Road Trip for the Elusive Office Door

20191123_114730Saturday I made a quick trip up to Columbus, OH to pick up the only missing door in my house; the elusive, 2-panel (vertical), approx 32″x 80″ door for my office.  You cannot restore old houses without having an arsenal of salvage stores to shop.  I found Columbus Architectural Salvage‘s website months ago when started searching for doors for my house.  They have always had the 2-panel vertical style I needed, but not until last week did they have one in the size I needed.  I paid for it in advance to ensure it would be there.

What a super cool store and so well organized, I could spend hours.  It was sensory overload.  The budding up-cylcer in me was roaring to come out and buy, buy, buy for project ideas.  I resisted and came home with just a door, a mortice lock to fit it, and a couple of hinges I will need for my master bedroom refreshment center project, stay tuned for that one.

The door will need to be stripped and stained to match the others in the house, but this won’t be my first stripping rodeo.  It will also need to be reversed as it is currently 20191123_151632oriented to swing in the wrong direction.  I’ve already solicited Scotti, from the Wavepool Wood Shop to tackling getting it fitted for the door jamb.  One day I will learn the process of retro-fitting doors and jambs, but at this stage of the project I’m invoking my old time is money adage.  At my current skill set (which is advanced and getting stronger) I would take days to fit the door and that’s not time I have to give at this stage.

Having that door allows me to truly see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The first floor trim, moulding, and setting of five doors is all that is left from calling the inside of the house complete.  I’ve put myself on the clock to have the inside complete by my birthday in mid January, so no holiday trim the tree gathering again this year.

Like It Came With The House

My house is transformed.  To know where it started and to see it today is unbelievable.  That is why it may sound strange when I state hanging a salvage door to close off the 7527basement, laying tile on the landing, and refreshing the steps has made the biggest change to date.  It is going to be an extreme pleasure to use the back door as my entrance once the garage is built.

I found the door at Building Value, my favorite stop for reclaimed material.  It was just the door, no knob or jamb.  I paid Scotti from the Wood Shop to build the jamb out of extra jambs I had.  He had to reverse the swing and rip the width of the jamb to just 3″.  He finished it much faster than I needed, so the back entrance became a priority because I didn’t want to add to my pile of projects already in the basement.

Before I could hang the door I needed to put the tile down on the landing.  Timing was perfect as I had just finished the master shower and knocking this out now meant I could retire my wet saw for a long time.  I like laying tile, but my two bathrooms wore me out.  I had a few pieces left from the tub area in the master bath and I thought it would be great in that area, but I didn’t have enough to cover the entire surface.  I most certainly was not going to order more, so I got the idea to border the sides and use the tile in the center.  I found the perfect match at the Tile Shop, Workshop Desert Wood Look Porcelain 4 x 47.  I only needed four pieces.

Before I could lay the tile I had to level out the surface.  No pics to show, but I used Mapei Novoplan Easy Plus self-leveling underlayment from Floor and Decor.  Mixed and poured in the low areas on top of the cement board I had installed.  Amazing how well it worked.  I also decided that a pretty landing would pale next to the worn out steps, so I decided to cover themwith RetroTreads I found at Lowe’s. I did the prep work for those as I knew it would generate a lot of saw dust.  I had to cut the overhang off each step.  I knew the tile would create a need for a reducer going do into the basement.  I bought one before I knew the width I needed to cover and it was way too narrow, so I bought a Stairparts 11.5×48 Stair Tread, which I was able to rip down to the right width.  It was the perfect height, butting up perfectly to the tile.

With a close enough level surface I started with the border tile.  I wanted it to meet on the corners with 45 degree angles and 3 of the 4 angles would be impacted by the door or steps.  This tile project would have been 100% perfection if I had not forgotten to account for the new riser I was putting on the steps.  The most complex corner ended up being off by 1/2″, so I ended with a much thicker grout line in that corner.

I used my triangle square to make show the box was aligned correctly and then I did a dry run with the center tile.  If all went well I would have two pieces to spare.  Key was finding the center as it would allow me to get two spaces from one tile once I got to the perimeter pieces.  I didn’t miss a cut until the last piece of tile, so I ended the project with one piece to spare.

Next day was grouting, followed by cutting the treads to the right width.  With the dry fit of the steps down, I stained them with the Early American stain I had to match the kitchen door and added two coats of Bona Floor sealing.

