The French doors I’ve collected aren’t really from the 1860’s, more like early 1900’s, but they would have been much the same. (Besides, “the swinging early 1900’s” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)
The left and right pairs of doors are made from Australian cedar. We found them at the Grenfell tip, complete with 8 coats of paint, broken glass and rotten joints. The middle pair was discovered in Wombat, NSW, they are pine with cedar panels – kind of the negative of the Grenfell doors which are cedar with pine infill. The door frames are new, dressed all round (DAR) Australian Ash. All the timber is still raw, I will probably oil it with the same finish we used on the floor, but not until I’ve completed the glass.
Hanging doors isn’t one of my favourite jobs, especially when every door is a slightly difference size, out of square and with a bit of a warp. But hang them I did by following these steps:
1. Cut door to correct height.
- The door openings were made to accommodate the width of specific pairs of doors, the height was based on the shortest door less 10mm. This let me make the top and bottoms of the doors square.
2. Mortise hinge locations on doors.
- Given every door is a slightly different width I did this by hand with a chisel.
3. Attach hinges to door with 2 small screws.
- There are four holes in each hinge. Using only two screws gave me the ability to change a hinge’s position if I needed to.
4. Stand door in place with ply under it to set the bottom clearance.
5. Mark hinge locations on door frame with a knife.
6. Cut hinge mortises on door frames.
- I could have used a router and template as the hinges and frames are uniform – but I did it by hand.
7. Stand door in place and put 1 small screw in the top hinge and 2 in the bottom one.
8. Remove ply.
9. Test the fit and trim top if required.
10. Put “proper” screws in remaining holes. These are a bigger gauge and longer.
11. Replace all “small screws” with “proper” ones.
12. Have a coffee.
Getting a pilot hole in the right place for a hinge can be tricky at times. The drill bit sometimes moves and then the hinge ends up a few millimetres (or worse) out of place. There’s two good ways to limit the chance of this happening. The cheap way is to press an awl into the timber where you want the drill bit to start. Kind of a pilot hole for the pilot hole. The better way is to buy a funky drill bit that has a spring loaded tip – enabling you to locate the drill bit exactly in the centre of the hole everytime. Check them out here at Screwit Screws.