A Black Fence

I had this idea for a fence. It probably grew from my hatred of pressure treated lumber. I thought a fence made from identical old doors would look good. I found a few photos of people who had done this, usually with a variety of found doors in whatever colors.

I had chased a few doors on Kijiji but this was complicated by my lack of a truck to pick them up. I described my idea to John. He was worried that if he built a fence using old doors, that I expected he would have to hang them so they could all be opened. I explained I only needed one door to open.

He’s not a Kijiji user, so I showed him the site, then did a search for antique doors. Miraculously the first listing was from a seller nearby with 10 identical doors from an old house that was being demolished ! With a phone number ! John said he could pick them up. I called right away and the seller called me right back, from work.

At this point it was early November. I called a couple of posthole places. They were near the end of the season but open to my small job.

I had also wanted to build a picket fence in the front. I had a series of confrontations with a very hostile neighbour, who blamed my cats for a variety of problems. Oddly – she did not carry on like this with her next door neighbour who had an outdoor cat, or the outdoor cat owners two doors down, or the cat person several doors down that kept having litters of kittens (and of course attracting intact, spraying tomcats when she was in heat). Only my cats – my fixed cats, who stuck close to home – who I rounded up after a couple of hours of liberty – were the problem. My semi-feral cat Marm disappeared at the end of September and I never found her. After I postered the area, someone very aggressively went around tearing down all my posters.

(I also called the crew that picks up deceased animals, signed up for alerts from LAC, posted her as missing with photos on Kijiji and London Lost Pets. I walked around at night with treats for a month. I had a few plausible leads but none were her. What happened ? )

Anyhow – I needed fences, plural. They should help to keep my cats in the yard, and drinkers  and pissers out.

It was cheaper for the posthole place to come once rather than on two separate occasions, so I had posts set for everything.

I decided to move the fence location towards the front yard. With no car I already had more driveway than I needed. This lined up with the corner of the house and seemed to work well.

The doors were great. They had small holes for rimlocks (perfect) and while they were filthy were in otherwise good shape.


The doors had lived with some smokers. I scrubbed each one with TSP, which was disgusting. I patched the worst holes, then painted each door with two coats of oil based paint. This actually took a long time to do. I did this in the back porch, which was cold and dim.

John was really careful about constructing the fence. he notched the posts and triple checked that everything was level and straight.

A friend in Toronto had given me a french door with textured glass, that I used in the Nightmare Apartment. It moved with me, with some dim notion of being installed for a powder room door. I liked the idea of using this for the gate, so I could see if someone was there – while still having privacy. I was definitely hung up on privacy.

Before Fence (note cinderblocks propped against the rotten posts to keep it upright):


After Fence:


I was very happy with my new fence. I was expecting that “someone” might call the city to complain. I had read the fence bylaw backwards and forwards. My fence was under the 7′ height limit – and while there were laws prohibiting corrugated metal fences (why I would like to know) there was nothing about making a fence from antique doors. It was definitely within my property lines, too.

Click to access fence-PS6.pdf

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