December 25, 2022

I took some extra time off around Christmas to make extra progress on the studio, but much of that time was absorbed by dealing with doors.

I got started by finishing the casing to match the style of the steel doors used inside.

The casing is solid PVC, which will never rot. I expect this room will get the most abuse, being the entry from outside.

I also added trim around the attic door, which while perhaps not a source of drafts, was unsightly.

I used 2P-10 glue, which is essentially super-glue that sets in 10 seconds, to set the miters before nailing it the whole assembly in place.

Then I started priming the steel interior doors.

I had to use a respirator because a couple of them had dents that required bondo, and I was using automotive primer.

Then I painted them black on one side.

I used an alkalyd enamel paint, which is designed to bond well to metal and be very durable.

I then installed the automatic door sweeps, which press downward when the door is closed.

The mechanism reacts to the door making contact with the jamb and can extend the door bottom as much as 1 in.

After letting the paint dry, I flipped them over and spread contact cement both the door and a sheet of veneer.

These maple veneer sheets came in 4 ft. x 8 ft. sheets, which I then cut down to about 3 ft. x 7 ft. to fit the door.

After the contact cement was no longer tacky to the touch, I laid the veneer over some dowels to help get it in just the right spot.

The veneer is backed with paper, which helps keep the extremely thin wood from breaking apart.

Then I rolled it out, removing one dowel at a time, and then scraped it to ensure good adhesion.

The roller works well for laying it down initially, but the scraper does most of the real work.

The veneer then had to be trimmed, which I did with a razor knife, and then sanded the edges.

I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with masking tape, but this one was excellent.

The paint was scratched off around the edges, so I rolled over them using tape to create a clean line between the painted black metal and the wood.

When the varnish is applied to the wood, it will seal in the black edge.

Next I stained the doors with a very slight “natural” color to get them to match the flooring a little better.

The final color will be a bit more amber from the varnish.

The flooring is still a bit darker and has more red in it, but I think it’s close enough considering they will be perpendicular to each other, so the light will hit them differently.

The stain mostly just made the grain pop.

Everything was going well, if not a bit slow waiting for paint, glue and stain to dry. And then I made a horrible choice and went with a water-based varnish.

I should have used oil-based varnish, but I was trying to cut down on the horrible fumes of this whole process.

The veneer swelled and anywhere that wasn’t perfectly adhered bubbled up. Thankfully, once it dried, I was able to flatten the bubbles out with an iron.

The heat of the iron reactivates the rather temperature sensitive contact cement.

After hours of ironing and some very light sanding, I rolled on a thick layer of oil-based polyurethane varnish, which of course created no bubbles. I then sanded that down a bit and finished with two coats of wipe-on poly.

Using wipe-on poly at the end is ideal, as it’s a thinner product so it dries faster, reducing dust nibs.

With the doors finally done, I set them aside to cure and got to work on the door jambs.

These doors have a 2 in. trim, which is fairly narrow, requiring the rough openings to be more exact.

The jambs all needed to be shimmed in a bit, but thankfully the narrow trim covered the drywall edges.

Having two doors between the main area and the outside is meant to help with both sound and thermal insulation.

I created a template out of wood to ensure the left and right sides of the jambs were square and equidistant with each other.

The door frames will also need to be caulked around the edges, as they have integrated trim.

Even though all measurements indicate they are spot-on, I am going to wait until I’ve hung a door on them before I paint them.