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From Door to Frame

From Door to Frame

How individual picture frames are made from discarded wooden doors.


In Berlin, wooden room doors are often carelessly thrown away when old buildings are renovated because they are expensive to refurbish. However, some of them are reconditioned and others are given a second life as picture frames.

According to Ressourcenwende (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), Deutscher Naturschutzring e.V. (DNR), Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung (IÖW)), the construction industry is responsible for more than half of the waste generated in Germany. The topic of "sustainable or more sustainable construction" is on everyone's lips, and with it the question of how materials can be made more recyclable in the future and how material consumption can be reduced overall. Nevertheless, large amounts of waste continue to be generated during the demolition of buildings and the renovation of houses. The energy required to produce building materials such as cement, steel, aluminum and polystyrene products is high, which is why alternative raw materials are desperately sought. Wood as a building material is once again in high demand, and other renewable raw materials are also being rediscovered.

We find unused wooden doors by chance on the street, are offered larger quantities or our customers themselves bring us doors from old buildings that are no longer needed. Before we can start building the frame, we have to sort the doors into their material components. The first step is to remove all metal parts from the wood: the visible ones such as hinges, the lock or the door handle, but also those hidden in the wood. To be on the safe side, we use a metal detector to find even the last screw. The first door parts are taken apart directly, such as the frame of the door leaf and the individual cassettes.

In the table saw, these large individual parts are cut to strips about three centimeters wide. To turn these simple strips into a picture frame strip, we mill a rebate into the strip. The glass and the passe-partout will later lie on it. With the measurements for the first frame, we miter the strips and glue the four pieces together. 

After drying, they are additionally stabilized on the back with the angle tacker. The edges of the strips are very rough and open, so we sand, wax and polish them. From one door we build a different number of frames, but always in different sizes, so that we can use as much wood as possible, leaving little material.

For the framing, the first thing we cut is the glass and a back panel. Such an interchangeable frame still gets a matching hanger, ready. Each frame that we have built from this one old door is unique: each frame has its own patina, slightly different color or even a lock imprint in a bar.


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