matter how much dust is involved.

3 thoughts on “What Success Hinges On”

  1. I’m so happy to see that you guys are bringing this old girl back to her glory. I’m actually the great great great granddaughter of J.C. “Charlie” and Caroline Gruber. My great grandmother was taken in by Minnie Gruber , her aunt, when she was just 7 years old and lived there in that hotel for 13 years. I was reading back on your posts and saw you weren’t completely sure the reasoning why the back porch was built the way is was. Well behind the hotel was a two story outhouse and the porch served both the up an down stairs of the outhouse.
    Fun facts: The upstairs of the outhouse had 2 rooms each had 2 holes and locks on the doors for privacy, and believe it or not, catalogs were placed on the seats to use for toilet paper. The family one downstairs had 2 holes. It also had a public one on the other side of the wall and private fence had 2 holes, the men’s had only 1 hole and a zinc trough.
    When my great grandmother was a child, there was no running water so her job was to carry water upstairs to fill the pitchers in each room and the slops / pea pots were emptied down the seconded story outhouse. I just thought I’d share that in case you still weren’t sure about the porch design. If you are interested I do have photos of the outhouse before it was torn down.

    1. I’m so glad you posted your comments. We are honored to hear from an actual relative of Charlie and Caroline. What you’ve told us about the outhouse supports what we’ve been guessing and we’d love to see your photos of it. As for photos, our plan is to scan as many Dayton and hotel images as we can with permission, of course. Then we will present them in a video slide show in the front window of the saloon during Dayton Valley days and other public occasions.

      1. I did speak with my grandmother and she told me that she will send me copies of the photos with the hotel an outhouse. They were all taken by her mother before and / or after Minnie passed away. So once I receive them I’ll be more then happy to send you the copies. When I old my grandmother why I was asking about the photos, she told me that she is really glad that you both are bringing back.

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