Doors

Olek restores and preserves historic wood door in the worst imaginable condition. We use existing sound wood, and replicate any rotten components of the doors, and insert functionally sound Dutchman inlays, using original joinery techniques to last for many decades or centuries of use. We make minimal use of epoxy, as that hastens deterioration of the door over surprisingly few years. An historic restored door should last well over 50 years with finish maintenance, before next needing restoration. Typically, the doors we restore are part of Landmarked or National Register properties, often in Brownstone buildings of the 19th century or in historic buildings on College campuses, residences or Churches.

Any replication work, including moldings is done to precisely match the existing profiles. We custom cut shaper knives to fabricate moldings. Our hand carvings match any carvers hand, to recreate original details indistinguishable from the original.

  • It traps moisture when put over underlying “soft”, spongy wood (read that “rotten” wood with high humidity content), allowing rot to continue below. Statements that epoxy “pushes out the water or humidity” are baseless, without foundation in fact.
  •  Incompatible with the underlying wood as it swells and contracts with humidity changes, popping off in surprisingly few seasons
  • Once it pops and breaks the paint, it traps rain beneath the paint surface, so once the water gets in, it doesn’t get out.

Cheap application of epoxy consolidant by semi-skilled labor is not a reason to accept it. Epoxy is usually the difference between a restoration lasting 5 -10 years before being necessary again, and lasting 50 or more years. Nothing is better for the longevity of your door restoration than fine cabinetmakers skilled in installing Dutchman inlays. Our fine European craftsmen take not much longer to install wood Dutchmen than typical restorers doing epoxy consolidation.

Olek and all its craftsmen are proud of the quality of every job we do. We look forward to taking fine care of your project.

DOOR PRESERVATION AT PRINCETON

RESTORATION OF THE MAGNIFICENT DOORS OF McCosh Hall at Priceton University

Olek restored all of the doors of Princeton’s Mc Cosh Hall (ca. 1875) around 2002 when the building was being restored. Every entry door to this building is unique, and deserving of fine preservation efforts.

The doors, made in 1875, were made with a 1/4″ white oak veneer over pine or fir stave core. The pine stave core was less rot resistant than the white oak, and often rotted inside the core of the door, retaining moisture and eventually rotting the white oak veneer as well. To repair these doors, it was necessary to remove the weakened veneer over rotten cores, and to replace the veneer after Dutchman inlays into the stave core substrate.

After pulling off the original 1/4″ thick rot-weakened veneer easily, the rotten stave core was visible beneath. The construction is not very different than the 1/8″ veneer over lumber staves or “engineered” core accepted by AWI today. Instead of lasting 100 years, todays’ construction more typically lasts 20 years. Solid white oak with mortise-and-tenon construction should last well over 200 years with some finish maint.

Wood Doors Gallery

1st Church of Christ Scientist, NYC            

Persian Doors, ca. 11th century

106 Pierrepont Street

Light Horse Inn

Cooper Hewitt Museum

Jersey City State College

Fort Hamilton

Victorian Door Preservation

Brownstone Door Preservation

Carved Oak Door Refinishing

Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Victorian Brownstone