Posted: April 22nd, 2012 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors, Process | Tags: breaking a glue joint, custom solid wood door, educational video, glue strength test, glue test, gluing wood, how-to, instructional video, stable doors, Story Door Studio, strong doors, testing a glue joint, Titebond, Titebond III, woodworking | Please Add Your Comment »
This video touches on how Story Door Studio makes solid wood doors without using a engineered core or engineered woods. When making a solid wood door, the desired result is a door that remains strong, flat and stable throughout its life. Click the play icon below to watch the video:
How to Make Solid Wood Doors; Strong, Flat and Stable.
When gluing wood, the actual point where the dried glue bonds two surfaces of wood should be stronger than the wood’s strength by itself. A demonstration of that glue strength is also demonstrated within this video.
Story Door Studio uses Titebond Products and well as other adhesives, depending on the application. The glue demonstrated in this video is Titebond III. If you desire, further information can be found on their site.
Posted: April 17th, 2012 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors | Tags: copyright, custom door making, door manufacturer, ethics, handmade doors, integrity, Story Door Studio | Please Add Your Comment »
Seen on a popular door manufacturer’s site:
“Old Fashioned Business Ethics – It’s A Family Tradition” [sic]
Sounds good, right? Yet another quote from the same site, extolling their virtue and the way they conduct business:
“…unscrupulous manufacturers to exploit these age old arts and craftsmanship for fast profit.” [sic]
Recently, I discovered one of Story Door Studio’s copyrighted images being used on this competitor’s site. However, I was not flattered by their imitation, nor was the photographer who took our original image. It was while trying to find a contact to have our copyrighted image removed that we came across the above quotes. Poppycock. Click the thumbnails below for more detail. Here is our original work on this site. (Of course, our door is the beautifully-constructed, scrupulously-made one pictured on the left—even their Photoshop work to our original photo is badly done.) This company never answered inquiries into the matter.
Hey, not all door manufacturer’s ethics are suspect, but we think it’s important you’re able to trust who you buy doors from. As a bonus at Story Door Studio, you can easily contact the owner. Just fill out the form on the right (or call). We’d love to hear from you.
Posted: March 25th, 2012 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Process | Tags: custom door making, educational video, exterior door finish, exterior finish, finish test, how-to, instructional video, oil varnish, professional finishing, solid wood doors, Story Door Studio, Waterlox, Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish, woodwork, woodworking finishes, YouTube | Please Add Your Comment »
We recently tested the ability of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish (Oil Varnish) to protect and seal solid wood from the potential damaging effects of atmosphere and moisture.
Methodology: In the video below we compare two cross-cut slices (of end grain hardwood), 1/16″ thick, one brushed with Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish (Oil Varnish) and one without any finish. The samples were then subjected to identical atmospheric conditions. Because moisture is conducted through tracheids (the long, hollow cells arranged longitudinally in wood); essentially, in this test we have sampled only 1/16″ of longitudinal cells thereby making the wood extremely susceptible to being impregnated with moisture. (What better way to test the protective qualities of a finish?) The results were dramatic and proved beyond doubt this particular varnish is more than acceptable for finishing our solid wood doors. Click the play icon below to watch the video:
Testing Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish
NOTES: For this test, the manufacturer’s specifications were followed. Regarding use for exterior doors, Waterlox does not recommend this particular finish for direct
exposure to weather or sunlight. For direct exposure to these elements, you’d want to use their Marine Sealer and Marine Finish. And though Waterlox is a beautiful, protective finish that we endorse, Story Door Studio does not exclusively finish our doors with this product. Click here to see a door where this application was perfect and the results were superb
One can find ways to purchase Waterlox here.
Posted: February 15th, 2012 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors | Tags: 8' tall doors, astragal, custom bathroom doors, Custom Doors, Custom double doors, handmade doors, Red alder, rustic alder doors, solid wood doors, Story Door Studio | Please Add Your Comment »
Red alder has a lot of natural character, especially in a rustic grade. The knots are prominent, while remaining structurally sound, making it more difficult to work around (so to minimize waste), but the results are rewarding. Alder is also a very large and sustainable wood source here in North America, so its popularity isn’t surprising. Story Door Studio has recently been involved in some remodels where alder doors are being specced.
