As part of our overall vestibule/curb appeal 2.0/new salvaged front door efforts, we've opted to change the configuration of the entry to the house. We're doing this by moving the current front door to the inner door, and then placing salvaged divided lite double doors on the front of the house. This will add an element of depth to the front of the house and will also allow the front doors to open as they were intended to (the current setup is odd and won't allow the door to fully open).

In a previous post we covered the long and tedious paint stripping process on the new solid front door. Well, I've been working over the last couple of weeks on removing the glass and getting the salvaged side lites that we've intended to turn into divided lite double doors into shape. We're about 75% through the process, so I figure it is a good time for an updates. But let's not forget what the doors looked like when we started this whole adventure.

Much of the glass was broken on one door, they were covered in multiple layers of paint, there were random holes, dents, and cuts, the edges of the doors weren't square, and they are actually about 3" too narrow and a bit short for the 36" opening where they will live. All in all, they were in pretty tough shape.

The first thing I decided to do was to remove the glass from the doors and work on paint stripping. These aren't two separate steps in this process since I kept getting sick of one thing and then moving to the other, though I should have stripped all of the paint and then removed the glass. 

For paint removal on these doors I decided to try a new chemical stripper from the makers of Peel Away. They recently came out with an odorless and safe non caustic stripper called SmartStrip, and I've been wanting to give it a go for a while now. I ordered a gallon bucket from a seller on Amazon and we had it a few days later. I'll do a separate post about the Smart Strip process, but overall I'm quite pleased with the results.

At the same time I kept working on removing the old glazing putty and glass, trying to break as few panes of glass as possible. I used a heat gun for much of this process, warming the old putty until it was soft enough to be moved out of the way. It is a slow process, and one I really hate, but it's over and done with now and I couldn't be happier.

If you've ever removed glass from old windows or doors, there is one thing you probably know. The harder you try to not break the glass, the more likely you are to break it. So I adopted a careless attitude during this process and ended up only breaking a single pane of glass.

Once the glass was removed, I used the scrapers and 5-in-1 tool to remove the remainder of the old glazing putty. Then I turned my attention to squaring the edges of the doors so that we will be able to install them in their opening.

Since these doors were actually side lites on a house, they weren't ever meant to hang as doors. In order to eventually put these on the front of our house, I had to make sure the edges were square and the measurements were equal. To do this I used my circular saw with a scrap piece of straight lumber as a guide. I also used the other door to support the other side of the saw so I didn't end up letting it drop and messing up the cut.

I measured about 10 times on each cut just to be sure I was doing what I intended to do. Whenever I'm doing something like this where the cut needs to be pretty much perfect, I prefer to use a plastic ruler just to be sure I'm getting the mark right. Another tip I've heard but never do, make an arrow instead of a line, with the point of the arrow where the measurement is. It takes the guess work out of where on the line the actual point is.

The end result, the doors now have a consistent and even edge where they should close relatively tightly against each other. I'm probably going to add a stop between the doors (don't know exactly what this is called, but you usually see it on double doors), so the flat surface is necessary to nail that piece to the doors.

Once the doors were square, I had to start prepping them to add the extra pieces to the outside edges. I decided that the best way to do this would be to cut the edge of the door with a tongue that an extension piece would accept in a groove. I would just need to dado the extension piece once I have it.

To make this cut, I used a simple rabetting bit in my router, set the depth to 1/2", and placed my guide board on the door to allow for a 3/4" relief.

I made many passes to remove the material before I hit the guide, otherwise I would have had a lot of tear out and the finished cut would have been horrible. I moved in about 1/4" per pass, just by eyeballing it. The only cut that really mattered was the final one against the guide.

As you can see, after repeating the process on both sides of the door, I was left with a nice bit of material for the tongue to which I will attach the extra grooved piece.

Since these aren't full mortise and tenon doors (being that they aren't really doors at all), I'm going to put a few 4" exterior screws from the sides into the rails of the door before we attach anything else. That should anchor everything together in a secure enough fashion that they won't come apart once they are hung.

We actually took a trip out to Community Forklift last weekend and bought a door we had planned to cut apart to use for the extra pieces we will need. After a long process, we got the door home and I started to disassemble it. What I thought was a solid and old pine door turned out to be a bunch of jointed wood with a veneer covering. Unfortunately, this won't work for us. Oh well, $20 down the drain. At least I got some good straight guides out of the deal. That's what you see my using in the photos above, the sides of the door we purchased.

Back to the drawing board on that one. It is a bit tough because the wood I need is rather thick. It needs to be a full 1 3/4" thick and must also be old pine. I think I might need to get a piece of salvaged lumber and have it planed to the correct thickness. Or perhaps, just maybe, this is just the excuse that I need to buy myself a bench planer. (Insert calculating laugh here.)

Well, at any rate, the work on the doors are progressing, albeit slower than I'd like. Hopefully we can get the necessary lumber and then get everything prepped for hanging. After that we'll install new pieces of old and wavy glass and then start painting.

I've been doing a ton of research on the paint we will use because we want an extremely shiny and smooth high gloss finish. I think we're going to use 1-Shot lettering enamel with the hardener. I've heard good things and saw a great post on Apartment Therapy where someone used it to paint a desk. The desk was white but it really had the look we are going for.

Do you have any tips for us on super high gloss and smooth paint for the doors? We're talking shiny like the door at 10 Downing Street in London. Let me know if you have any good tips.

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