Splinter-Free Cabin Access

By , January 3, 2014

Our rustic little cabin features an old fashioned cabin latch. a piece of broken ax handle, pinned toward one end, sticks through a large iron marine cleat that acts as a door handle, and rests in a notched wooden block. A hole drilled in the handle above the block holds the latch string, which passes through the door to the outside. We replaced the original handle of the latch string, a Tinkertoy piece, with a small, oiled section of deer antler. One enters the cabin by pulling down on the antler, which pops the ax handle out of the notch, and using the outside marine cleat as a handle.

Unfortunately, the door is fashioned of rough lumber. The act of grabbing the latch string handle often leaves us with a painful splinter under a fingernail! About a year ago, I installed a piece of stick to make the string hang away from the door surface, but we still picked up splinters now and then.

Just before Christmas, I fixed this problem.

A rawhide finger guard saves us from splinters when opening the door (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

A rawhide finger guard saves us from splinters when opening the door (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Years ago, I bought an entire rawhide, for reasons now forgotten. I cut a rectangle of this hide, soaked it in water to soften it, stretched it out on the door under the latchstring, and secured it in place with brass tacks. As it dried, it flattened and tightened against the door, creating a virtually permanent finger guard.

I could have used a piece of plastic or metal for this, but I wanted to solve the problem without detracting from the rustic flavor of the setup. I think I managed that. More importantly, we can get into the cabin without risking slivers under our fingernails!

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