Here, two sets of double bathroom doors were designed and built by Story Door Studio to compliment existing millwork. So to add variety amid the existing interior raised-panel doors we incorporated chamfered wood plank panels, a look borrowed from the home’s large entry door. These new doors would also be the only double doors inside the home where the bathrooms or adjacent bedrooms required a shallower swing for space-saving’s sake. They are 8′ tall, 24″ and 28″ in combined width. A wider plank look was achieved for the 28″ arched set by engineering the inside stiles (hidden behind the center astragal) to be thinner than what is common, but maintaining the strength of a wide stile. (Click the images for a better look.)
All solid wood. Mortise and tenon joinery. These new doors will be stained and finished when they reach their destination. Their hidden recesses are pre-stained in a shadow black, anticipating wood movement in the panels where the finish may or may not completely reach.
Posted: January 5th, 2012 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors | Tags: 8'-0" door, arched lock rail door, arched-top door, architectural quality door materials, before and after doors, cast bronze hardware, custom door, custom glass, custom solid wood door, Dallas, Fluer-de-lis hardware, French Colonial adaptation, H Carl Trimble III, new and unique door, New Orleans door, non-standard sized door, replace transom window, Rocky Mountain Hardware, Sapele wood, Trimble Studios glass, Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish | Please Add Your Comment »
Fleur-de-lis ironwork. Arched brick lintels. Complimented by…a glass storm door?
The owner of this home, a French Colonial adaptation, was ready to refresh her home’s entry with a new, safer and more unique door. She wanted to enhance the place’s architecture while also making an artistic statement. Before, there was a arched transom window over a weakly-made, leaded glass door typical of the neighborhood’s building period. A large glass storm door further complicated the entrance. All of that was removed.
Here is the “before” image:
Conceived and built by Story Door Studio, the new door’s distinguishing features are a radiused lock rail and radiused windows (both top and bottom edges) which were to allow more light into the entryway—while increasing privacy. The specialty glass makes a strong statement and the carefully selected wood carries its own artistic symmetry. As is standard practice of Story Door Studio, this New Orleans-esque door is made completely from solid wood and architectural quality door materials. The new door also features a beautiful solid Sapale arched panel, over 30″ wide.
The wood species is a heavy African variety called Sapele. Sapele has the look and warmth of mahogany, but is almost twice as hard and more highly figured (a more interesting wood grain structure). This non-standard sized door was built: 8′ tall and 42″ wide, by 2-1/4″ thick. The Fleur-de-lis hardware is solid cast bronze from the craftsmen at Rocky Mountain Hardware
. The thick, tempered, 3/8″ custom beveled glass was crafted by H Carl Trimble III, at Trimble Studios
in Dallas, Texas. Please click the thumbnails for larger images.
Posted: January 4th, 2012 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors | Tags: Ambassadors, custom made door, door-making, Story Door Studio | Please Add Your Comment »
I’m hunting for Ambassadors. Folks who support small business. Or craftsmanship. Or art (I’ve been told door-making can be classified as art). I maintain that what I do is better-than-average, well-conceived woodworking that happens to yield a special door. I’m hunting for you. Even if you aren’t in the market for a custom made door, you might run across someone who is. Or maybe you know a contractor with a flair for a custom aesthetic. Just shoot me a note from this site (with your address) and I’ll send you a neat bundle of Story Door Studio business cards—to help you tell my story. They really are quite attractive (click the above pic)… And if your word-of-mouth helps “sell” a door, I pay a tidy finder’s fee. Thanks.
Posted: January 4th, 2012 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Process | 3 Comments »
Here in the studio, there’s much detail-orientation that happens before any wood is cut. It all begins with a story which yields a list of our client’s needs, wants and desires. Then, we start sketching and apply those ideas to the façade. Scale renderings for final client approval follow (some seen here). This planning process is comforting to clients and beneficial for all other parties involved. By taking this extra step, it’s clear what the goals are. Email Gregory (see the right-hand column and send a note) and we’ll start talking about your new door(s)-to-be.
