Since October, the door has been sitting in my parents' garage, leaned up against the work bench right in the middle of the action, where my mom has been warning somebody not to break the glass at least once per weekend day. Note: This will be important later.
Last weekend, it finally came time to hang the door. Before we broke out the drill and hinges, I decided to prep it for eventual painting: take the old hinges off, rough up the finish with the electric sander, and make a hole for the new door pull. Best to take care of the prep work before it's attached to anything, right?
I've spent a lot of quality time with the electric sander over the last six months, and made basically-invisible changes to a lot of boards. (Is it square now? Now? What about now? Like...now?) This was not that kind of sanding. The finish on the door came off with satisfying ease, and it looked different. I started with the flat surfaces, then started getting into the corners and molding around the small panes. Visions of taping and painting danced in my head. And then:
Here is the secret to safely sanding around a pane of glass with an electric sander: use the corners of the sandpaper. Don't use the sides--there are just too many points of contact and too much vibration. (Also, humility. Don't get cocky, kid.) I know this because I was sanding away, and the sander shuddered against the glass, and the upper-left small pane broke from corner to corner.
To me, this looks like the end of the world. How do I fix broken glass? Are there elves involved? Do I need magic jewelry to make this happen? Surely there's no store for this kind of thing. There you have it: after a long search and a semi-miraculous moment of door acquisition and months of skirting around it, I had somehow done the irreparable. With the sander, too. I always thought it would be my uneasy ally, the table saw!
To my dad, thankfully, this does not look like the end of the world. We pried off the wooden frame and took the rest of the pane out, and Dad saved one of the broken pieces as a sample for the guy at the glass store (...that apparently exists). Then he remembered that he had this kind of glass stashed away somewhere, waiting for a rainy day, or for someone to make a careless move with the electric sander. Mom says he's already cut it to fit.
As I write this, that pane of glass is still missing. I'm nervous about nailing the frame back into place (yes, let's swing hammers near the new glass, shall we?), but Dad swears it'll be easy. In any case, we kept going. The door is up. We're getting closer.