Basement door that has been waiting over forty years to be done!

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Project by controlfreak posted 08-14-2021 07:38 PM 1099 views 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For starters this is the door that was here when I bought the place 41 years ago.

I knew it needed to be replaced but never really wanted to tackle it but that was before I found a woodworking hobby. I have never made a frame and panel door so I thought it would make a good learning moment and fill a need. This is how most of my project are but this is the first one out of the shop. Dealing with pressure treated wood was a pain to say the least. I let it acclimate to my shop but it really needs months not weeks. It kept wanting to move and made fitting a pain. I think I would just make it out of pine if I had to do it over. I realized just how wet when I left my first premium plane on the wood overnight, I almost cried.

The next error I made was in glue up. I had all my clamps ready and rehearsed the process. When the real thing was underway I realized I didn’t have a clamp long enough to pull the door into square. Glue was setting fast so I proceeded to bounce the door on one corner and then the other until I got it a close as possible. I also stressed over how to attach to powdery 120 year old brick. I was going to roll up lead sheets to use as anchors but after spending an hour getting this frame and door shimmed to a perfect fit I drilled holes through the jamb and hammer drilled 1/4” holes in the brick. I then realized I wouldn’t likely get this assembly back in this exact position so I opted to insert 1/4” oak dowels in the brick hole and ran #10 construction screws into them. Very solid! Thanks for looking!

16 comments so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8834 posts in 1921 days

#1 posted 08-14-2021 07:44 PM

thats looks very nice should last at least 80 years GREAT JOB :<)))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Woodnmetal's profile


110 posts in 54 days

#2 posted 08-14-2021 07:56 PM

Considering all the set backs you encountered, the door and frame look great. Nice neat install.
The door deserves a cool sign now !!
I certainly couldn’t have pulled that off on a good day.
Im really surprised to see how the wood made your plane develope surface rust.
I don’t own a plane as of yet, but I learned something here with Pressure treated wood and nicely ground hand tools.
I hope a good wet stone will clean it up.

Thanks for posting!

Gary & Christine

-- I haven't changed... but I know I'm not the same.

View BigAl98's profile


284 posts in 4247 days

#3 posted 08-14-2021 08:32 PM

As fate will have it, now you’ll be moving somewhere else….that’s how it happens. LOL

-- Al,Midwest -To thine own self be true

View controlfreak's profile


2696 posts in 810 days

#4 posted 08-14-2021 09:42 PM

Well, it would need to be fixed new buyer anyway I suppose and I have been looking for more shop space too. Who stays put for 40 years in a starter house? It helps that I bought it for $15K, kitchen is in it’s third location since I bought it, if that tells you how many changes I have made. It’s a work in progress.

Woodnmetal, I hit it with a scotchbrite pad and WD40 and all was forgiven, thank God.

GR8Hunter, At my age all I need is 30 years tops and it can be somebody else’s problem. That’s really more 15 and I won’t give a “F”

View swirt's profile


6500 posts in 4180 days

#5 posted 08-15-2021 01:20 AM

Nice work and a good lesson learned, never let you planes sit on unfinished wood. It is not just pressure treated stuff that will do them in, oak or cedar can do similar.

-- Galootish log blog,

View therealSteveN's profile


8609 posts in 1783 days

#6 posted 08-15-2021 04:48 AM

You outlasted it, and in the end that means you won. The epic battle Man versus Door. Looks like a door, if it opens and closes like a door, well it is a door. Nice job.

-- Think safe, be safe

View robscastle's profile


8214 posts in 3413 days

#7 posted 08-15-2021 10:15 AM

when clamps are not long enough don’t forget you can head to toe them to make them longer or use the the humble ratchet strap.

-- Regards Rob

View Oldtool's profile


3309 posts in 3399 days

#8 posted 08-15-2021 10:25 AM

Job well done, great looking door. There were no mistakes or errors made, this was a project full of learning experiences. These will only be mistakes if you repeat them.
Hope your hand plane cleaned up well, I think that would have brought a tear to my eye as well.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Eric's profile


1792 posts in 1082 days

#9 posted 08-15-2021 11:19 AM

Good job on the build, and the way you completed the install shall work for many years, making the dowel work as a expanding anchor.

-- Eric, building the dream

View Sylvain's profile


1347 posts in 3708 days

#10 posted 08-15-2021 01:29 PM

It looks very good.
That was the prefect project for a first frame and panel door. Even if it was not as good as it is, it would have been much better than the old one.

I still have to make my first frame and panel. Procrastination, procrastination…

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View controlfreak's profile


2696 posts in 810 days

#11 posted 08-15-2021 07:19 PM

Thank you for all the nice comments folks!

Sylvain, I have been eyeing a Paul Sellers tool cabinet build. The middle shelf is a frame in panel construction and the two doors are as well. I figured I should get some practice in. On an ironic note I thought I was paying Paul a complement by commenting on the rail tenon. I was having trouble getting the mortice as deep as my tenon was long so I cut the tenon shorter. The next morning I thought “what would Paul do?” I assumed he would use an auger to drill the mortice deeper. He replied “I hate drilling a mortice and never do it”. Oh well I still have much to learn but am having fun doing it.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17498 posts in 3827 days

#12 posted 08-16-2021 02:00 AM

Very nice work!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Sylvain's profile


1347 posts in 3708 days

#13 posted 08-16-2021 03:03 PM

For deep through tenons I chop the mortise from the two sides.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View controlfreak's profile


2696 posts in 810 days

#14 posted 08-16-2021 07:32 PM

For deep through tenons I chop the mortise from the two sides.

- Sylvain

If I do a through wedged tenon I will go at from both sides. I hadn’t learned about those until after I had already had them cut long but not al the way though.

View Bioguy's profile


19 posts in 398 days

#15 posted 08-17-2021 04:11 PM

That looks infinitely better than the before picture. Thanks for showing both. Nice work!

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