Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Front Door

I decided to try and get in one more project before I succumb to a long winter of football, red wine, and bad Saturday afternoon movies. I've put off the front door long enough and now that the foyer is 99% finished, it might as well have a revitalized front door to go along with it.

The foyer is waiting on the delivery of a small table to go just inside the front door and then I can stick a fork in this bad boy and call it a day. I shied away from the Ethan Allen table for a few reasons. First, it was the hand painting on it. I loved the design of the table, but the painted flowers just didn't sit well with me. If I'm going to get something with hand painted detail on it I need to see it in person.

Even with that, I came close to purchasing it, mainly because I really couldn't find anything else I liked. I looked at so many tables, I got the point where I just didn't care anymore. I just wanted to be finished with the foyer and this purchase was the one thing holding me up. When I got to the last page of the order form on the Ethan Allen web site the shipping and taxes nearly doubled the price of the table. It felt like the old bait and switch, so I backed out.

I then found another table on another site. It was almost the same price of the Ethan Allen table, but shipping was free. I ordered it and then got and email saying I could expect delivery on 2/11/2011. I'm not joking. I went back to the site, canceled the order, and bought a nearly identical table – honestly, other than this one being in stock and costing $10 more, there is no difference – that should arrive on Friday. If it does, there will be a nice selection of before and after pictures of the long, drawn-out foyer project. I estimate I have 120 hours of labor in the stairs alone.

Anyway, this post was supposed to be about my pour front doors. You can read the back story about the interior here, but this is about in the outside. The 2 big issues about the outside are 1, the plywood nailed to the bottom of each door, and 2, the modern mail slot.

It turns out the plywood was hiding something. These are double doors and the one on the left is stationary and held in place with 2 slide bolts, one at the top and one at the bottom. The bottom one had a blow out at some point. Somebody either ran in to the door or something and ripped out the wood around the bolt. This is right where the bottom mortise and tenon is, so it was good they did something, but that ratty old plywood had to go.

I stripped the paint off and then glued and tacked in some pieces of wood to sort of hold things together. I can't fill with epoxy because I want to replace the mortised slide bolt.

After that I put a beveled panel over the hole and added a bottom rail. After I did this, I came up with a better idea. I could apply a brass kick-plate to the bottom. I'm not sure if I'll undo what I've done.

The mail slot that was there was a modern brass plated steel number that looked pretty crappy. The plating was already flaking off even though it had not been there that long. I put on this nice antique cast bronze number. The main issue was that the new one I took off was wider than the vintage one I put on, so I had to add wood to the slot that was cut in the door.

Not an issue on the outside because I will be painting. The inside is another story. More on that later.


Anonymous said...

Ok Greg. This might be a totally stupid idea...But I always thought the problem with mail slots is that once the mail is inserted, it just falls all over the floor inside. What if you were to build a nice box to "catch" the mail on the inside...and cover up the patches in the process too?
kinda like these

Greg said...

Not stupid at all and not a bad idea. In this case there is a matching inside plate with the same design that will cover most of the new wood. I may need to get creative, but not by much, I hope.

River Watson said...

Yes, I would go with either a mail-catcher or a frame around the mail slot. That is a really beautiful mail slot! I toured a historic courthouse last week that had a very similar style of hardware on every door. Very neat!

Greg said...

I went with the frame. Pictures tomorrow.