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I am purchasing a log cabin built in 1915 with an entry door that appears to be 2x6 boards assembled together. It does have three lights, so I expect it was professionally made, not a homemade item. My inspector mentioned I could disassemble and replace the one damaged board, he thinks I should keep it because it has character that a new door would not match. How difficult will this task be?

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Please post a link to a photo so we can get an idea of how the door is constructed. (As a new user, you won't be able to embed the photo directly in the question.) –  Niall C. Apr 9 '11 at 17:58

2 Answers 2

Suppose I were to ask a master chef how difficult it would be to assemble some dish of theirs? Of course, for the expert it is trivial. But for me, who has no serious knowledge of fine cooking, it might be quite a bit more work. What in the name of god and little green apples is a roux anyway? For some, dicing up an onion is done in a flash, a matter of seconds. For others, it may well involve a spot or two of their own blood spilled. The same may be true of any task. Much depends on your level of skill, upon your willingness to learn, upon a variety of factors.

In the case of a door, how is the door assembled? Is it joined with glue, that must be taken apart and then later reassembled? Are bolts truly the only method of attachment? What species is the wood? Will you find a new piece of wood that is an adequate replacement? Do you have the tools to cut that large piece of wood accurately to the proper size? Is there any rot in the wood that must be repaired before it goes back together?

You might try taking the door apart, then if you can remove the damaged (split?) section, take that piece to a dealer in hardwoods. Don't just go to the local Home Depot and expect to find a replacement. It won't be a match in terms of species anyway, and the wood you will find there is of poor quality, expensive for what you get, and may well warp on you anyway. All wood is not the same. Your local hardwood dealer will be able to find a match for your board, and for a very reasonable fee, even cut it to size for you.

Finally, you must know that new, freshly milled wood will often have a very different color and patina than old weathered wood. For example, fresh walnut or cherry both look VERY different from aged wood of the same species. While it is not always difficult to achieve a match, this too can take some expertise. Practice on a scrap piece before you go near the final work.

In the end, yes, you can probably do this task. It will take you a longer time to get it right than it would if done by an expert, but with persistence, a willingness to learn, and a little guidance you can get there. And once you are done, you shall be satisfied to say it was you who did it.

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I think woodchips answer, although sounds dead on is just a touch on the harsh side.

By all means, finish work is finish work and you can't just take a hammer to something and expect a work of art, BUT, that doesn't mean, given enough determination and will power, you can't accomplish this. I do feel the same way about some tech articles I read; reading a 5 step tutorial on how to build a website will not turn you into a programmer, but it may be a good start. Quite a bit more is required to be able to think on your own and come up with solutions.

It's your house; if you want to try and you accept that you may fail and destroy the door (by all means, not saying you will) then go for it. Get some quotes; see how much something like this costs; if its in your budget, maybe it'll be easier to hire someone.

I've learned a lot from my father while remodeling my house. Every room i gut and redo, i need him less and less; but that doesn't mean i don't consult with him first or know when to hire a pro.

2 cents.

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I did not say it was not possible to do, or even incredibly difficult. I did suggest that getting the correct wood is important to make it look reasonably nice, and that going to a good lumberyard will be an excellent start. That supplier will often be able to cut the wood to size and provide a great deal of useful advice. –  user558 Apr 11 '11 at 0:06

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