Posted: January 4th, 2012 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors | Tags: Cheery Wood Table, cherry and doors, Cherry Patina, Cherry Trestle Table, custom cherry furniture, custom furniture, UV exposure and wood | 4 Comments »
Cherry might be my favorite wood. Smells great when cut. Works divinely with hand tools. Finishes like butter. Unfortunately, it’s not that great for doors; cherry is very susceptible to UV rays that can change its color dramatically. Depending on the environment, the process of cherry reaching equilibrium is sketchy. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful and very popular wood species. And if you plan for the UV exposure, it will mellow evenly to a beautiful patina.
Having a history of furniture-making, I get requests for commissions. Happily this trestle table was to be designed and crafted in cherry. The final finish was hand-scraped and rubbed with natural oil.
Click the thumbs above for larger images. And as always, if you like what you see, contact me using the number/form on the right for your custom door (and furniture) needs.
Posted: September 18th, 2011 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: archway installation, artisan, driftwood woodworker, Jeffro Uitto, organic furniture, recognizing craftsmen, supporting craftsmen, Tokeland WA, woodworking inspiration | 8 Comments »
I stumbled across a fellow woodworker, Jeffro Uitto
. Don’t recall how…but I’m glad I did—probably Googled “organic furniture design” or possibly “awesomeness”. To me this guy belongs within the definition of creativity using wood. Have a look at his work. (I’m particularly drawn to this archway installation in Long Beach, WA.)
Jeffro is awe-inspiring and I wish I could just hang out with the guy for an afternoon.
I hope you are encouraged (and please send this post along to your friends) to support the craftsmen and artisans of our age, lest future generations lose them entirely.
Posted: August 20th, 2011 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors | Tags: black-dyed cedar, hanging room divider, modern Bed & Breakfast, modern Shōji, outdoor shower, Shōji door, Shōji screen, tung-oiled cherry | Please Add Your Comment »
I appreciate the Japanese woodworker. One of their better known contributions amid centuries of exquisite architecture is the Shōji door or screen. There’s a simplicity in Japanese design that is hard to argue with. Translucent windows are skillfully surrounded by fine woods—the windows traditionally consisting of handmade paper. Thus, perfectly diffused light and fresh air is allowed to pass into the structure. Nowadays beautifully detailed (and more durable) Shōji material is available (still from Japan), made from solid sheets of screen-printed PVC. This modern material still gives the feel of a traditional Shōji door, but allows for the modern Shōji door to be exposed to outdoor elements.
The two Shōji we’ve built here were made to the owner’s specifications and are of tung-oiled, natural cherry and marine-varnished, black-dyed cedar. Joinery keeps with the Japanese tradition: mortise and tenon. The cherry Shōji will function as a hanging room divider for a modern Bed & Breakfast’s master suite and its cedar counterpart serves to conceal the suite’s outdoor shower. We used the aforementioned modern PVC screen in both for durability’s sake. (More images of these Shōji will follow once installed.)
Posted: June 18th, 2011 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors | Tags: ancient Egyptian technique, cope and stick, Custom Doors, door construction, dowel rods, Frank Lloyd Wright, hand-made doors, Mortise and Tenon doors, Mortise and Tenon joint, Shakers, solid wood doors | Please Add Your Comment »
The Mortise and Tenon joint. Ever heard of it? Its origins trace back to the ancient Egyptians—this construction joint is found in their furniture, still holding together after all these years. It took root in the Orient and Europe. Our Early American Shakers adopted it. Then Frank Lloyd Wright insisted upon it. A square hole, receives a square peg, basically. Mortise and Tenon is also the way doors have been made for centuries. But in recent decades it’s been lost somewhere on the way overseas or banned from the huge manufacturing facility. In many cases, the Mortise and Tenon has been replaced by a “cope and stick” joint, zipped together on a router. Worse yet, some doors (even expensive “custom” doors) are held together by dowel rods and glue…and a prayer.
