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My storm door was slightly open, and a very strong gust of wind grabbed it and slammed it open hard enough to break the chain, break the closer, and break the trim where the closer bracket was mounted.

broken trim

I am trying to mount a new closer using longer screws to go further into the door frame, but I could not get the trim to be flush. Upon closer inspection, it looks like a few small bits of wood from around the closer bracket have fallen down into the gap that was caused by the frame being pulled outward.

gap closeup

Using a pair of pliers, I was able to pull some of these pieces out of the way, and the gap is now slightly smaller. However, it seems like there is still a tiny bit of wood stuck behind there.

I really don't want to have to completely rip apart this side of the frame, because despite the broken wood, the weatherproofing metal flashing is still completely intact. If I remove the flashing, I will also have to remove the door in order to get a stapler in there to resecure it.

At this point, I think I have two options: either figure out a way to remove the last little bits of wood from the gap, or just mount the new closer and hope that the longer screws will force the little bits out of the way (or live with it being slightly crooked).

If I really need to get the little bits out of the way, what kind of tool can I use to reach into that little crack? Or is it not worth the trouble and reasonable to leave the little bits there?

3 Answers 3

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There are lots of ways to do this, but you probably need to open the channel a bit to release debris.

Insert a flatbar or other fairly wide tool and flex the channel open slightly. Use a surgical clamp, needle nose pliers or other thin grasping tool to remove the slivers, or stab them with a utility knife blade and pull them out. Compressed air or a vacuum could also help.

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  • Using a vacuum at the same time as the prybar is probably best, since simply using the prybar may simply allow the splinters to fall further down into the crack. Of course, if the crack is long enough, the slivers dropping to the bottom may be OK if it leaves the area with the screws able to close.
    – Huesmann
    Feb 29 at 17:09
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Give it the Gordian Knot treatment: Bust off the sliver and sneak an epoxy based wood filler in there to fill the crater.

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I had a hard time finding something that I could stick into the gap - everything I could find was either too thick, or too rigid to fit into the available space.

I decided to just put the screws in and see what would happen.

With 2.25" screws biting into clean wood deeper in the frame, the entire thing was pulled back together, and no further work was necessary.

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