Update On The Earth Home Garden Temple Of The Lost Civilization, Tool Crib, Workshop, Fallout Shelter, Den Of Antiquities, And Beer Garden Pub...
One can't erect a monument of junk to the folly of the Twentieth Century without including a reference to our nuclear adventurism, so I've christened my new shed door in honor of that most infamous of meltdowns thus far.
I kept my eyes peeled for months, looking for an old beat up door I could salvage for the shed, to no avail. It finally came to the point where winter weather was bearing down and I had to buy a door.
The cheapest sturdy door I could find cost $88 at Home Depot, and, aesthetically, it was completely unnacceptable as an entrance for my funky Den Of Antiquities, but it was modifiable.
It's a steel door! Or, I guess I should explain, a wood frame with a thin steel skin attached to both sides, filled with expanded foam. And, It was painted white. Disgusting!
The day after I brought it home I was walking on a back street near the airport with Dallas and saw a perfectly good used wooden door sitting out with someone's trash. So, I figured I'd come back and carry it home, with some help from Peggy, and return the ugly metal door to Home Depot and get my 88 bucks back. However, by the time I went home, got Peg, and came back, the door was gone.
Alas, I was stuck with the sterile white door!
What to do?
To match the old junk that I built my new shed from, I decided to transform the new door into old junk!
Really a quite simple process, if a bit time consuming, but art takes time...
Sanding The Brand New DoorClick on photo to enlarge - ©2008 jim otterstrom
The first step in transforming the door into something I could live with was sanding off most of the white paint. This took less than an hour to accomplish. I left a little paint in the crevices of the stamped panels for character (or, out of laziness, whichever you'd prefer).
My plan was then to spray the unpainted metal door with a mixture of sea salt (from our condiments cupboard) and water, until it rusted to a nice reddish brown patina.
Detail Of The Sanded Door
What I hadn't anticipated, was that the steel under the white paint was galvanized, zinc coated to inhibit the formation of rust. Once I realized this, I had to spend many, many, more hours sanding off the stubborn galvanizing so the door would actually rust (nice stuff to breathe that zinc dust, but my beard doesn't accommodate a sanding mask very well).
Days later, once the door was rusting nicely (and my lungs were beginning to recover), I set the jamb and hung it in place. I installed a metal threshold, measuring the bottom clearance to make sure I had allowed enough room for the rubber seal to compress. Everthing looked like it would fit perfectly until I shut the door. It was a pretty tight fit at the bottom seal so I thought I'd open it back up and lube the rubber with some graphite.
But the door was stuck! I pushed & pushed, but the damned thing was frozen shut! Finally, I thrust all my 195 pounds against it with enough force to break the seal, which also peeled off the front metal skin to about six inches up from the bottom.
Hmmmmm! Now, how am I going to repair this disaster?
I got out the tin snips and raggedly trimmed about 1/4 inch off the bottom of the metal skin, screwing it back down with drywall screws.
Perfect!!! Just what my door needed, some authentic jury-rigged character borne of indomitable American ingenuity!
Click on photo to enlarge - ©2008 jim otterstrom
Add some vintage porcelain enameled PG&E signs to the door, an old Cold War Fallout Shelter sign, and there you have it!
~The Chernobyl Door~
If I do say so myself...
I still have to distress (beat up with secret aging techniques) & paint the cheesy spliced jambs with some appropriate color, like flat olive drab or battleship gray, and, add a few more of my fence signs at the left of the door, but you get the idea.