The Door


A while back, Cindy and I were visiting The Loading Dock South, a building material salvage outlet, located near us in Helena. They have a wide variety of products ranging from lumber to carpet, and you can’t beat the prices. We had been searching a folding screen to place in the corner of our bedroom. While walking through this place we found an unfinished 8’ twelve pane door that we thought might work in the space.  However, when we arrived home it just didn’t work. We later found a folding screen that did, but now we needed to find a home for the door. We came up with the idea to use the door as a means to display some of my photographs.



Placing the door on a set of sawhorses, I sanded it with a vibrating sander and 120 grit, paper.   There were several small dings that I filled with wood filler. After drying, these areas were sanded just like the rest of the door.






Afterwards, I stained the door using a rag and Minwax stain and allowed the door to dry overnight.


Next, I used a new product for me, Minwax’s Wipe-on Poly. This stuff is amazing. When I was young, my dad was a painting contractor. He did some beautiful work the old school way. I couldn’t help but to think what he would have said about wiping on polyurethane, but it really did a beautiful job.


After deciding where I wanted the door located, I marked my studs and the door with some blue painter’s tape.   Then I made a 1/8 inch pilot hole through the door. Afterwards, I made a 1/2 inch hole just deep enough to set a furniture button into. I secured the door to the wall using three inch drywall screws.



Then I attached a 1 inch X 1/2 inch wooden strip down the middle of the door. This will basically be used as the top shelf.  I also attached two 4’ cedar shingles along the bottom side of the door. This will form the bottom shelf.



The finished door is picture above displaying several photographs.

8 thoughts on “The Door

  1. What a Disappointment. I was expecting to see your photographs IN where the door panels used to be not ON the door. I feel like I just heard a shaggy dog tale. I was led down the Proverbial garden path this time. All that work to build a “shelf”!

    1. Ha! I’m so sorry to disappoint you Farrell. I see that you were expecting a permanent display. I actually consider that too. However, the intension here is to use a creative means to temporary display my photographs. For an example, the photos displayed here are some that placed in our club completion during the past year. I need to take them to our next meeting so that they can be judged again for our year end banquet. Next week I’ll have some others in their place.

  2. Very creative use of the door, Phillip. I too thought images would be placed in the open pane areas, but I’m not disappointed. This looks really nice. As I look at the finished product, I now wonder if the project would look too busy with images in each pane (not sure). I would also want to devise a means to change them out, perhaps a slotted frame on the back.

    Nice work, man. We have a few of those Loading Dock places here in Maryland also. Not sure if they are the same ownership but the service is the same.

    1. Thanks Jimi. That comment was from my brother-in-law. Apparently he thought the same. The problem for me doing this with the door is the size. I would be locked into the same size photograph. I did look at removing the cross members, but that still didn’t work with my mat.

      We have an old window that we arrange that way. Instead putting a photograph in each pane you could skip around. It makes an interesting more permanent display. However, in this case I wanted something that I could change up when I’m matting new photographs. I also have another space not mentioned where I installed molding against the wall, to form a place to display some of my work. It is also temporary.

  3. A brilliant idea, and yes a very creative use of the door. Not only do you have a place for exhibiting your photos, but you are also able to display the beautifully finished door in a special way. Very inspirational, Phillip.

  4. A great bit of handiwork, and a clever use of the door, Phillip. This post also reminds me that I should print more often.

    1. In this day of digital media, it’s a very easy to find place to find yourself. I used to never print my work, until I joined a club that hosted monthly contest. That encouraged me to print, mat and inventory my work for future sales.

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