I’ve never hung a door by myself.  The entrance to the basement wasn’t close to being square.  I knew the door was not as wide as the original, but it was the right height and style.  I’ve been looking for that door (and office) for two years.  I needed to close up the opening, so I got a 2×4 and ran it down the hinge side of door.  I knew it was import to make that side level.  To do so I had to shim out the top while the bottom was flush to the wall.

I also needed to cut off some of the top of the entrance.  I used my 4′ level to strike a line.  To make it level I cut almost 2″ from the left side and only an 1″ from right.  No pics (down fall of working alone) I did a plunge cut with my circular saw and my job max tool to get the corners the circular saw could not reach.  I went old school and used 10d, 3″ finishing nails to set the door.  I drilled a hole for the door knob to catch, but need to find a strike plate to finish it off.  I amazed myself by how well that went in.  The door was in really good shape.  Dusty, like my other trim and doors, so I went back to my Howard’s Restor-A-Finish stand by.  One day when I’m bored because EVERYTHING else is finished I may paint the other side to match the walls.  For now the pale yellow will be just fine.

With the door hung, tonight I turned my sights on the steps, which was a piece of cake to install.  I kept the top step riser original as the nose of the top step feeds into the kitchen flooring.  I put new risers on the bottom two steps (bottom step I actually installed before the tile) and used denatured alcohol to clean up the stair strings.  I was out of the correct tint of Restor-A-Finish for the strings, so I rubbed them with the Early American stain.  I put down Liquid Nail first and then used the 10d nails for added measure.  Just beautiful.

 

 

 

 

From Pinterest to Reality – Part 2

With the dresser inserted, I was eager to get the trim around it.  I would use the original trim that went around the door, but it would need to be cut down.

The first task was finding it in the mass of bundles.  There are two other short closet storage doors and of course I found the trim for those before finally finding the bundle for that area.  I had labeled them Master Closets 1, 2, and 3.  Honestly at that point I couldn’t remember which was 1 or 3.  2 was easy because it had graffiti on it and my before pictures showed me where it went.

Outside of the graffiti this trim was in really good shape.  Since I found all three bundles I decided to prep and hang them all.  Literally all they needed was cleaning due to all the dust, which I did with a bucket filled with Murphy’s Oil Soap.  I was prepared to do my denatured alcohol/Restore-a-Finish routine, but I only used the alcohol on the outer edges to remove paint and on the top plate of door 2 to remove the graffiti.  I did use the Restore-A-Finish in these areas, but what really brought these pieces back to life was the Howard’s Feed and Wax.

The obstacle on this project was cutting the trim down to fit the dresser and I was nervous about this.  There are no do-over opportunities.  That trim design isn’t made anymore and aged wood with the patina I had can’t be store bought.  I seriously thought about calling Tom Milfeld, but I put on my big girl pants and decided to do a trial run with some scrap wood first.

Forty-five degree miter cuts is rookie level, piece of cake.  Measuring the right length, especially for the last piece is my struggle.  I cut the left side first, followed by the top, which I intentionally made long.  When my first angle met up perfectly I cut the right side of the top and then the right side.  I failed, falling about a half inch too short.

That one practice run gave me the confidence I needed and I proceeded to cut the actually trim, SUCCESS!!!!  But now what to do with the gap at the bottom????

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I had always planned to cover it, which is why adjusting the front legs was crucial in Part 1.  I think I’ll have extra of the original wall trim because I won’t need to reinstall any in the bathroom area, but I wouldn’t know that for awhile, so I decided to go to my favorite salvage store Building Value to see if I’d get lucky and find some wide, old, trim.  I hit the jackpot by finding an old window apron (part that rest under the sill) in the exact color and with an outer moulding that was almost a dead match for mine.  All I needed to do was rip it down to the right height, 6″; right width, “29”; clean with soap water, and rub with the wax.  It fit and blended in like it was always part of the house.

I forgave myself for the poor paint job when I saw the finished product.  As with my mirror project, what I saw in my mind’s eye became a reality.  I am so stoked to find the rest of the trim and get it installed.  While searching for the door trim I did find the trim for the landing at the top of the stairs, so I cleaned it up too; water and wax.

