Monday, June 23, 2014

Adding decorative straps to the garden shed doors

I mentioned several posts back that we had one more little project to complete before we could call the garden shed finished.  We needed good weather to work on this little project and we have had either rain or windy weather since I made mention of this little project.

The exterior doors on our house all have large decorative iron straps that have a hammered finish and a stylized spade on the tip of the wide strap.  I've checked several online shops that carry decorative iron pieces and "oh my gosh' STICKER SHOCK!  I found quite a few styles but never an exact match to our iron straps.

Decorative iron straps on the garden shed doors would repeat the design element on the house but at a cost of over $120 a pair (we needed 3 pairs) for a design that didn't even match just seemed like a waste of money.  All winter whenever I looked at those doors all I could  think about was the fact that they needed those iron straps that all the other exterior doors on our house.

A light bulb went off in my head one day when R went out to the barn to get a 2X4 for our son.  R opened the barn door to get the board and there stacked on the floor were the cement board siding pieces that I found sitting in someone's trash.  I told R to grab about 10 or 15 pieces because I felt that we could use them for something, some time down the road.  Well, this was that something and some time.  I would make decorative straps out of the cement board.  R was skeptical at first.....what's new?  He has a hard time visualizing projects before we start but he usually is quick to get on board once we are far enough along for him to actually see something.


The first thing that I did was trace one of the original straps and make a cardboard template.  I then took the template out to the shed to see how the strap would look on the doors.  I soon realized that the template was too big for our doors so it was back to the drawing board to reduce the strap.  The strap needed to be narrowed which meant I needed to not only narrow the strap portion but also the spade tip so that the proportion wouldn't look wonky.  After several attempts I felt I had a strap design that looked good.

The photo below shows one of the original straps on the bottom and the faux strap on the top.

I traced out 6 straps making sure to make 3 right side straps and 3 left side straps by flipping the template over.  R then cut them out using a jig saw and about 8 saw blades.  The cement board is very very hard and the amount of dust is unreal.  This is where the weather came into play.  R no sooner started cutting the first strap when it started to rain.  This happened three different times but finally he had them all cut out.



So now it was my turn to make these cement board straps look like iron straps. I used a pneumatic pencil grinder (like a Dremel but pneumatic) to remove any ragged areas and to fine tune the shape.  The original iron straps have a hammered look that I needed to replicate on the cement board.  I went around the outer edge of the strap making little divots using a barrel tip on the grinder.  I tried to vary the size and sometimes even overlapped the divots. This actually too longer to do than cutting them out.

We then drilled holes in all the straps.  The original straps use large screws with square heads.  I went to the hardware store and was able to buy large screws with a pan head.  I bought 30 screws because we used 5 screws per strap. Three screws would have held the strap in place but the original straps used 6. We felt that 6 would over power the smaller strap so we decided on 5 screws for each of the faux straps.

The next step was to spray paint the straps.  I used satin black on the screws and on the back and the black hammered spray paint for the front.  I always spray paint outside so I needed a no rain and no wind day to paint.  It took me almost two weeks to get the correct weather to paint.

I painted the screws by pushing them into an old piece of Styrofoam exposing only the head of the screw. I used a large piece of cardboard to lay out the straps and painted the backs first and then fronts.  Two coats on the back and sides and three coats on the front.

Notice how the straps match the design of the door handle.

In the fall, we will landscape around the garden shed.  I'm thinking hostas because the shed is shaded by a large black walnut tree.  We need to level out the ground and improve the soil where the hostas will be planted.  But now it is time to paint the front of the house.

I will post a break down of the cost of the shed project along with before and after photos.