Mother's Day Screen Door Nightmare!

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Project by robbinscabin posted 05-11-2009 12:37 AM 4124 views 4 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few days back many of you fine Lumberjocks came to my rescue when my old (and I mean ancient) Black and Decker Router went awry. You may have read and commented on my blog posts when I sent out my urgent SOS and subsequent Thank You…but even you don’t know the whole story behind this nightmare door!

Normally a screen door project takes me two maybe three days to complete—start to finish but this door took me six days straight! The reasons it took me so much longer are somewhat simple to understand but very diffiucult to imagine. I began the door by chalking out the design. The design is much more complicated than my normal designs but it’s for my Mom so I planned on taking my time and doing it perfectly (yeah, right!). All went fine with the chalking and the jigsawing. I spent days dremeling all the detail into the pine tree, adding texture to the rock cliffs, enhancing the deer, and finally tucking an owl into the other tree. And then came time to router the oval “frame” into the door. This is where things began to go terribly wrong. My router managed to squeeze up under my oval template and carved a chunk out of the frame. With the help of all the Lumberjocks I figured out how to do my first patch job. It took me three hours of increasing valuable time but I was satisfied for my first attempt. But that wasn’t the only router mishap and the next was even worse!

So I flipped the door over to router a channel for the screen and screen spline to sit into. I’ve done it many times before. However, this time my router wiggled a nut loose and it PLUNGED through the door right into the “V” of the oval frame (luckily not near the patch job). This would be understandable if I had a plunge router but I did NOT! I nearly cried. How could my router hate me so much? After a second of self pity I took a deep breath and repaired the plunge with my second patch job (and this one was impossible to see—I must learn quickly—LOL). Hubby came home, listened to the story and suggested that even though I normally round over all the edges in my designs with the router…maybe I shoud skip that step. I agreed. So I stained the door with the base coat color (Minwax Gel Stain Antique Maple). After which I added the pine cone and branch dremel-ed detail. And then the rest of the stain colors overtop and then coat after coat of poly.

Now all that’s left is to attach the screen and add the wooden frame for the back of the door. Simple, Right? WRONG! My spline and screen refused to stay put. I tried glue and then resorted to staples something I’ve never had to do before…Darn that router! Once the screen was on and tightly stretched we attached the back frame. Using the same screws that we used on the last door. Four screws came through the front of the door slightly! Can you believe it? I couldn’t. Neither could my husband. A small (not even noticable mistake) that nearly sent me over the edge of sanity! So, not having smaller screws available at 9:00 p.m. on the Eve of Mother’s Day we decided to set the screws in at an angle…and pray. We were lucky and had no more issues. And the Door was Done! Finally!!!

We went to breakfast with Mom this morning and just after my kids and hubby went out to the truck I said, “Oh, I forgot to give you your gift!” I reached into my purse and produced a small box. She could not understand why I had given her two packages of hinges…until she got to her truck!

Needless to say…She was very happy and refuses to see ANY mistakes. And what did I get for Mother’s Day. Check out the new additions in my workshop photos.

-- Robbinscabin,

19 comments so far

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 4634 days

#1 posted 05-11-2009 12:48 AM

That door is just beautiful!

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View lew's profile


13482 posts in 5086 days

#2 posted 05-11-2009 12:56 AM

Door looks great!

Mistake? What mistake?

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 5170 days

#3 posted 05-11-2009 01:20 AM

There are obviously a lot of hours in this project. I’m sure Mom loves it!

On a side note, I think if you make these often, then constructing an ellipse jig for your router would be a great service to your craft. Freehanding a router for your designs is essential, however when routing things like your outer ellipses it might be helpful to get those perfect, which a jig can help with. The human eye notices imperfect geometric shapes, but not so much on things like your inner details. I think if you were to rout the ellipses with a jig, then freehand your designs, not only would you prevent more patch jobs, but you would also bring your work to a whole different level.

Good work!


-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View robbinscabin's profile


313 posts in 4819 days

#4 posted 05-11-2009 01:26 AM

Thanks All!

JC~I definitely think I need a jig but as usual (for me) I have no clue how to make one! LOL. This was my first ellipitical shape and I hated every minute of it. However, it’s been on my parent’s house for roughly three hours and I’ve already gotten a call to make another just like it…So yeah, I gotta figure out how to make a jig.

