Safe Talker’s Castle Doors

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Castle Door Fortification

We recently read a great article here on beefing up our castles, and making preps for unsolicited Intrusions by LEO’s, and other scalawags. I want to push this up a notch further along.

When Daniel Boone built his cabin over in western North Carolina, and Kentucky he had a distinct advantage over our homes today. He sunk two hefty tree trunks into 4 foot holes and loaded rock and sand to hold them in place. Then he added water, and grease, and using a level set them in place for keeps. Your door is not so secure as his was though.

Today since the Door is built in a factory, and each factory uses similar, but not exact sizes the Carpenter that put in your door framing left some play in the size. Then in came a door hanger who slipped in the hole a pre-hung door in a frame made of 5/8″ thick pine wood. The Framer leveled, and braced the door frame into the hole and fired three 6 penny nails to hold it. One top, one left, and one right. The bottom transom may not even be sitting on the floor.

Your new steel door is attached to that 5/8″ frame by three 3/4″ screws in each of three hinges. The Hinge is attached to your wood framed with metal sheath door by some more 3/4″ screws. Thus when a size 11 Nike hits the center it tends to jump into the center of the room. That $200.00 Deadbolt also is held in place by that 5/8″ frame wood. Want to make it better? Here goes the Safe Talker Solution.

Step one is to make the door a structural part of the House wall. To do this remove the inner door trim. If you use a Chisel to pry it up from the door frame it will normally have one row of nail brads through the side closest to the Frame’s edge, and another row back near the rear that sometimes enter the framing studs, but most often just stick into drywall, and air. The corners have small steel wedges driven in them to hold the frame in place. Thus try to lift the entire frame trim off as one piece to make replacement easy.

Next trim the drywall back till you can see the outside of the Door frame, and the face of the wall stud. If you stop by a wood store you will find that they sell small packs of door shims. These are thin tapered pieces of soft pine wood in a package. You will normally need three of the packs per door. Next remove the top hinge from the frame, and fold back to the door. Insert the stack of shims so they fill the space between the frame and the stud. Measure the distance of the frame opening and verify you have not pushed the frame inwards toward the door. Then drill in the center of the three hinge holes to the Stud. This prevents breaking the shims. Next install a screw that is long enough that it will go through the hinge till it is flush, then the shims, and through the wall stud. Repeat this in all hinge screw holes. Re-measure the door frame size to ensure you have not warped the door frame..

Next remove one hinge from the door. Drill the door hinge holes larger to accommodate a lead molly without interfering with the next screw. When all mollies are installed replace the hinge screws with 2″ screws. Do this for all three hinges. Test that the door fits well and that it closes smoothly.

Next cut three 2″ by 6″ 1/8″ aluminum pieces and attach on the outside of the door by the Hinges using small screws and glue. Then repaint them to match the door. This keeps the Spouse happy, and stops 12 gauge keys being used on the hinges to breach the door.
Using the same procedures as above place a shim set at the top of the door frame in three places. Top center, top right, and top left. Drill a 1/4″ diameter well at the center and 4″ from the two edges of the frame. Using a screw that will enter the well and pierce the header studs secure your frame top as you did on the side making sure the frame does not warp or lift.
By Well we mean a 1/4 hole that is just about 1/4″ deeper than the screw head so the screw will be under wood.

Next we will shim the right side of the door. Using 1/4″ wells for the top and bottom directly across from the hinges on the other side. When the top and bottom are done and the frame is squared fill the well holes over the screw with wood putty and repaint.

Then we start on the Deadbolt and knob receivers. Where the Knob receiver is located install a long shim (place the strips top to bottom so they cover the Knob and Deadbolt holes. Using small thin screws attach the frame to the Wall stud.

Holding the deadbolt in your hand go to your plumbing supply store and buy a piece of pipe that will allow the deadbolt easy access. Return home and Cut the pipe just long enough it will reach from the frame surface to 1/2″ past the stud. Then grind a sharp spike out of the last 1 1/2″ of the pipe. Then drill a hole that will allow the pipe to pass through the frame where the deadbolt goes, the shim wood, and the stud. Then using a hammer drive the pipe till it is flush with the frame surface. The Deadbolt receiver will need to be drilled out to fit over the pipe. Reinstall the Dead Bolt in the door and check the fit. If needed using a rasp bit enlarge the pipe center to accommodate the deadbolt.

Repeat this for the Door Knob receiver.

Remove the deadbolt and door knob and cut a piece of 1/8″ aluminum sheet to screen the inner workings and repaint to match the door. Reinstall the Deadbolt and Door knob.

Then replace the Door Frame trim as it was

This job is a bit tedious, but it will keep the wolves at the door for long enough you can get the family to a safe place. The added Aluminum shields will be almost invisible, but will keep the old 12 Gauge from removing the wood around the hard spots. The long hinge, door, and pipe will keep that Swat hammer working up a sweat on two or three intruders. Time you can spend getting the family dressed and on the couch for when they try to jump through the window which we will cover in a later article.

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About Ron Hardin

Ron Hardin has 27 years military experience in communication electronics, and has completed over a hundred FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) courses, and is CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) trained

7 thoughts on “Safe Talker’s Castle Doors

  1. I wonder how (low expansion) spray foam, applied all around the door between the frame and studs, would do. Should lock things in pretty well. Might want to close the door during the process and put a few shims between door and frame to prevent the foam from pushing the frame out.

    I haven’t tried this out yet…

    • You don’t want to add the spray foam insulation due to the expanding properties the foam will move your frame and lock the door in place and a complete removal of the door and frame will need to be done.

  2. >>> ALLOW ME TO SHOW AN EXTREMELY SECURE WAY TO SAFEGUARD YOUR CASTLE . INSTALL A STEEL DOOR BUILT FOR WAREHOUSES AND OTHER IMPENETRABLE USE ( FIRE DOOR CORP . ) WHICH INCLUDES A WELDED ONE PIECE JAMB AND HEADER . DOORS WHICH OPEN OUTWARD ARE STRONGEST . INSIDE THE HOUSE ~ USE DEADBOLTS WITH SPECIAL LOCKING CYLINDERS , AND ADD BOLTS ON TOP AND BOTTOM OF DOOR . INSTALL DOUBLE PANE , 1 / 4 INCH LEXAN WINDOWS . IF YOU CAN BUILD A NEW HOUSE , HAVE IT CONSTRUCTED WITH POURED REINFORCED CONCRETE , INCLUDING THE ROOF . <<<

  3. They make high security hinges that have a bo, the that protrudes into the other side of the hinge. Another suggestion is doors that open out.

  4. Bill Gurstelle wrote “Defending Your Castle: Build Catapults, Crossbows, Moats, Bulletproof Shields, and More Defensive Devices to Fend Off the Invading Hordes”. Not a hardcore defense book, but the Door chapter is pretty good.

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