Simply put, when mating two wooden surfaces, the more surface area of the wood that meets glue, the stronger the bond. And no wooden construction joint is stronger than the Mortise and Tenon. So why isn’t it used anymore? Time. It takes more time to fit the pieces in a Mortise and Tenon door. It takes more skill to fit the rails into the upright stiles of a Mortise and Tenon door. One must also use solid wood for a Mortise and Tenon to be cut properly. All reasons why this proven joint doesn’t fit the bottom line of large production shops. And they get away with not using this technique because you NEVER SEE IT. Once the joint is fit and glued together, the technique is hidden.
Nothing to hide here. Story Door Studio takes time to use Mortise and Tenon joints in all our hand-made doors. Here’s what a Mortise and Tenon joint looks like, because we want you to see it.
Posted: June 7th, 2011 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Inspiration, Travel | Tags: Blurb books, books about doors, doors in Italy, doors in Spain, images of doors, pictures of doors | 1 Comment »
I reconnected with a friend the other day on Facebook. She’d just visited this site and commented on my observations of when people travel, they have a compulsory attraction to the local doors. Case in point; she took nearly 1000 photos on her trip to Italy and in that portion she counted over 500 images of doors. Enough to design a photographic book of doors in Italy—(which is in the works). I was so proud.
Speaking of travel photo books, here’s one on my list to buy from a publishing site called Blurb. In fact, I published my own book after a trip to Spain I took with my mother. And yes, that book includes a few pictures of doors (go figure). Below are a few I found interesting.
I draw much inspiration from experiences like this. If you’ve come across a door with characteristics you would like in your own custom (bespoke) door, we can work from that. Send me your pictures! Happy travels.
Posted: May 12th, 2011 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors, Process | Tags: bespeak, bespoke, bespoke doors, bespoke suit, Custom Doors, one-of-a-kind, Savile Row, Savile Row Bespoke, tailor | 1 Comment »
We’ve come a long way here in America. So far in fact, that we need to borrow a word from our British friends in order to repair the word “custom.” One can find “custom” at the big, orange home store down the street. Spend five minutes online and “custom” arrives overnight, looking like the little buttons you checked on the order form. Custom? Even worse: customized? We need to back up a bit.
Before our lifetimes, Savile Row tailors adopted an Old English verb, “bespeak” (meaning something decided upon, ordered or arranged) and applied it to the hand-crafting of garments. A gentleman would fancy a fine fabric on display in a tailor’s shop and express his desire that a garment made from it; and so that bolt was said to be “spoken for.” He was then measured, the fabric patterned and cut. The real artistry began with skilled tucks, pressing and stitching. Several fittings later, a truly one-of-a-kind suit was the result. Somewhere in there it was dubbed a “bespoke suit.” Now this beautiful word even has its own association and is fit for those who understand patience and have an affinity for quality.
So let’s be wary of would-be “custom” out there. You won’t find a truly custom door down a concrete isle (and across from the attic fans), or even on a website with pages upon pages of designs to pick from. What you may actually be looking for is bespoke, which by definition doesn’t exist until you visit that special tailor.
Posted: March 7th, 2011 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors | Tags: 6'-6" door, black door, custom door, Custom Doors, Doug Fir, etched glass, milk paint, rim lock hardware, rubbed varnish, straight grained Douglas Fir, The Texas & Pacific Railway, Wooden Door | Please Add Your Comment »
A recent addition to a historic Texas & Pacific Railway section house west of Fort Worth, Texas—a matching pair of doors now greets its occupants and their guests with a bit of railroading history.
The owners lovingly restored the circa 1910′s structure back to a modernized original, but wanted to take the decor a bit further to reflect their affection for trains in two new bathroom doors. Narrower than a typical entry at 2′ wide, the design enhances the home’s cozy nature with just a hint of soft, private light entering from the opposing rooms through the windows. Story Door Studio recreated the early-1900′s logo of the Texas & Pacific Railroad which was etched into 1/2″-thick glass, then housed in the diamond rail that frames floating, chamfered panels. The black finish pays homage to the original coal-burning potbelly stoves and once soot-stained ceilings of yesteryear.
