I want to hire this door maker

The door gave a Spanish SWAT team a hell of a fight.


  1. says

    Just makes the Plods angrier. I’d rather the door opened automatically between beatings to make the assaulter fall flat on his belligerent face.

  2. lochaber says

    There are a handful of low-cost ways to improve home security. If you are concerned about having a door kicked-in (It’s surprisingly easy to kick in a door with a bit of practice…), there are brackets you can buy that fit a standard 2x4 as a bar. If you sink some lag bolts into the studs, I imagine that might hold up even better than what was used in the video.

    But then, something like that is nearly pointless unless you also have bars on your windows, masonry walls, etc., etc…

  3. lorn says

    I’ve had some experience reinforcing doors and the easiest, and cheapest, thing to start with is to simply back out the stock screws the manufacturers of hinges, latches, locks and striker plates provide and insert higher quality and longer units. GRK brand, out of Germany, are the best IMHO, and not very expensive. You want to get long ones sold as deck screws. 4″ are usually about right.

    I’ve had success using these:

    If the door is in a masonry wall use Tap-Con concrete screws.

    That will multiply the time it takes to get through the locked door and it is quick and cheap. Using more and better shims between the door frames and the rough opening is the next thing I would do. Filling the gap with urethane foam makes the entire structure stronger and better insulated but don’t get carried away and warp the frames with the rapidly expanding foam. You have to take off the trim so it is more involved but it makes the entire structure more rigid.

    Before getting too deep into it you need to look at the door. Hollow-core doors aren’t going to last long no matter how sturdy you make the hardware. A well made solid wood door is good and a steel cased is even better. Commercial-duty steel doors are best. There are good looking steel-cased doors that can be false-grained to make them look like very high end wood units.

    The location of locks makes a difference. Two deadbolts, one just a bit too high to kick or easily use a battering ram on, and another too low can make things difficult.

    More deadbolts help but more than two becomes a major inconvenience and don’t get used. Bars that go from the middle of the door to a bracket on the floor, sturdy bars across the door and frame, and bolts going up and down all work really well but they usually have to locked and unlocked from inside. Most of them give your home a institutional and barricaded look that seems out of place in most homes.

    Perhaps the strongest, and least intrusive, reinforcing jobs I’ve seen is where they installed three-inch wide by quarter-inch aluminum plates directly under the frame. They used staggered 4″ deck-screws up and down the full-length plates on both sides of the door to fasten them to the reinforced rough framing. The strikes and hinges were screwed to these plates. The plates were bored to engage the latch and two deadbolts. In new construction even this extreme only cost about $400 extra. What is peace of mind worth?

    Before jumping in feet-first consider that you have to work the entire building envelope. It doesn’t do much good to reinforce the front door and leave the back door vulnerable. And how about those windows? No amount of hardening will work if everybody in the neighborhood has keys. And if they can’t work the doors or windows they might chainsaw the wall or …

    Physical security is important but there is a point of diminishing returns. Some of the easiest things to do are behavioral. Don’t talk about, or let you kids talk about, that expensive entertainment system you have. Be careful who you let in.

    Simple ruses can help. A lady living alone put large and well worn men’s work boots from Goodwill out every night. She keeps large dog bowls by the back door. They aren’t going to fool everyone but they might raise enough doubts to make a potential intruder think twice. Cheap insurance. Be creative.

  4. lorn says

    That’s a real and quite valid concern. There are times when you need to get out, or emergency responders need to get in. Plan for it. Make intelligent compromises.

    The good news is that firemen are not usually shy about using force to gain entry. A haligan tool and axe set used with elan and enthusiasm by two firemen can usually get through anything but the toughest doors in a surprisingly short time. It helps that firemen are not usually shy about making noise or taking out entire walls if necessary.

    Typically they also carry a heavy-duty chainsaw with a carbide tipped demolition chain and/or a K-12 saw with an abrasive blade that makes short work of pretty much anything short of actual armor plate. It would be brave burglar who would take the risk of making that much noise. Those tools are also rather expensive.

    Still, it is a concern. I have read about cases where bars on windows were blamed for loss of life. There are bars designed to be quickly removed from inside but this feature isn’t cheap and you often need to 1) know about it, and 2) know how to work the mechanism before the actual emergency to have any hope at all of escaping that way at night, while smothering in choking smoke, and still half-asleep. And that is if you are spry, fit, and nimble in both mind and hand. Old, weak, infirm in both body and mind those fancy escape mechanisms may be impossible to use when the time comes.

    Chose wisely. In my limited experience local fire departments will happily recommend solutions they can work with. Most will consult for free.

  5. zackoz says

    This reminds me of the following; can’t remember when or how I learnt it:

    Don Jose was a picador
    A man of many parts
    One day he tried to kick a door
    In angry fits and starts.
    He thought it was a wicker door
    The kind they make in France
    But when that silly picador
    Found out it was a thicker door
    A sad expression flicker o’er
    His vapid countenance.

  6. Mano Singham says


    That is the kind of poem that would have tickled me as a child, like the poems of Edward Lear, and I would have memorized it. Once that kind of poem is learned as a child, it never seems to leave our minds.

    I have never heard it before but I wonder if the penultimate line should be “A sad expression flickered o’er” since that would be more grammatically correct and also rhymes better with “thicker door”.

  7. zackoz says

    Yes, you’re right, I mistyped it. It should be “flickered o’er…”
    A search for it on the web doesn’t bring anything up, so it must be pretty old.
    The weird things one’s subconscious comes up with! I can’t remember the author’s name, tho.

  8. Vicki says

    Zackoz -- yes! I’ve googled before to try to find out more about it, and now found your question which is the only hit. My dad used to recite Don Jose to us as children. His name was Bill (SF) Bailey, and he grew up in Birmingham. He also recited another one:
    Dan Donkin was a collier
    A man who never smiled
    Of evil words a vollyer
    Intemperate and wild
    One day another collier
    Fell headlong down a shaft
    And then that surly collier
    Grew ever so much jollier
    And read the works of Molière [“Mollier”!]
    And actually laughed.

  9. Janice Skippy says

    I learnt Don Jose when I was at school in Perth, W Australia. I’ve never forgotten it and thoroughly searched the web as you have. In the end I presumed I’d made it up but couldn’t imagine my language etc was so good at 10 years of age. This was 55 years ago. I will now continue to believe it actually was me.

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