They wanted two, custom panel entry doors with matching storm doors for their country home. He showed me photos of a very old Dutch door that had an interesting panel layout. After we looked at it together, we amended the panel sizes a bit for a single piece door… and I went to work.
Their house could reach the high 90s in summer and see three feet of snow in winter, so I needed a species of wood that was very durable, would remain stable through the seasons and looked great. I chose an African mahogany known as Sepele. Below you can see the two inch thick, rough sawn planks from the mill and what they looked like after I planed the boards and exposed the faces.
We had to machine (cut) all the parts perfectly square and to the exact sizes so when assembled, all the joints would meet perfectly flush and the doors would be dead flat (‘on plane’). Here we are doing a dry fit (without glue) to see if it will come together as planned.
We ended up creating a few hundred pieces of molding to hold all the panels in place.
The door’s top half was fitted with tempered glass and the bottom, with wood panels.
Both storm doors and the main doors were mounted with very high-end hardware.
They wanted brass box door latches and fully concealed door hinges that were made in Germany. All of these had to be deeply mortised into all the door’s edges. We had to do the same for the corresponding places on the jambs (door surrounds). We constructed them of 6/4 Sepele and made saddles (the floor pieces), as well. This is referred to as ‘pre-hung’ doors.
Although the painter’s tape is on the glass (they are applying the finish themselves), I managed to get this photo from the interior (was deep snow outside). In a few years this patina will look even better. They are very pleased with their custom panel entry doors.
russell hudson / HCM