In the wee hours of Christmas Eve — the night before the night before Christmas, as our friend Erin likes to say — my mom’s shed got burglarized. The thief took her prized Toro lawnmower, but curiously left it in the azalea bushes in the backyard and abandoned his prize. (Likely because the mower is power-assisted and extremely difficult to move when it’s not running. And starting the mower in her backyard at oh-dark-thirty wasn’t an option.)
He got into the shed by simply prying at the hasp until the thin, rusted metal broke. While my dad did a good job of using strong and long screws on the hasp, the lock itself was just too small. And it got me thinking about the security of my own brand new shed, as I’m just about to start loading it with tools.
The screws that come with hasps are stupid-small. One of the most common ways shed security fails is when someone wedges in a prybar and tears these wee screws out in a matter of seconds. Obviously, replacing them with stronger screws is a good first step, but it’s not infallible. I could do this better, stronger, faster. OK, maybe not faster.
So this morning, while rain and cold weather conspired to prevent me from painting the new shed, I tackled it.
The idea?: Replace a screw on each side of the door hasp with a carriage bolt — a strong, round-headed bolt that’s attached with a nut on the inside and no easy means to remove from the outside. I did the same on each side of both hinges, too. It seems fitting to prevent a miscarriage of justice with a carriage bolt.
The job sounded simple enough, and it would’ve been, if the hinges and one side of the hasp weren’t mounted on trim boards over the wide side of 2×4’s. The longest carriage bolts I could find that could reasonably fit the hardware were 5 inches long and would not make it through all that wood. So I ended up creating a countersink hole on the inside to give me space to get a washer and nut on the back of the carriage bolt without compromising the integrity of the door frame.
It may not look like the most elegant solution, but it’s a darn-sight stronger than it was. And since I already had the nuts and washers from fixing my mom’s shed, I’m only out about $1.77 for six bolts.