-- Robbinscabin,

View FXCREW's profile


20 posts in 4712 days

#5 posted 05-11-2009 01:41 AM

The door will be loved by your Mother no matter what mistake and if there are any I can’t see them.I think you will enjoy the new router to make more great doors.keep up the nice work

View a1Jim's profile


118308 posts in 4908 days

#6 posted 05-11-2009 02:55 AM

Hey Robbin
Great save, woodworking is not just making things it’s being able to pull them out of disaster,as you did so well. As for the ellipse Jig ,woodcraft sells one for under $10 for drawing the circle and then you can make a pattern and use it to route your doors by using a pattern router bit to follow the pattern and cut you groove around the door.


View flcopper169's profile


187 posts in 4670 days

#7 posted 05-11-2009 02:56 AM

Wow… That’s one beautiful screen door….You’re a fantastic woodworker…. You had some problems but you over came them…. Thanks for posting this…

Happy Mother’s Day,


-- Happy and safe woodworking, [email protected]

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 5170 days

#8 posted 05-11-2009 02:58 AM

Check this out for cutting ellipses….You can make a jig simply on the tablesaw:

-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 4715 days

#9 posted 05-11-2009 03:01 AM

I couldn’t make out all the details in your earlier pictures, but now that it’s painted and stained it really looks great. Nice new tools too. If you ever find yourself needing some hardware or tools after hours again, just send me a message. I believe I’m less than an hour away so if I have it, it’s yours (hardware, not the tools of course) or you can borrow any tool I have that I can lift into my truck.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View robbinscabin's profile


313 posts in 4819 days

#10 posted 05-11-2009 03:05 AM

FX~Mom doesn’t see the mistakes and apparently neither do her neighbors so…we are our own worst critics.

Jim~Do you give classes? LOL. You’ve given me so many tips and tricks that I’d pay big money for a tutoring lesson! I will head to WoodCraft immediately. (See, I even do my homework~heehee)

Rob~Reading your post I laughed out loud at being called a fantastic woodworker. I’ve seen some really amazing projects on this site done by really outstanding woodworkers. Me, I just barely cut a straight line (that’s why I call all my projects rustic—LOL). Still, thanks for the compliments and for the laugh.

JC~Soon as I’m done with Professor Jim’s homework, I’ll make sure I start in your assignment. ; )

Dale~How neighborly of you! I’ve never dropped in on a neighbor for a cup of sugar…but deck screws, that just might happen.

-- Robbinscabin,

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4639 days

#11 posted 05-11-2009 06:51 AM

Anybody can cut a square door but your great design and carving really is impressive!
Everytime anyone goes through the door you work will be appreciated and remembered. Any mistakes we make when building a project most likely would never be noticed by anyone else because they aren’t involved with each and every step of the process.
Great Door! Happy Mothers day to your Mom…

View oaktree's profile


9 posts in 4690 days

#12 posted 05-11-2009 01:36 PM

nice door! I’ll stop out to your mom and dad’s and see it some time this week.If you need some tools or hardware call me or stop at the house.My shop is your shop:)( Roger)

-- Roger,N.Y.

View robbinscabin's profile


313 posts in 4819 days

#13 posted 05-11-2009 02:06 PM

Roger~Thanks for stopping by. Heard your old man was already razzing Mom & Dad about their broken railing. LOL. Mom insists that I defend their poor old porch so here goes….

This winter the snow came crashing off their metal roof and crashed onto their porch. This has happened a lot over the past few winters but this time the weight and speed of the snow cracked the porch railings in two. Now, that spring is finally here (although you wouldn’t know it by today’s temps) they will be replacing the railings and giving the deck a “freshening”. There’s even talk about changing the trim color to blend better with the new door. THERE MOM, I’ve defended your honor! LOL.

-- Robbinscabin,

View Dusty56's profile


11868 posts in 5019 days

#14 posted 05-11-2009 05:00 PM

It’s wonderful !!! Great job : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5630 days

#15 posted 06-08-2009 01:02 PM

What a great idea for a screen door, it’s beautiful.

Good job!

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

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