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An Eye On Design:

February 27, 2014

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The Bliss of Stopping the Mocking: Tearing Down to Build Up

September 16, 2013

The Studio Door Project: Part Two - The Gentle Deconstruction of a Door

Despite the mallet and hammer I'm wielding in the picture above, I actually used a much gentler touch when taking apart this 100+ year old antique cabin door. When it comes to taking apart something you intend to put back together, it's important to handle each piece with care and patience.


Step One: A gentle dismantlement.

My Tools:

  • Gloved Hands

  • a Sturdy Metal Putty Knife

  • Pair of Plyers

  • a Brush, and

  • a permanent marker

With these simple tools I was able to dismantle the entire door into 19 pieces in no time at all. First, I started with the framing around the window of the door. I gently wedged the putty knife between the door and the frame and softly went from one end to the other lightly pulling the framing up. Then used my hands to pull up the framing the rest of the way. Marking the backs of each piece as I went along with a permanent marker, to make reassembly easier later.  I repeated this all the way around the window, then removed the glass.

Next, I removed the framing from around the bottom of the front of the door using this same technique. Then, flipped the door over and used a pair of plyers to remove the nails along the top sides and bottom of the framing. The nails holding this framing in place were also keeping the sides of the door secured to the middle of the door, so they took a bit more strength to pull out.


After getting them out I was able to pull the sides that where being held together with thick wooden pegs, away from the middle of the door; then the middle apart into 4 pieces.

And with that, the first Step was done.


Step Two: Next, I would need to clean each individual piece of the door.


My Tools:

  • Rubber Gloves

  • Wood Cleaner - (I used Zep Commercial Deck & Fence Cleaner Concentrate,
    because it doesn't only clean, it removes stains and discoloration caused by mold and mildew, as well as restoring wood to it's original look without polishing it. - I want the end result to be naked wood)

  • Bucket + Water

  • Non-Scratch Scour Pads

  • Terry Cloth Towels

When it came time to cleaning the pieces of the door it was a surprisingly easy process with the right supplies. I used Zep Commercial Deck & Fence Cleaner in order to remove the dirt build up, water staining and discoloration, and possible mold and mildew which could've built up over time from the doors exposure to the elements over the years. I followed the directions on the bottle to create the cleaning solution, then used both the non-scratch scour pads and the terry cloth towels to wipe down the sides of each piece.

Step Three: Repairing the pieces

The last step I needed to complete before putting the door back together was to repair any damaged pieces of wood. So that meant removing rusted nails from the framing, filling cracks and holes in the wood, and eventually sanding the pieces smooth afterwards.

My Tools:

  • Work Gloves

  • Hammar

  • Wire Cutters

  • Wood Filler - I used Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Filler Max

  • 1.5in. Flexible Putty Knife



First, I started by removing the old rusted nails from the wood. For nails with exposed heads I used the back of a hammer to pull them out, taking care to not damage the wood. For nails with heads I couldn't get to, I used a pair of wire cutters to snip the exposed parts to be flush with the wood.


After that I used the wood filler to repair the cracks and holes that were in some of the pieces. This was a relatively simple task.


For cracks: make sure to load the putty knife with about a tablespoon of filler, than spread the filler perpendicular to the length of the crack; starting above the crack line, pulling downward past it. This is repeated down the full length of the crack until it is entirely filled. Make sure that you get the surface smooth, either raised nor indented.


For holes: depending on the size of the hole you'll want more or less filler on the knife (I just use my best judgement for how much). Once again starting above the hole and moving over it pulling downward and past it. Repeat until the hole is completely filled and flush with the surface. For larger holes you might want to leave the filler slightly raised above the surface you're trying to match, this will account for the filler settling into the hole and this way when you sand the piece you can make it flush with the rest of the surface.

I then had to leave sanding the wood 'til the next day in order to let the filler dry over night.


So, with that I was done for the day.


Stay tuned for more on the Studio Door!

- Happy Monday


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