In installing the top of the stairs I discovered once again the difference between drywall and plaster thickness.  The boards needed to align with the stair rail (I think that’s what that part is called), so I made my own shims from some thin pieces I had to build out the ends that needed it.

If all the trim cleans and hangs as easy as these pieces did I’m going to be one happy camper.  I’m hugely motivated to tackle more of this project.

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From Pinterest to Reality – Part 1

Some females have wedding books, saving clippings and photos of ideas to create the perfect wedding.  I had an electronic house book, links and photos to things I’d put in my

first house.  The idea to recess a dresser into the eaves space that was once a short closet was born from this picture I saw on Pinterest.   I was starting with nothing in regards to furniture in my master suite.  I really don’t like a lot of furniture, so this was the perfect solution to utilizing the empty space created when I relocated the door to this closet to my master bath linen closet.

It took several months before I found a salvage dresser that would fit in the dimensions, 20190605_205930but I finally did on Nextdoor.com for $50.  A beautiful, five-drawer dresser with dovetail drawers made by the West Michigan Furniture Co. of Holland, MI.  I couldn’t find any before pics, but it was a beautifully made dresser; solid and heavy.

The first thing I needed to do was trim the overhang from the top and bottom sides.  I’ve had this dresser for at least 9 mos, so I made the cuts with my circular saw before I started working with Tom Milfeld and taking classes at the Wood Shop.  I butchered that dresser.  Some areas I cut in too deep, some not far enough.  It’s a good thing the bulk of the dresser would be recessed in the wall.  I could have let it go, but I filled the gaps with wood filler and sanded down the high areas just to get it ready for paint.

This project was all about salvage, recycle, so I did not purchase the primer paint recommended by the Sherwin Williams sales clerk.  I had over a 1/2 quart of their White Synthetic Shellac Primer left from the fire damaged door I bought, so I used it instead.  He told me that would be over kill and he was right, as I discovered.  I’ve always felt spray painting is the best option for painting furniture.  Rolling/brushing creates too thick of layers if you’re not an expect and I am not.  At the end that’s exactly what I got, but I’m jumping ahead.

Once the primer dried my first, bone head amateur mistake was revealed.  I was in such a rush to get this project done, I did the cardinal sin in sanding.  I started with 80 grit and never went higher, so my surface was rough, especially on the drawers.  In hindsight I should have sanded at that step, but my first inclination was more paint would hide it, NOT.

My walls in my master are Sherwin Williams Indigo Batik, so I purchased a quart of their All Surface Enamel (recommended by the clerk) in that color and he recommended a Mohair Blend roller, which I also bought.  I applied two coats of paint and at that stage absolutely hated that I had ruined such a beautiful dresser.  I called my friend Joan who has a relative that paints furniture all the time.  She uses scrap paint and sands lightly between two coats.

Even though I had three coats on already (primer plus two color) I decided to try the sanding in hopes it would get rid of the rough spots that were still visible.  I only sanded the drawers.  It helped and the fourth coat actually looked pretty good.  So good I decided to drain the end of the quart can of Polycrylic.  I had enough for just one coat, but at this point that dresser had five layers on it, which would come back to bite me.

The craftsmen that build that dresser left zero margin in the drawer openings.  My five 20190609_131153layers were thicker than the original stain, so when I went to test a drawer it would not close all the way.  I intentionally painted the top edge of the drawer, but the bottom lip was just overage, so between the drawer edges and the opening overage I had too much build-up.  I used my new chisel set to scrap the bottom of the drawers.  I was hoping it would create a clean edge and it did.  I thought scraping the bottom would be enough, so the next task was getting the dresser from the basement up to flights to my master.

Earlier in the week I had asked my neighbor if he’d be around on the weekend to help and he was willing, but when the day came I had the epic feeling of not wanting to fail with an audience.  I didn’t know for sure if the dresser was going to fit and I didn’t want witnesses, so I tackled getting it upstairs by myself.  I had the full on Jane Fonda burn working in my already too tight calves when I hit the top landing, but it inserted like a glove.

I tried the drawers again and same outcome, still too much paint, so I bought a paint scraper and scraped the paint from the top of the drawers and top/bottom of the opening.  That did the trick, but it looked awful, so I decided take some dark stain (Minwax brand, but color unknown as I had poured the remnants of several different colors in one can) and stain the top edge of the drawers.  That amazingly did the trick.

