Zen And The Art Of Pocket Door Repair

There’s something about Tuesdays: I never get anything accomplished. I find myself at 2:26pm having achieved nothing productive really today. I really need a job where I have actual work to do.

Stress = OCD = My productivity plummets

Today’s white whale is the pocket door next to my office. I sit exactly twelve inches from the solid wood panel that has never worked properly since the day we moved in. It easily weighs forty pounds and it scrapes along the hardwood floor for it’s first few feet of travel. It leaves a little white streak of paint in it’s track. It mocks me. It’s one of those mind numbing things that I had gotten used to over the course of two years. But today, like an alcoholic or drug addict I had a relapse.

During a break from “work”. I looked up and noticed two little tabs on the side, bottom, of the front roller. “Hmmm…I bet those do something.” Using my finger the one tab sort of slides back and forth.  “See, I was right”.

I can not leave well-enough alone.

My pocket door roller with two little tabs on the side. The door droops enough that I can see it without removing the trim.

My pocket door roller with two little tabs on the side. The door droops enough that I can see it without removing the trim. Both tabs are pushed “back” in this photo.

Google “pocket door hardware”.

No luck finding a picture of my hardware.

Google “fix pocket door roller”.

Nothing that looks like my set up. Most sites say I have to remove the trim. “Hmmmm….I really would like to avoid removing the trim, although the paint is cracked in the corners already, so it’s not like a big deal to dive in with a hammer and pry bar”, I muse silently.

Look up at hardware again. Covered in paint is inscribed the word: “Stanley“.

Google “Stanley pocket door hardware”.

Click. Click. Click.

After finally figuring out that I have “Home Hardware” as opposed to “Tracks, Hangers and Sliding Doors” (this took me 15 minutes to figure out – score one for product company website designers foiling me) I figured out which hardware we have attached to the white slab of wood leading into my office. Sure enough there was a photo that looked like our hardware.

Stanley PDF150 Pocket Door Contractor Set.

Stanley PDF150 Pocket Door Contractor Set.

There weren’t any instructions online so I called Stanley; going on an hour into this afternoon’s white whale epic. I spoke to the nice customer service rep who confirmed that there aren’t any instructions for this hardware.

I guess everyone is just supposed to know how it works…like breathing or having sex for the first time.

I described my situation and he said he could talk me through how the two clips work. I don’t know if this entered me into some previously unknown handyman society but I gladly listened and he confirmed my suspicions.  You slide the top tab back first (he said “down” but I let it go without correction – we were both on the same page and after all, he was “holding my hand” through my delicate first time trying to fix pocket door hardware). Anyway you slide the top tab back then jamb a flathead screw driver into the bottom tab and slide it back as you lift up the door. Then magically the door will drop off the roller pin.

Cool, thanks,” and I hung up the phone.








Well I did all that and nothing really happened. “I haven’t had this much fun since I lost my virginity.” I thought to myself. So I jammed the screw driver in again.






Wiggle. Push. Pull. Curse. Wiggle. Bounce, bounce, bounce.

The door drops a little and the roller pin is disengaged but I don’t see how I’ll separate the two. The door isn’t dropping all the way off the pin. By now it’s almost to the floor.

At that point I stopped. The lower plastic tab is chewed up now, as is the pocket door edge. With my blood pressure rising I took the high road and chose to write this entry, as opposed to taking a crow bar to the trim and ripping out the door entirely – which would have turned into a three day project costing hundreds of dollars, I suspect.  This is what we call maturity kids. Instead of throwing a fit and breaking things. I let it be, pushed the door up to reengage the roller and stepped away from the door. I slid it into its pocket, dragging the last foot or two on the hardwood floor, past the white paint scrape.

I wrote.

Tonight I will drink.

Door wins this round.

All in all though I didn’t have the worst Tuesday in our household. Mr. Goo, and Daisy, got “fixed” today. Plus they have ear mites and Daisy has an eye infection. So while I was beaten by a simple pocket door, at least I didn’t get snipped. And I don’t think I have ear mites. Maybe Dixon (aka “Mr. Goo”) and I can sit on the couch with a cold beer tonight (I’ll put a cold pack down next to me to sooth his sore nether region) and talk about how Tuesday kicked our butt’s. That’s the great thing about friends: no matter how bad your day was, having a friend to commiserate with always makes things better.

And there’s always tomorrow.  You’ve been warned pocket door.

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