Thursday, October 1, 2009

Update on the Front Door


10/1 Home stretch on the door project ... We had to go to the site yesterday to final refit the front door before final priming,painting and rehanging. The molding miters will need some patch and fill work and Tom of Keefe and Wesner Architects (restoration specialists) turned us on to a product by West Systems called 'microballoons'. You add this sort of mysterious powdery stuff to their epoxy and it makes what they refer to as a 'fairing' compound. Weatherproof, durable, carveable, sandable, paintable .... We made a sample Tuesday and it's pretty amazing stuff. More on that later ... Click photos to enlarge them.

The opening with it's granite sill

The inside view after refitting ... There was soooo much paint on the jamb edges that the door was thicker than the rabbett in which it fits. Over the years, it seems that the carpenters, when repainting and adding new hardware, had rehung the door further and further from its original location until when we first fitted it yesterday, it was about 3/16ths pround of its jambs. Luckily, we were able to rerout the jambs in place and now it swings freely, fits flush and doesn't bind ... we'll add new weatherstripping after it's painted and rehung.

From the outside with the new knocker in place
Update 9/22

Trevor has made one continuous patch to cover the historical assortment that has accumulated on the outside ... The new knocker will cover the old knocker holes .... the small patch was a knot that had fallen out ...

And we've laid out the Ball & Ball lockset location )love their stuff). He'll fill the round holes and do another 'one patch' on the inside.
9/19/09
Another project we're working on for the painted library house is the front door. Originally, our scope of work included making a new front door similar to the original. We didn't pay too much attention to the old one at first as it had some 1960's or 1970's era lacquered brass hardware and some really thick bad paint. But, when I decided to take the original door to copy it, we started to look at it more closely and decided that, yeah, maybe it was old and we'll strip it first and see what it looks like. I took it to my friend Alan Tschorn at Chem Clean in Arlington, Vermont and he put it in his dip tank for a soak. When we got it back, it showed some past insults, but it was definitely an old door. We're feeling like it could maybe possibly be the original after removing the moldings that were loosened by the stripping process. The panels are all one piece, not narrow glued up boards. Some are bookmatched (the two horizontal top ones) or obviously from the same board, and all the nails appear to be from the same period and manufacturer. I'm actually not familiar with the exact style, but it appears to be an early 'cut' nail, stamped from a sheet possibly by a local Vermonter. Check the nails out below ... Click the pictures to enlarge them ...

Interior view of the original entryway ...

On our first site visit, we took measurements to estimate a price to copy the existing door. This house has beautiful, original, cut granite foundations and note the granite sill detail ... You don't see that often ...

Back from the strippers ... interior view

Exterior view showing clearly the patches that accumulated over the years as hardware and locks were changed ..

The door with all its exterior panel molding removed. To get the first one out we drove the two nails holding the molding through and then pried it up. Once that one was out, the others could be removed with their nails ....

Paint and stripper remained under the hand plane shaped moldings

The nails ... two per strip of molding, 8 per panel, carefully and symmetrically placed by the original maker. Note the square ground nailset for setting the nails through ... We'll patch the holes neatly, and make accomodtions for the new Ball and Ball hardware ... It'll be sweet when it's repainted and I'm sure it will be happy to get back home ....

2 comments:

Max said...

Gorgeous! I always look forward to your posts, especially this one. I love the old homes.

Steven said...

Will you be putting new molding along the door panels to keep the original look, or leaving the panels square and more simplistic?