The next obstacle were the two front legs.  I had to remove all four legs to trim off the bottom overhang.  I reattached them to their original location.  What I discovered was that my opening wasn’t square and the floor not level.  I had used wood glue with the original screws and I needed to push the front legs back about an inch. I used my draw saw to cut through the glue and mini crowbar to left them off.  Amazingly no damage.

That helped with the bottom alignment, but not the top.  For that I removed the original nail-on sliders and installed adjustable, which would allow me to set the heights on each leg differently.  Turned out I needed the entire dresser to tilt forward, so I made the back legs higher than the front.  I also needed the front right side to be lower than the left, which meant the left rear had to be even higher to stop the dresser from rocking.  Sometimes I amaze myself when my mind can sort through fixes like that.

The last step was replacing the original wood knobs with the Amerock Classic Cabinet Knobs Clear/Golden Champagne I found on Amazon.  They are 8-points, just like my glass door knobs on the first floor and the bases were a perfect match to my other brass accents. 

With that part 1 of the project was complete and I could finally empty the last box and bin in my floor.

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Score, 3 for price of 1

You cannot restore old homes without visiting your local salvage stores.  I’m still looking 20190608_094532.jpgfor two doors (office and basement) in a specific style (Mission, vertical 2-panel), so I make it a point to visit one of 2 stores fairly regularly, Cincinnati ReUse Center and Building Value.  This morning I went to Building Value and scored big time.  Not with doors for my house, but brand new, pre-hung doors for my future garage apartment.

My back door is a 3-panel craftsman styled door I got from Home Depot.  I had decided 20190608_200026that if I couldn’t find a 2-panel I’d buy another 3-panel.  When I saw the exact door at Building Value for $50 I jumped on it.  It only measured 30″ wide, 32″ with the jamb.  I thought that was the opening for the basement door.  It was not, I needed a 32″ wide door.

I could have made it work, but I decided to take a look at my garage plans and low and behold, the door for the bedroom specified a 30″ door.  The plan also calls for a 28″ door for the bathroom and bedroom closet and I knew they had more new doors, so I went back.  Sure enough, they had a 28″ 3-panel and a 28″ 1-panel.  I snatched both of them up.

The 1-panel door is taller than the others, but I figure it’s a closet door, so who would care.  Also, I’m not concerned with it not matching the other 2 because the 1-panel will allow me to hang a mirror on the door giving my future tenant a full-length mirror.  I bought twin size mattress bags to keep them covered and set them on a skid to keep them off the ground, just in case I get water in the basement.  What started as a search for some elusive doors saved me at least $350.

As Seen In My Mind’s Eye

I love it when a vision comes to fruition exactly as I saw it in my mind.  I completed the 1st floor bathroom medicine cabinet project, a project that began with a vision when I walked past a $15 salvage cabinet door at Building Value over a year ago.  The original cabinet was missing the door and shelves, paint was peeling off, I thought it was trash, so it was pitched when we demoed down to the studs.  About a month after demo I saw #NicoleCurtis from Rehab Addict restore a cabinet in similar shape and I kicked myself from throwing mine away.  So what was I going to do with the approx. 25″ x 25″ framed out square in my bathroom wall.

20171119_210039.jpgI was looking for doors when I saw a pair of what was once  glass cabinet doors on a built-in.  Building Valu really didn’t want to sell just one, but I talked them into it.  Instantly, I had the plan in my mind.  The cabinet door would be the mirror mounted to barn door track that would slide open to reveal shelves of the medicine cabinet.  I saw the ending, now I just had to get there.

The door had the old school wavy glass in it, which I removed and gave to Architectural Art Glass when they installed my restored stain glass window.  The first thing I had to do was trim the door down.  Hard to tell from picture since I didn’t capture the entire door, but I could tell from where the rollers were inset in the wood the door ran vertical (it’s not a perfect square) instead of horizontal.  Due to space limits I needed to go horizontal, so the thicker side had to be cut down to make all sides uniform.  I didn’t own a table saw and had never heard of WavePool at that time so my former neighbor cut it down for me.  It sat for several months after that first step.

