Thursday, April 20, 2017

Our Old (New) Interior Doors Makeover

Alternate Title: If you give Mal a paintbrush…She’ll probably decide to paint all the interior doors as well. 

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Several months ago I mentioned my next project would be redoing the office and I had a plan of the large pieces and the style direction.  I’m happy to report major progress has been made: new furniture purchased after a trip to Ikea, major purging action of unnecessary supplies, too many Craigslist/Facebook selling transactions to count, clearing out the room, and prepping for paint. 

While I was this close to painting the room and getting one step closer, I decided the empty room was the best opportunity to finally tackle the interior doors.  I made a quick confession of our door situation, or lack thereof, way back in 2011.  In a nutshell, when we first moved in we had planned to refinish all the original interior doors, but after failed attempts to remove the layers and layers of paint, (which were so think the trim details were basically unrecognizable), we set them aside to deal with later.  That turned into years (yes we lived without doors on our bedrooms for a year or two), and in the meantime we found another solution when we found solid core cherry doors while shopping for our upstairs bathroom vanity at our local construction surplus store. 

We were able to get all the doors needed for a steal (it was so long ago I can’t even remember the total, but I think it was something like $60/piece) and they were similar two-panel style to the originals seen in this really old photo from our first walk-thru:

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But, our 1927 house wasn’t going to make it that easy, and all the doors needed to be modified to the smaller frame dimensions.  Back in 2012, I took photos as Mike modified them so that I could write detailed instructions, but now I only barely remember what’s happening in these photos so I’m going to try my best, ha!  It should also be noted at this point that the plan was to paint all the doors white, like they were when we moved in. This becomes really important later on in the story.  But, on to the tutorial!

The first step was to use the table saw to cut one of the stiles off completely. 

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Since the doors were solid core cherry veneer, the edges couldn’t be modified without exposing the particle board insides.  So Mike did this to get to the inside and modified the center so that all the stiles were still proportionate.

This next part was sort of a gamble, but we couldn’t figure out how to remove the inside panels from the rails/stiles so we figured we’d let gravity help.  Mike drilled holes in the panels (knowing at least that amount was going to be removed to get the final size) and we basically hung it from the ceiling and gently hit it (important to note we did this as uniformly as we could and with a rubber mallet) and the panel slid out from the rails.  This makes more sense looking at the photos:

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It was slow going, and I was there to help “catch” it, but it worked (!) so we continued the same process for the rest of the panels (6 doors x 2 panels each).

Next, he chiseled out the insides from the stile.  This would later allow him to fit the shortened panel back in.

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Then the rails, (top, middle, and bottom) were cut to the correct size.

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The panels were also cut on the table saw, but I didn’t grab a photo of that. 

Everything was lined up and marked for new dowels.

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And, new dowel holes were drilled into the stiles and rails.

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At this point I must have gotten bored because that’s where the photos end, but the panels were gently slide back in and the stile was loaded with dowels and glue and pounded back into place as well.  Bondo was used on any spots that didn’t line up perfectly and lock sets and hinges were added.  Then repeat for all 6 doors! 

Once everything was dry we were so happy we had new doors that Mike installed them, raw wood and all!  I do remember very vividly him saying that it was such a pain in the butt to carry each one up two flights up stairs (deck and inside) that I either had to paint them on the hinges or we would have to clear a room upstairs because he wasn’t carrying them downstairs again!

We have been living with them for the past 5 years like this and with the office completely cleared out I figured it was as good of a time as any to finally finish these bad boys.  I’m a little bummed because I could have finished the office by now, but having this giant task done will be really nice!

I’ll be back next time with the story of finishing the doors, and hopefully photos of them installed!  At this point we have half of the doors removed and the paint bought so I have a busy next couple of days ahead of me!