recently installed an rather nice antique door from Construction
Junction in a 100 year-old house in
Lawrenceville with which it was roughly contemporary. The door
was to be installed in a newly constructed
while retaining the original doors on the exterior of the house.
The 36" wide oak door was in excellent shape as
were the two sidelights. The three components were already
attached to each other and topped by a 'sunrise' skylight-arch
which connected all three. The combined unit, approximately 78"
wide at the widest point of the arch with the outside of the
sidelight jambs only 76" apart, necessitated a bit of 'carving'
on the jack studs, to eliminate the
need for excessive shimming when installing the unit.
inside vestibule wall was a bearing wall, supporting a beam
running half the length of the house and making the vestibule
somewhat narrower than I would have preferred. This required the
outside casing to fit in a 2-1/2" space between an exposed-brick
outer wall and the jamb of the sidelight with the rest of the
trim pieces sized to match.
test-fitted some 4-1/2" trim which came with the arch to see if
it matched the existing curvature, which was not a simple arc
but had a decreasing radius toward the bottom end. It wasn't
very close and was also made of six different pieces which would
have had an unacceptable number of joints when put together . Since there was only enough trim for
one side of the door anyway, new trim was required. I chose red oak for the material which, once stained,
would most closely match the original finish of the door unit. I
also felt that the "look" and sizing of the installed door
called for a narrower trim than the original. Once completed,
the clients agreed emphatically with the decision.
The trim work began with a paper pattern of the arch transferred via dividers to 1/4" plywood, allowing for a 3/8"
reveal and a 2-3/4" width for the finished trim piece. After
test fitting on the arch and making a few adjustments, I laid
out the trim piece on some 1 x 10 red oak plank. I found the
arch trim needed to be made in three pieces and joined
with splines (hidden to the inside radius of the arch trim) in
order to get it to fit on the oak planks I had. I cut the pieces
a little large and finished the edges with a belt sander, test
fitting them several times to get the inside radius to show a
consistent 3/8 " reveal on the arch. I followed the same
procedure for the other side of the arch, again test fitting and
modifying a plywood pattern before cutting the oak pieces.
I also needed to add 5/8" extension jams (to
allow for the drywall) to the completed arches. I used 3/4"
material and cut a 1/8" dado on the underside of the inner
radius of the arch to allow for a 5/8" completed extension jam.
The extension jambs were rough-cut to fit in the dado, glued on
and finished with a top-bearing router cutter. Before I cut them
with the router, I did rough-sand them pretty close to
shape with the belt sander because oak tends to splinter when
larger pieces are cut with a router.
The casings were created from lengths of 2-3/4"
red oak with two different ornamental profiles router-cut onto
the inside and the outside edges, except for the two pieces
which would butt into the brick walls which were to be
ultimately scribed to the brick and had no ornamental profile
applied to their outside edges. The same routed profiles were
added to the inside and outside edges of the arch pieces. The
extension jambs for the straight pieces of casing were able to
be cut to 5/8" on a table saw since they were not curved and
were then glued and nailed to either the side jambs or casings
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