Sunday, October 25, 2015

Salvaged Front Door Project Part 7 (Finale) - Interior Casings

I had decided a few weeks ago that it was getting too cold outside, and that I had no money to buy the wood to finish the interior casings, so I was going to wait until spring.

This past week, however (especially Wed, Thu, and Fri), the weather was very mild. I decided that instead of buying a full sheet of MDF and having it specially cut + delivered (which is what I'll eventually need to do for the rest of the casings I need), I could simply make them from 6" pine tongue and groove (which sell locally for under 4$ for a 6 foot length).

I had the time off from work, so I took most of Thursday to build and install the trim. The old plinth blocks were reused, new side columns were made (using the t-g pine with the groove on the back), and I had to build the parting bead from scratch as usual. I actually used a variety of scrap wood (anything that was on hand). The parting bead is actually Fir, and the header block is a rather nice piece of Poplar that I had hoped to use for something nicer.

Now, the reason I needed mild weather, is because with the hinges installed (and the door hung) it's impossible to caulk the edges of the casing, or paint. There is a tiny gap between the casing and the hinge, but it's not enough to paint in between there properly. I don't like to do anything half-assed, so the easiest solution was to completely remove the door, and all the hardware.

With everything off, I had complete access to caulk and paint everything.

I had only partially installed the bronze weatherstripping, so I removed the strike plate and lock, and the weatherstripping was masked-off with painter's tape.

Since I was using pine, as well as a mix of other woods, I decided to seal everything with some of the leftover BIN shellac primer (while it's still good). I don't have much else to paint, so more than likely the rest of it will have to be tossed. All the caulking, and multiple coats of paint were done on Friday, and by Friday the weather was starting to dip again (I think it was around 10C?) so I installed a sheet of plastic on the exterior to try to keep the heat inside.

I ended up doing 2 coats of BIN, followed by 2 coats of white semi-gloss trim paint. The door was off from around 11am to 7:30pm. Here's a nighttime photo just after I had hung the door back in the opening. Not the best photo, but as you'll see later, the lighting situation makes this door difficult to photograph in any lighting situation (too bright during the day, and poorly lit with yellow light at night).

I decided to take a nice photo of one of the salvaged hinges. This particular one is the centre hinge, which was graciously donated by a blogger friend Tracy from Bennington Colonial! Without the hinge, this project might still be on hold! Thanks again Tracy!

I also wanted to show how I made the best of a tricky situation with these large hinges. These are the 4" hinges (most old doors tend to use just 3 1/2" hinges, and often only two of them). Since they are larger the screws that I had on hand did not fit. Most hinges are set up with #8 size screws (your average deck or wood screw), but these were drilled and counter-sunk for #10 screws, which are the next largest size. I originally really wanted slot head screws, but I decided that I would just use Robertson screws (square drive), and I was able to find some in bright shiny steel. Obviously steel with antique flashed copper would look terrible, so the screw heads were spray painted with a flat brown spray paint, and I think they match pretty well!

As a side note, the cheap modern screws off my old door were only about 5/8" long, and some of the antique ones I have (from other hinges) were around 1", but these babies are 1 1/2". This might be a bit overkill, but the door is VERY heavy (75 Lbs), and I wanted to make sure it wasn't going anywhere! 3 hinges with 8 screws means a total of 24 screws.

Here's the finished door, with the hardware and doorbell reinstalled.

The side casing was carefully cut to fit tightly around the lock strike.

View from the living room:

This door is much taller than all the other interior doors, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the height lines up perfectly with the window casings (accurate to less than 1/4" difference).

View from the office:

The rest of the door casings photographed fairly poorly due to the strong light, and the fact that everything is currently white-on-white.

Finally the last thing to install to finish the door was the last strip of bronze weatherstripping, and you can read all about this in my previous post: Bronze Weatherstripping For Antique Doors.


  1. spot on and absolutely gorgeous!

  2. Beautifully done! I am glad to see I am not the only one who replaced my steel door with an antique one. Love all your posts!

    1. Thanks. I really hated the steel door. The sad part is that the house had the original door still in place not too long before I bought the house.

  3. Very nice work! I always cringe seeing cheap modern insulated steel doors on old homes. They look so tacky and out of place. Great work on matching the trim too!

    1. I feel the same way. The fastest way to ruin the look of an old house is with one of those fake stained glass steel doors.

  4. It looks great and much better then putting a new modern looking door there. It is always best to have a front door that matches and looks good with the outside of your home and in the case of older homes you made the right choice. I personally do not like the look of steel modern doors on old homes.