Renovating our Front Door in time for Christmas

By | 16 Dec 2014

christmas-wreathI’ve been finding it difficult to get enthused about any posting lately.  I blame it on the cold and dark cloudy days of increasing short sunlight.

This morning caught my imagination though, as it seemed to be full of white vans of various sizes.

I was walking the dog along the fields and was admiring the view and the way the darkness lifted over the hills, as if they were in a different time zone and then noticed a series of vans going in all directions down the rural tracks.

The first van rolled up to tend to the horses in a field along the track we were walking along – a spot that the dog always thunders past with his head high and alert and his stumpy tail tucked well into his backside, as he finds placid, work horses eating grass at the far end of a field to be a high security threat.

The next was only a 120 metres or so further along as a small van trundled down the path and off a small private path where it met a larger white van, as if they were having a secret assignation.   Shortly ensuing,  another small van casually made its way up the same path  but when it neared, it turned off  in the opposite direction to the private path, as if it had been following the small van but had to make sure its cover wasn’t blown.

It was an odd moment for a track that rarely sees any cars.

Back at home, I examined my recently painted front door to the main house and the Christmas wreath I’d cobbled together from the holly and pine cones in our garden.  It’s OK, from a distance, even if it does resemble a string of sausages, and will hopefully hold together for this festive period as long as there are no strong winds.

The door I’d painted just last week when there were 2 days that were almost warm in comparison to the cold and damp we’ve been getting most of the time.

I’d done the preparation work much earlier in the year, then there was a pause before I painted the undercoat.  This pause that went on for much longer than I’d meant as I considered what my options were for getting the basic wood into a fit state from its severely weathered start.

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of it at the beginning to show the transformation – although it hasn’t actually transformed that much.

I sanded it with electric tools and by hand, but those cracks in the wood went deep and the mouldings would be almost eradicated if I’d taken it back to a smooth surface.  I used wood filler on the bigger gaps but the rest of the door was full of fine cracks, too numerous to use such a product on, especially as I didn’t have, and couldn’t locally obtain, the right sort of materials to sand the mouldings afterwards without grinding them flat.

You may be wondering why I’m bothering to keep the door, well,, it’s because it is old and has character.  I was quoted about 6K€ for a professional job on the door, which was rather steep, so I took the job on myself, since I rather like some things to look their age.

However, this is the door equivalent of a veteran heavy smoker.

I applied a thick undercoat partly because the door needed the protection but also to see if that filled the unevenness, but it didn’t.  I asked visiting friends for their advice and they thought it would go with a couple of coats of paint, but it didn’t.

It’s like it needs some sort of self levelling gel on it.  Even if there were such a product, I’m not risking taking the door off its hinges to try some version of that out.  I’m rapidly learning through the works that are needed in the barn and elsewhere on the property, that one should let sleeping fixtures lie.

Once you start undoing bits, you find whole new bits that are needed to be done… but that’s for another story.

In the meantime, the door is at least protected from further elements.  And from the road it looks fine.  We’ll just have to get people to use the back door.

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