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On the other hand, sometimes I almost regret my scrounging “triumphs”

I wrote moments ago about two glorious vintage sewing machines I got within the last few years for almost nothing. Like most of my scrounged or bargained purchases, they bring me only happiness.

But occasionally …

You may remember this door. I scrounged it out of a landfill four years ago this week.

Well, finally I’m at the point of having a place to install it. But I think I’ve learned to hate it.

Several summers ago, I spent hours — OMG HOURS! — outside stripping and scraping and sanding. When I stopped, it was still … shall we say, less than perfect. But I was out of stripper, sandpaper, and patience.

Now, the The Wandering Monk is scheduled to come back to frame and hang it, and here it is as of today:

I thought I’d just get it out, Bondo the most rough and gouged parts, let the Monk put the door up, then take it back down later for a proper finishing. But it turned out more paint had come loose. Well, that’s good; haul out the scraper and see how far I can get this time.

It’s raining today, so all scraping and Bondo-ing and wood filler-ing has to be done in the kitchen.

No matter how much I do, this damned door always needs MORE.

This is the major Bondo area, and it has a thumbtack (?) in it that seems there to stay.

Elsewhere, some of the wood under the old paint is dry and rough. You can tell it served for a long time as an exterior door; one side is merely dingy and dinged; the other has suffered decades of hard weather.

I am not a patient, diligent, or masterful craftsperson. This door could be utterly gorgeous in the right hands. And I’m going to patch it up and use it even though those right hands clearly are not mine.

But oh, I could cuss over the labor and futility of this particular project.


  1. Pat
    Pat April 24, 2019 3:58 am

    I remember that door. I thought it had more potential. Can you use the glass in some way, and build a frame around it? Maybe the middle section as a mirror?

  2. ellendra
    ellendra April 24, 2019 8:02 am

    With something that rough, I’d be inclined to get out the wire wheel brush and strip off the entire top few layers. That’s definitely an outside task, though.

  3. maDDtraPPer
    maDDtraPPer April 24, 2019 8:43 am

    I’m no longer allowed to scrounge. No more dragging home “beach treasures” and if I go to the dump I need to keep it a dark secret especially if I bring stuff back. It’s amazing what washes up on shore around here. I got 200 feet of rope off wrecked crab gear yesterday and some nice stainless steel safety pins off the destroyed commercial traps, the buoy was repurposed to play fetch with the dog, and then hung in the tree for her to play with. All done on the down low of course because if my wife finds out well I’m in the dog house.

  4. bldrgrl
    bldrgrl April 25, 2019 3:19 pm

    Hmmm, looks almost like the “exterior” side is plain old rotten…dried out to the point that fibers, threading, general not sound wood annoying-ness, will simply continue no matter how deep you try and sand or grind away. I am also a long time scrounger and fixer but occasionally abandonment is right next to sanity. Love the mullions and glass though and maybe, maybe. Good luck!

  5. Claire
    Claire April 26, 2019 11:48 am

    bldrgrl — Thanks again for your voice of experience. You’re right. Although the wood isn’t truly rotten, it’s getting very deep-grained and is fraying on some edges. So I cheated. Because I was always planning to paint the door, I Bondoed and wood-filled the heck out of it.

    With a couple layers of paint, it’s actually looking good — if you don’t examine too closely.

    Ellendra — Right again. I didn’t have a wire wheel, but I do have a large, metal-bristled brush. It did a great job getting rid of a lot of “paint crumbs,” especially in the crevasses on the trim.

    Pat — No mirror, but I’ll decorate that center panel, either with window-cling material or a faux stained-glass painting.

    MT — Hahaha. “Stop me before I scrounge again!”

    Pix when I’m further along!

  6. John
    John April 26, 2019 6:12 pm

    Yeah, pictures. All that work deserve record of outcome 🙂

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