The tile work was finished, I had started taking my shop classes, so now was the time to focus on the medicine cabinet again.  Next step was filling the back of the opening, which was the drywall from the guest bedroom.  I took a thin piece of MDF board I had leftover from the kitchen remodel project I did, covered it with the motivational peel and stick paper I used on the closet shelves, and used construction adhesive to attach it to the drywall.

I purchased melamine shelf components from Home Depot to create my kitchen and 1st floor bath linen closet shelves.  I had a lot of scraps left that I knew would be great pieces to create the frame of the cabinet.  I only needed an approx 4″ width, so I knew I’d need to drill holes on one side for the pegs that would hold the shelf.  The drill press at the Wood Shop made quick work of that.  With the holes drilled I returned home and ripped the four pieces I needed to create the frame.  I bought iron on laminate for the exposed edges and proceeded to nail the four pieces together.  I don’t have pictures of the finished frame as I managed to shoot about a 1/4″ of a nail into my left flipping finger knuckle.  I took a break from the project again until the swelling went down.

The inside frame was not going to be enough.  The opening still look unfinished, so the next step was trimming it out.  For that I took the new pine I had bought for the built-in, but didn’t use and took it to the Wood Shop and planed it down until it was only about a 1/4″ thick.  I then mitered the ends, prime painted it, and nailed it to the box frame.  I filled in the nail holes and then painted it Incredible White to match the walls.  Big thanks to Scotti at the Wood Shop for giving me a quick tutorial on how to measure appropriately to maintain the 1/4″ reveal I wanted around the frame.

Now back to that cabinet door.  First step was getting the original finish off it.  For that I used the Wood Shop’s belt sander.  I then drilled the holes for the barn door hardware and primed it.  I thought I had bought the Tricorn Black (another color from the 2017 HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway), but I hadn’t so I gave it extra time to dry and turned my focus on the barn door track.  Months prior I had purchased a Smart Standard 5ft mini barn door kit from Amazon without measuring or really knowing how these things worked.  Well it turns out the length of your rail should be twice the length of your door.  I should have ordered a 6 ft length kit, but too much time had passed and I figured it would be close, but workable.

The bigger problem I had was my kit was for hanging a door on furniture.  The holes were pre-drilled and not spaced to hit wall studs, which I needed to do.  I decided to 20190504_134801.jpgsearch Google for tracks that weren’t pre-drilled and I found one on Signature Hardware.  That one track was the same price as the entire kit, but I decided to get it as it also allowed me purchase a slightly longer length.  I measured for the studs and took the track to the Wood Shop to use their drill press to make the holes.

Hanging the track gave me fits.  I used my trusty Walabot (love that gadget) to find the studs and even tested the location.  One would assume a stud would run top to bottom.  The two locations above the opening did not, which I did not discover until I went to drill in the 4″ lag bolts I bought (I didn’t use the bolts that came with the Smart Standard kit as they would not have been long enough).

Turned out I did not give myself enough clearance for the door to roll without hitting the light fixture, so I had to lower the rail.  After patching the four holes I made, I moved it down 1″ and the stud was gone.  I patched again lowered it a bit more.  Once hung I grabbed the primed door to try it out.  The vision was coming to light until I realized the rail stoppers from the kit would not fit on the new rail, it was wider.  I needed to figure out something to stop the mirror from rolling off the end.  The track had two holes covered with plastic plugs that were made for the powder coat process.  I removed one plug, which was in a perfect location and used a leftover spacer from the TV wall mount unit I bought.  Perfect solution.

It was down hill from that point.  I applied two coats of the black paint, let it dry a couple of days and installed the door pull I found on Build.com.  I then took the frame to another local small business in my hood, Southern Ohio Glass, who cut me three glass shelves and filled the frame with a beveled mirror.  It was absolutely beautiful and 100% what I envisioned when I walked past the door over a year ago in the salvage store.

The only glitch I had to fix was the door swung because like the stoppers, the door guides that came with the kit would work with my application.  Back to Google where I searched for door guides and I found on Amazon exactly what I was looking for, a small wall mount barn door guide.  I found the stud, mounted the guide, really showed off, by adding a rubber stopper on the side of door that will hit the wall and with that what was in my mind’s eye was a reality.  My guest bathroom decor is a tribute to all the people in my life that shared their positive spirits and words of encouragement on my journey to restore this very special house.  This is my coolest upcycle/salvage project to date!  All the leftover barn door kit parts will be put to use on my future master bed beverage station.