Crafted from straight-grained Douglas Fir, each is door is finished in natural-pigment milk paint with rubbed varnish. Moisture-resistant, deeply colored and soft to the touch. Reclaimed cast iron, rim lock hardware and porcelain knobs. Built 2-1/4″ thick, 24″ wide and 6′-6″ tall. Flush jamb, sans molding, adds to the room’s chattel. It’s easy to change the entrance to your bathroom. Let’s talk about it. Click the images for more detail.
Posted: March 7th, 2011 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors | Tags: 6'-8" door, custom door, guest house, heavy wooden door, long leaf yellow pine, new and old, nickle thumb latch mortised lockset, Rancho Loma restaurant, reclaimed pine | Please Add Your Comment »
Rancho Loma is a beautiful destination restaurant
south of Abilene, TX, that draws guests from miles away, including Southern Living magazine. The door to the ranch’s guest house was built to reflect the feel of the surrounding back country and is witness to its guest’s weekend gatherings on the patio. Nestled perfectly within the structure’s native rock walls, this exterior door is made from reclaimed long leaf yellow pine with floating, staggered-thickness panels. It’s a simple door from a distance, but rewards you with finer details upon inspection.
Built sturdy at 2-1/4″ thick, 38″ wide and 6′-8″ tall. Antique nickel thumb latch, mortised lock set. The threshold is polished concrete with a hidden sweep. A heavy barn beam transom is set into the rock overhead. This serves as the top jamb with a unique integrated top sweep on top of the door. The beam is accompanied by 2″ thick jamb sides. No doubt, this wooden door has a heavy, honest feel to it when swung open or shut.
Posted: March 6th, 2011 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Travel | Tags: cool doors, Doors on Flickr, highlight of the trip, local doors, love of doors, pictures of doors, share, travel | Please Add Your Comment »
I’d encourage you to visit a great big site called Flickr, a popular image-sharing network. Try a two word search like “door, Spain.” Over 32,000 results. Not enough? Just search “door” and you’ll receive 3.4 million images to browse. A ton of them are very cool.
People simply have a love for great doors—no matter the material they’re made of, no matter when they were made or who made them, and no matter the language spoken where they reside. Inevitably, doors are among the highlights of any trip. Do you know of any local doors a traveler might share on Flickr?
Posted: March 5th, 2011 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors | Tags: 6'-8" door, 6'8" door, antique spring hinge, copper mesh, copper screen, custom door, dovetails, eclectic kitchen, hammered copper, long leaf yellow pine, new and old, pantry door, pewter hardware, reclaimed lumber, reclaimed wood, screen, Screen door, shellac, wax | Please Add Your Comment »
A family’s memories of their grandparent’s screen door and that old, familiar “squeak” and “slam” were the ingredients for this one-of-a-kind screen door. The kitchen is comprised of an eclectic mix of new and old materials—concrete, copper, combed glass, wire screen and wood. The owners wanted a special screen door that would make sense amid that mix and be able to make its own statement. It is now the focal point of the kitchen.
Reclaimed pine for the rails, stiles and dovetailed mullions. 7/8″ thick, 24″ wide and 6′-8″ tall. Antique sand-cast, flush-mounted spring hinges. Pewter pull. Fine copper mesh screen. Filtered shellac and wax finish. Convert any pantry’s solid slab door into your own unique screen door.
Posted: March 5th, 2011 | Author: Gregory | Filed under: Custom Doors | Tags: 5-light, 6'-8" door, countryside, custom door, ingress, long leaf yellow pine, reclaimed pine, simple door, stained glass panes | Please Add Your Comment »
Here is a simple ingress Story Door Studio created that shares views of an open prairie with its owners. Situated across the room from a wall of windows, the green grass of the surrounding countryside is pulled into this interior door. The glow from the room’s wood stove at night is a completely different experience.
Filtered shellac and wax finish. Reclaimed pine for the rails, stiles and cross-bars. Local stained glass panes. Built 1-3/4″ thick, 28″ wide and 6-8″ tall. Reclaimed pine jamb and moulding. When you consider the standard fare available, adding a custom door like this can change the entire appearance of a room.