Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I am the Lizard King...Wait...Different Doors

Dublin is famous for its painted doors. The legend is that a husband returning home late from the pub entered the wrong house, got into bed with the wrong woman, and was shot and killed when her husband arrived at his correct (although crowded) bedroom. Therefore to add another visual clue to drunken Irish men that they had found the correct house, women would paint their doors a distinctive color that was different than their neighbor's.

The Dublin Doors were great. This massive nine foot tall door at the Bunratty Castle provided a lot of interesting woodworking-related thoughts as I pondered its construction.

Then, there were the doors in our condo. The condo in County Clare that we rented for a week was truly beautiful, but it has the ugliest doors on the planet. I say this as a woodworker. My travel mates didn't seem to be as bothered by the doors as I was. However, these doors were intentionally made using raw materials that to me were unworthy of being used in a bonfire...let alone a show-off piece in someone's home. Perhaps this is an Irish cultural difference that I just don't get. However, I think this is just an example of cheap construction being marketed as a feature.
I freely admit that I don't like Knotty Pine. I also don't like Knotty Cedar even though there are very few clear Select and Better Western Red Cedar Boards used in the ceiling of my sauna.

In my projects I meticulously plan out my lumber to match grain and create visual harmony. So the thought of intentionally including knots strikes me as weird. There have been times where I kept in a knot to add some texture and variety, but even then it was done with great effort...(I used wood flour and epoxy to fill in the voids and stabilize the structure of the knot).

That kind of planning did not go into the construction of these doors. Here is what the doors looked like.

The panels were glued up from boards no wider than an inch and a half. The knots themselves were cut in half and then glued against clear sections of adjoining boards only an inch and a half wide.

Prior to becoming a woodworker, I would have never noticed these doors. Now I have just enough knowledge to recognize a door that should have been installed in Dublin where it could have gotten a bright Sears Weatherbeater covering.


geemoney said...

You get my wholehearted agreement about the knotty pine, and that door. Yuck.

Plus, much as I liked college, knotty pine reminds me of the downside of those times, when I didn't have enough money to afford something other than the unpainted knotty pine furniture. This was before IKEA became huge, of course.

Glad you're back, and I hoped you enjoyed Dublin. It's a great city.

johnrowe said...

I agree with your perspective on the doors. I've also been to Ireland and seen this kind of lumber used everywhere, including doors, and can only conclude that they use this because of the scarcity of trees and the cost to transport REAL lumber. The Irish are frugal, after all...