My beginner wood shop classes has lit a fire. I got all, but one of the doors in my master suite restored and hung. After finishing the linen closet and seeing how easy it cleaned up, I decided to pull the rest out as I thought they were all in pretty good condition and would be a quick project….or so I thought. The one remaining door, water closet, will need to be painted. It was a salvage door I purchased from Cincinnati Reuse Center already painted and not in the best condition. For that reason it will be the only painted door in the master suite.
The last storage closet door was graffiti filled and carved into. The carving was too deep to sand out. It was filled with an ink that did not budge with denatured alcohol or graffiti remover. Unfortunately it’s the side of the door that is exposed to the room. Another “character” mark in testimony to what my home has survived.
First step was cleaning the surface dust off with Murphy Oil Soap water. The inside of the door was a piece of cake. It just needed the Howard’s Feed-N-Wax. In addition to the carvings the other side had graffiti and what looked to be dried egg. The denatured alcohol and 000 steel wool removed the graffiti and egg with relative ease. I followed it with the Howard’s Restor-A-Finish Maple-Pine applied with 0000 steel wool and then the Feed-N-Wax.
The master closet door was another salvage door I got from Building Value Cincinnati. It only needed cleaning and waxing before hanging with the pocket door hardware. Trimming out the pocket door was the challenge. Fortunately I had the door jamb from the kitchen swinging door. The door was long gone, but I saved the jamb during demo. The kitchen was the only room on first floor with the lighter stained doors. The craftsmen that built my home actually stained the kitchen side of the jam light and the dining room side dark. I had to rip that piece down to the right width, so I cut from the dark side. I then sanded and applied Zar Early American stain to match the door.
This door had a regular door knob, but I was able to find two vintage knobs with face plates similar to the originals on Ebay. I drilled an indentation in the jamb, so the latch recessed into it allowing the door to completely close. It will never lock.
The door separating the bedroom from the bath was also fairly easy. There was a small patch of graffiti on each side that I was able to remove with denatured alcohol. Once removed this door just needed Howard’s Feed-N-Wax. The jamb for this door was never removed and the door didn’t close because the hinges were rusted, so I didn’t know the jamb and door were not aligned. My first finish carpenter could/should have caught it when he was installing the trim in the bathroom, so because he didn’t I will live with the gap. More character of an old home. The door still didn’t close due to the wood threshold that was on the floor. I took it up and considered not putting it back, but their was obvious discoloration at that spot. I took the piece to the Wood Shop and used their planer to reduce the thickness. Already putting that membership to good use.
The one thing I’ve noticed is that the short hall to the bathroom is dark. I should have put a light on the outside of the closet. I believe it will be possible to add, but for now I’m placing my favorite lamp in the corner. I bought that lamp for my first apartment,outside of school, for a short lived job I had in Detroit. I really didn’t have a place for it, until now. I will purchase a motion sensor outlet (asked the Google, found it on Amazon), so it will just come on when I walk past.
The last door, laundry room, was the most challenging. This space was a small closet that I enlarged to accommodate the washer and dryer. The original door was only 5′ tall, in great shape, but I couldn’t see myself stooping every time I wanted to do laundry. Once again I was able to find the perfect door, in its jamb, at Building Value Cincinnati (I bartered the original for it, so it was practically free). It was obvious the door had been in a fire. It reeked of smoke. One side was more severe than the other; the years of varnish/finish actually blistered, which probably protected the door. I decided to sand this side of the door vs. stripping. No pros or cons, I just thought sanding would be faster, which proved to be correct. I had the door sanded, cleaned, and stained with the Zar Stain within an hour.
In hindsight I should have done the denatured alcohol step before applying the stain, but I just assumed this door was going to be slightly darker than the others based on the other side. Turns out that darkness was just soot as when I wiped it with my denatured alcohol soaked steel wool it revealed a much lighter door, same shade as others. With the small wipe I was forced to clean the entire door, which used up a few pieces of steel wool. What came up was a mixture of soot and old varnish, but once all removed the door was beautiful. I used the Howard’s Restor-a-Finish Maple-Pine and once hung rubbed on a coat of Howard’s Feed-N-Wax. I was able to use the original knob and face plate.
Here’s a warning and shared lesson learned. I worked on these doors three days in a row, working until 2-3 in the morning the first two nights. I have not suffered any serious injuries while working on my house, but with the laundry room door I came very close to loosing my left eye.
Hanging doors by yourself is easy when you separate the hinges. I have been soaking my rusty hinges in vinegar (see YouTube, a DIYers Resource post) and have successfully been able to remove the pins. The pins on the laundry room door put up a fight. I used vice grips and got the bottom knob off, but the pin, even though the hinge had movement, wouldn’t come out. It was about 1 am and I got the NOT so brilliant idea of clamping the hinge to a pallet (I need to install the vice grip I bought for my bench) so I could use a screwdriver and a small sledge hammer to tap it out. Hand on screwdriver and some pretty hard whacks and nothing. I released the screw driver and double fisted the hammer and came down as hard as I could. The screwdriver ricocheted out and somehow flipped up and went straight up my left nostril. Instant nose bleed, no geyser. My hands were filthy and I had no clean rags in basement, so I cupped my hands under my nose to minimize the trail of blood to my kitchen where I washed my hands and grabbed paper towels.
It took about 30 minutes to get the bleeding under control and the leech-like clots to stop. My face was aching, but I was bond and determined at that point to hang the door, which I did before going to bed with a cotton round saturated with Neosporin stuck up my nose. The next morning, a Sunday, there was only a runny nose level of bleeding with less pain, so I went to church. I did get in to see my doctor on Monday where I updated my tetnus (was two years out from needing it) and was referred to an ENT, who confirmed no serious injury.
First time I appreciated my big nose (you can laugh). Do not EVER try that yourself.
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