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HISTORIC WOOD DOOR RESTORATION AND PRESERVATION BY OLEK LEJBZON FOR LANDMARK BUILDINGS

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.

 

Wood door Preservation for historical building and landmark

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.

 

the rotten stave core was visible beneathveneer over lumber staves or 'engineered' core accepted by AWI today


Epoxy is not used as though it might look nice initially, it has the following flaws:

 

  • •  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.





Solid white oak with mortise-and-tenon construction should last well over 200 years with some finish maint

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.



See this door restored below, installed into a grueling Southern exposure, nine years later:


installed into a grueling Southern exposure

 


Nine years post-completion with no maintenance, all the Dutchman inlays are intact


After stave core repair with original and inlaid replacement quartered white oak veneer

 


After stave core repair with original and inlaid replacement quartered white oak veneer


After stave core repair with original and inlaid replacement quartered white oak veneer

 


Door after restoration, finishing and reinstallation, and nine years aging with no maintenance. Leaded glass replaced by Olek.


Door After Preservation Detailed of door after restoration




Side door before stripping Gothic style doors with leaded glass


Gothic period doors Chair


After restoration AFTER restoration and stripping


BEFORE restoration and stripping Gothic style doors before restoration









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