When is a Door not a Door?

When I was growing up my Dad had two ‘stock’ wordplay jokes which were dusted off, and delivered on an unsuspecting audience at every possible occasion for yet another re-telling. One related to the word ‘disintegrate’ and when anyone other than Dad said that word, he would respond ‘Dis in’t a grate, it’s a manhole cover’. The second was the infamous door joke, known to the entire English speaking world, ‘When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar.’.

As the recent result of my woodworking exploits, or ‘knocking nails into bits of wood’, I can now modify the joke a little to say ‘When is a door not a door? When it’s a table!’.

We need two dining tables for the rental houses and while I could have easily gone to one of the many local wood yards and ordered some 1.5m planks of freshly sawn chestnut to make some perfectly functional and acceptable tables, I thought that it would be nice to do something a little different and my mind and eyes went on the quest to re-discover items that I had laying around from the renovations.

A few years ago, when we replaced the whole roof of the big house, the first job was to gut the interior, moving anything of interest into the lean-to garage and covering it in plastic sheeting before promptly forgetting about it. As part of the salvage I remembered that there were several thick and wide chestnut panels which were used as a room partition and that same partition had a door frame and an old door which provided ingress and egress from the two, now non-existent, bedrooms.

The crazy idea of making a table from the door entered my mind and despite mentally erecting a number of insurmountable barriers to the success of the project I decided to give it a go and wrestled the door from its resting place of the last five years and into my workshop. An initial angle grinder strip of cobwebs, dirt, and soot revealed that there was something there I could work with; a turn of the century (19th to 20th), 30mm thick, tongue and groove, rustic door and I resolved to give it a go.

In its ‘as rediscovered’ state, more door-like than table-like

The first task was to remove the ancient door furniture; hinges, latches and locks, conserving what I could for any future projects. I then had to decide on the dimensions and cut to the preferred size (160cm x 90cm) before getting to work on the many hours of repairs, filling, and sanding. I fitted an extended lip to give it a chunkier feel, sanded it smooth while retaining the patina, and added layers of clear wax it for a silky-smooth finish.

Five months after ordering them from a local metalworker (apparently he’s very busy) I finally collected the fabricated sets of steel legs, to my design, for this and two other tables that I need to make, and with Amanda’s help we fitted them and got a first proper look at the fruits of my labours.

The finished article

I’m pretty happy with the outcome. I think that it is perfectly in keeping with the renovation, looks a little different to the norm, is a lovely feature in the apartment and will perfectly accommodate family meals, long evenings drinking the fantastic local wine and recounting the days sightseeing events, or hosting card games on one of those occasional wet days which we experience in Galicia.

Onto the next one.

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4 Responses to When is a Door not a Door?

  1. Carol Seaman says:

    This looks great Paul. You are just so multi- talented!!!

  2. Sam Budds says:

    Have loved catching up on what you have been doing and the table looks fab as do the tiles around the kitchen worktop!
    Can’t believe how much I have missed travelling in the last year so can’t wait to get back to Spain sometime and would definitely be interested in your apartments
    Love to both of you,

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