How much do I hate this door?

the door

It doesn’t close right.  The veneer is peeling off.  The plastic strip holding that awful stained glass window is permanently filthy.  The hinges are rusted.  Carpenter ants refuse to eat it.  It gives me bad dreams.  If we had neighbors, they would all make fun of us.

It was atrocious before, but now that I’ve refinished the area around it, it looks even worse.

new project

I hate that door so much that I bought a salvage door that does not fit and promised myself I would do whatever it takes to make it work.  The salvage door is too short, too wide, and in poor shape.  But I figure maybe I can trim it down to size, add a little wood to the bottom to make it longer, and give it a little architectural detail and maybe it’ll be an improvement over the existing door.

Okay, let’s face it.  a plastic curtain hanging from a rusty chain would be an improvement over the existing door.


First thing I wanted to do is fill that inset area with some planks to give it a little interest.  I’ll put four vertical slats in its length, placing them over the rectangle of low grade plywood and making the door a little beefier and solid.


It’s time to attack them with a router bit and give them a nice border.  I chose a cove router bit (quarter circle) since it goes with the existing edge in the inset.  I had to shape the end grain too, generally a recipe for lots of splintered wood, but I’m desperate here.


One trick I use when routing against the grain is to take a sharp knife and cut along where the router will cut.  It’s an extra step and it takes a bit more time, but it really helps avoid the exit wounds left by the router.


Nice, clean cuts.  And I haven’t even sanded yet.

boards with holes

I considered a number of ways to fasten these boards to the door.  I don’t think I can get enough pressure on them that glue will hold well over time (this is an exterior door, after all).  I’m going to use pan head screws from one side, and put pegs in the holes.  That should make a nice tight fit, invisible from one side, with some architectural detail from the other.



Back to the door. It had a weather strip around the outside that needed to go.  It put up a fight, but when threatened with a knife it finally surrendered.  Next weekend I’ll cut it to size and see if I can get it fitted and mounted.