of the fact that we purchased the house in the Spring, one of the first
projects I decided to go after was the restoration of the two front
screen doors. The screens were falling out of them and it sounded
like a logical place to start.
for the sake of documentation, I did not photograph the restoration as
it was taking place. I can say that I worked on those doors daily for
almost three months to complete them. There were eight or nine
coats of paint to contend with along with extensive water damage that
had to be cut out, replaced and blended in. All of the cast iron
hardware was stripped and repainted. The non mortised door latch
was disassembled and all of the brass pieces were polished back to shiny
of the few cases where I decided to modify the original design was in
the corners of each of the openings. I designed new fretwork based
on the clover designs seen in the gables of the house. I stayed
with 19th century carpentry techniques by making wood pegs by hand and
mounting the fretwork using just the pegs and a mallet. It was a
bit more time consuming, but they came out really well. The
fretwork show off really well when backlit as seen here.
replaced all of the damaged moldings around the screens with a carved
molding with an ivy design. These moldings were much thicker than
the originals. The true challenge came when having to bend them to
match the arch at the top of the door. The moldings had to be
repeatedly soaked in hot water and mounted in a progressive series of
custom made jigs to finally achieve the correct arc. But it was well
worth it as the detail shows nicely on the finished door.
I said earlier, the project ended up taking a couple months. (This
was not good, because it got mighty hot during that time and there was
no way to have the front doors open...Yikes!) But we are quite pleased
with the results.
as seen from the inside, showing off the newly added fretwork...
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