 

 

All But One

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.

20190413_003808The 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.

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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.

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The one thing I’ve noticed is that the short hall to the bathroom is dark.  I should 20190416_211931have 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.  20190408_192417Once 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.

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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.

You Must Know Your Local Resources

I’ve been labeled a “purist”.  I frequently say my goal is restore my house, not renovate.  I have mass appreciation for the craftsmanship that went into my house.  The level of detail, quality of work, and character can’t be found in modern homes.  Restoration, however, can be very expensive if try to buy new, old, meaning reproductions.  This is why when it comes to restoring old houses you must know where you can find used treasures.

Nicole Curtis (@nicolecurtis, #rehabaddict) stresses utilizing rehab stores to find old parts.  I frequent three places in Cincinnati, mostly in search for doors, but recently I have also found some very affordable trim pieces.  Here are the stores I frequent most:

Building Value is an Easterseals social enterprise that salvages reusable materials for sale to the public. They are sustainability: their efforts help the environment, reduce the cost of disposal, invest in the local workforce, and give architectural gems a second life.

Months ago I bought the doors on the left for my Master laundry room and water closet.  They were the right size and color, but not the right style.  All of my original doors on 20180818_152624.jpgthat level are two panel.  I’ve now decided to paint the doors and trim in the Master bath and was lucky enough to find a two panel door in the jam for just $50!  They let me return the doors, so no extra money out of pocket.  I also found some molding pieces that I used to dress up the #2 pine under my kitchen and 1st floor bath windows.  I bought 27′ of this trim for just $6.81.

20180818_152606Another score was 12, 8′ pieces of primed 4″ baseboards.  A normal DIYer would probably ignore the inside of closets, but I’m not normal.  I’ll rip these pieces down to the right widths and trim out all the closets and use it as baseboard trim in the 1st linen closet, kitchen pantry, and master laundry.  No reason to put the expensive stuff in those areas.  Those 12 pieces cost $40.  New at a big box store would have been twice that or more.

Reuse Center of Cincinnati is dedicated to taking materials headed for the dumpster and re-using them to help others build their own American Dream. Not only do they have old items, they have building grade products that are overstocked by their partner suppliers 20180813_170857or are donated by companies and private individuals all across the Cincinnati and Lexington.  I will get my hand rail from them at pennies on the dollar and when I build my garage apartment I’ll get all the tile I need for the bathroom and/or kitchen from them. On the same day I found the two panel door above (for laundry room), I found this two panel door in the jam for the Master water closet.  They are pricier than Building Value, but $100 still beats the cost of a new one.

Although I have yet to find anything useful, I also frequent Habitat Restores and the Wooden Nickel Antiques.  Habitat Restores are home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  They are independently owned operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. Proceeds are used to help build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities and around the world.  Wooden Nickel buys and sells back bars, fireplace mantels, architectural salvage, stained glass, chandeliers, furniture, decorative arts and fine arts. They seem to focus on high-end pieces.

The other place I’ve had great success in finding door knobs is Ebay.  Just add vintage or antique in front of any item you’re looking for and you will surely find someone selling it on Ebay.  The original doors I bought didn’t have knobs and I wanted to match the existing doors (picture on left) on that floor.  I came pretty darn close with these and was also able to find one side of a 6 point glass knob to replace one that was missing and a full glass knob set to put on the pantry door.  I am using the same door, but it had a metal door knob.  In its new location it will be next to the kitchen entry door that has a glass knob.  The “not normal” me wants them to match.  Knobs came with mortise lock and I paid under $100 for all.

Two none local places with websites I check frequently are Columbus Architectural Salvage, in Columbus, OH, and Black Dog Salvage, featured in another one of my favorite 20161025_234037DIY Network shows Salvage Dawgs, located in Roanoke, VA.  As with my mecca to Waco, TX I have to get to Roanoke to see the store that inspires me to upcycle.  My college trunk turned bench idea came from watching their show.

I’m still shy two doors in my house, so if anyone is aware of  2-panel mission style doors (vertical, side by side panels) let me know.  I need 32x80ish.  I prefer unpainted, but now that I have a good stripper I will consider painted also.  In the jam is bonus, not required.