First off, I'd just like to thank everyone who voted for this in the contest. Looks like I WON!!! :D
I'm about as giddy as a schoolgirl here, so you can also be thankful that you don't have to see *that*.
THANKS AGAIN, EVERYBODY!
Age-old story: Our back door screen ripped out thanks to the ever-gentle touch of kids and pets.
I was just going to replace the screen, but as it turns they didn't have the typical groove and spline but rather the screen was pinched against the door with a metal inner frame. IMO, this is a stupid way to design the thing since the only thing really holding the screen fabric is a few screws. One little push and *rip*. Game over.
So, no doubt the best solution to this would have been to go down to Home Despot, buy a screen door kit for $25 bux, and slap it in.
But where's the fun in that?
I decided to follow my current cedar fetish and make a victorian-esque screen door. Not only will it help class the place up a bit, but it will also hold the screen with a proper spline and also it will have wooden supports in the lower half to keep little hands and paws from pushing directly against said screen.
Step 1: The Plan
One idea would be to just start from scratch and make an entire wooden door. After all, that's what they used to do back then.
Even though the manufacturer made a bad decision about holding the screen in, this was actually a fairly sturdy and well-built door. After chewing on it a little bit, I decided to keep the metal framework and create a wooden insert to get the functionality and looks I was after. (I could pretty much get away with doing anything I wanted after that, since the structural strength is provided by the outer frame.)
Okay, so the framework consists of 1.5 inch cedar stiles (the vertical pieces) and two 3.5 inch rails top and bottom. There is a 1/8 inch slot for affixing the screen around the outside of this starting about 1/8 inch from the outside edge. By keeping this slot near the outside I was able to hide the spline entirely!
A third, center rail attaches via a tongue and groove and also needs the 1/8 inch spline slot in it. I wasn't thinking and messed this up a little, but no big deal since I'll cover it with an inside cover later (step 9).
To keep the screen from pushing out I made a wooden lower section with decorative slats (step 5) tongue-and-grooved in between the center and bottom rail.
I even got a chance to have some creative fun making some corner embellishments for the top screen (step 3-4).