Restored Kitchen Swinging Door

by Josh on February 5, 2009 · 13 comments

in Projects

I found the solution to my broken kitchen door a few months before the door actually broke.  At a sale of salvaged house parts collected by the city of Minneapolis before demolitions, I found a swinging door identical in style and finish to the original in my basement.  Although the city was selling the doors in lots of ten, they let me buy just the door I wanted.  Price: $25.

When the kitchen door broke, I got to work fitting my salvage find as a replacement.  (I’m keeping the original swinging door untouched for a time when the kitchen tile is removed and the floor returned to its original height.)  To make the salvaged door fit the raised tile floor in the kitchen, I trimmed about an inch and a quarter off the bottom of it.  This included re-cutting the notch for the spring-loaded swinging hinge.  I actually had to do the saw work twice because I was too conservative in my measurement the first time and couldn’t quite fit the door in place.  By far the most laborious part of the process was chiselling the small notch to receive the mounting tongue at the end of the hinge.

Swinging Door Collage

Like the door, the hinge is salvage, bought from Guilded Salvage in North Minneapolis.  I later went back for some salvaged brass push plates once I had the door in place.  

Kitchen door detail and view

I am proud of the fact that this project yielded a great aesthetic improvement on the previous door, and that it was a restoration done completely with salvaged original-to-the-era-and-geography parts.

The door isn’t perfect, but its scratches and finish flaws are a big part of its appeal.  In a way few new replacements could (and for a lot less money), this salvaged door looks like it belongs in my octogenarian house and it wears its age appropriately and with grace.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Shane and Casey February 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Is that sale of salvaged items something that is a scheduled thing or was it just a one time event? Was there quite a selection? I am planning on making a trip down there this spring to hit up at least Bauer Brothers and a couple other salvage places and if it is something that happens relatively frequently, I’d like to schedule it around that as well if there is a decent selection.


Josh February 5, 2009 at 4:02 pm

@Shane and Casey: The city salvage sale I mentioned was a one-time thing. I think they needed to move out of the warehouse where the salvaged items were being kept. I know some stuff went unsold and though it sounded like another sale was possible, I haven’t heard any more about it. Bauer Bros. is great– just be prepared for a long visit! Their quantity and variety are amazing.


will February 6, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Wow! good find! I wish that I had gone, I just haven’t had the place to work on anything. Our place had a swinging door until a bit before we bought the place! Maybe when this latest project winds down I can start salvaging. Any luck with the reuse center?

looks awesome!


Josh February 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Hi, Will! I haven’t had much luck with the Reuse Center, but I know others who have. It’s been a while since I stopped there, so thanks for the reminder that I’m due for a visit.


Sandy February 21, 2009 at 11:21 am

I just love those doors. They bring back very fond memories for me.


Kerrie November 26, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Re: Restored Kitchen Swingdoor, more insight on installing and removing door for repair. My mom has the same type door in her kitchen but needs to remove so she can get a new refrig (old house, narrow doorways so every 1/4 inch counts) 25 yrs ago my dad took the door off but he died in May. He told us how to do many things around the house but we forgot the secret for the doors. She wants to keep the door, just move it aside for the frigde to come in. Thanks.


Josh December 4, 2009 at 10:10 am

I’m sorry about your dad, Kerrie. Thanks for sharing your story. I might need to pull the door for a fridge at some point, too. When I do, you’re right: every quarter inch counts.


Marcia December 10, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Can you explain how we can remove the door because the door pivots on a pin which is sunk into a hole in the floor (under the brass plate)? Seems that it would have to be removed from the bottom first rather than top. We have a spring much like shown in your post. Thanks.


Josh January 8, 2010 at 10:44 am

Sorry it has taken me this long to get back to you Marcia– I must have missed your comment somehow. If your hinge has a pin recessed in the floor, that would be a design I’ve never seen before. Normally hinges like this have a base that is screwed onto the floor to anchor the spring mechanism, so door removal requires unscrewing the hinge from the floor, then tilting the door to separate the pin/socket at the top of the door. If you see screws going into the floor, I’d try removing those as a start.


CP August 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Thank you so much for these notes — I was stuck while attempting to remove my swinging kitchen door in my bungalow and these tips were exactly what I needed!


Josh August 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I’m glad it helped, CP!


FrankM1150 January 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Finding and repairing old doors etc. can be exhausting. I really appreciate your discription and pics. I have had to do not 1 door but 3 so I can appreciate the work you have done. Great Job


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