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Old 03-11-2007, 12:23 PM   #1
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Saving an old entry door


Q: I bought and old house (1911) and it has this great arched top entry door that is solid oak. Of course, some time ago, some idiot thought that it would look much better covered with a few coats of ugly, brown paint so I am left with the decision to strip and restore or replace in kind. There are a few issues that go along with restoring it and I'd like to get some opinions: 1. First of all, it is obviously not insulated although the thickness is 1-3/4"; 2. Second, someone cut a mail slot in it that is ugly and does a great job of cooling the house in the winter when the mail person stuffs in the mail and leaves it in the opening with the cover opened; 3. It has the old motise lock; 4. The window is single pane glass.

My approach would be to plug the mail slot and cavity for the mortise lock (I don't like the look of modernization kits for the lock and I don't think that they'd be compatible with the lockset that we've chosen anyway). The window opening would be upgraded to double pane tempered glass that I would need to glaze myself (never done that before!).

So, the big question is, given the amount of work that is involved (which doesn't bother me as woodworking is one of my hobbies and restoration instead of contributing to landfills is my preference), is the fact that the door will still be uninsulated a big enough reason to simply toss it?

Thanks in advance for any input!
Jimmy

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Old 03-11-2007, 12:58 PM   #2
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Saving an old entry door


If your up to doing the refinish then I would say save it for sure!

Things built in 1911 are a lot better than today. Wood is not a bad insulator.. Steel and fiberglass etc. are used today just because of manufacturing time and cost. And a whole door/frame rework to look like what you already have would be costly.

Baldwin Hardware makes some nice restoration mortise hardware [ a little pricey] if you want to keep it period looking. Or you could mill up an edge filler for the mortise lock cut and then adapt the door to a modern key in knob. A copule of nice brass plates [maybe with address numbers on the outer plate] could take care of the mail slot issue.
I agree on the modernization plates.. We use em where I work but the look a little gawdy..

Good luck!

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Old 03-11-2007, 01:11 PM   #3
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Saving an old entry door


Because it is uninsullated would not be a reason to toss it.
There are probably hundreds of thousands of beautifully restored older homes with uninsulated doors on the front.
My suggestion: If you feel you can bring this door back to it's old glory...go for it.

... And make sure you get some before and after pics and post them on the gallery forum.
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Old 03-11-2007, 03:54 PM   #4
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Saving an old entry door


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Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
... And make sure you get some before and after pics and post them on the gallery forum.
I've got some good "before" or existing pictures. Lemme know where to post and I'd be happy to. In fact, I bought an infrared paint remover about 8 months ago and I tested it on the front door. Not only did it work better than any paint removal product I've ever tried (and it's safe for lead; another reason I was so interested), but I revealed some of the finest, tight-grained white oak I've seen. Another interesting issue is the framing. The door features a brick surround that follows the curvature of the door's arched top. In addition, there is a stepped oak door frame that is bent to the same profile. I won't know what the condition of that is until I strip it (I'm waiting until winter is OFFICIALLY over) but I may have to try steam bending as well. Now that would be interesting!

In addition, I'm in the process (as I type) of demolishing a faux brick fireplace/entire wall in my living room (my wife is yelling at me to get back to work, BTW!). Is this gallery just for woodworking or carpentry work in general? Pretty much everything in this house is going to get reworked and I'd love to share my progress.

So far, I've found newspapers from 1953 but they're so brittle, they litterally disintegrate when I try to unfold them to see what the headlines were. Pretty neat but when you consider that the walls are balloon framed, there are no fire stops and they are filled with 60 year old newspapers, I shudder to think of how quickly this placed would go up in flames if it ever caught fire!

Thanks for your opinions. I was kind of leaning toward restoration, but I wanted to know if y'all thought that I was crazy (for this, anyway).

Jimmy
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Old 03-11-2007, 04:31 PM   #5
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Saving an old entry door


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimmy View Post
I've got some good "before" or existing pictures. Lemme know where to post and I'd be happy to....
...Is this gallery just for woodworking or carpentry work in general? Pretty much everything in this house is going to get reworked and I'd love to share my progress.
Jimmy

Jimmy:

The PROJECT SHOWCASE is for 'projects'; they are for any projects on your home, garage, yard, shed, deck, etc... that members would like to post and share.

Pictures are also helpful to the members of this forum:
1.) They can help other members here learn the best process to use in working on their own projects.
2.) They can serve as an encouragement to tackle some of their own that they have been putting off....when they see the great final results.


Go to the home page (Main page) and look for the Project Showcase forum under DIY repair. Or simply click on this to go right there:

http://www.diychatroom.com/f49/

If you need help on how to post a pic, let us know.
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Old 03-11-2007, 04:32 PM   #6
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Make sure to post some before and after pic's!

Never know what you'll find behind some old walls...

I helped renovate a house oustide Washington D.C. back in the 70's...
Part of the walls had been covered with portions of one of those big maps you see in the old war movies that they pushed tanks/ships around on with a long stick.

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