Practical techniques

A door examination

In our part of London there are some lovely examples of Georgian and Victorian houses. The area around Brick Lane is well documented now, but if you are a visitor and you are interested in architecture, you might take a wander up Brick Lane and duck into the Spitalfields area. Streets such as Fournier St and Fashion St have some fine old houses that have been renovated with a lot of care by their owners. (You can read a lot more about this on the Spitalfields Life blog. In particular, I thought this post was lovely.

Georgian Door_ Hackney_London
Up towards my stomping ground on the eastern side of Hackney, the houses are a little less grand, but areas such as Clapton Square have some lovely Georgian houses too. (The above pic is a nice door from a typical house on the square.)
Whilst walking around the local streets the other day I noticed some tradesman replacing a door and the old door was still on the street. I was interested to see the building-up of the moulded sections. The deep outer moulding on the main lower panel is rebated back, to hang over the square edge. I’m used to seeing that, and it’s good practice, allowing for shrinkage. It was interesting to see the thinner panels that must have been jointed and glued up to make a larger flat panel to act as the ‘core’ of the panel. I suppose it makes sense in terms of material that was available back then and the fact most of it was subsequently covered by the raised panel and outer mouldings.
Victorian Door 1
Victorian Door 2
After a browse through the LAP book ‘Doormaking & Windowmaking’, I found reference to these sorts of doors, the construction of which is actually quite interesting. I especially like the technique of cutting the rebate for the bolection bolding as a very slight wedge shape. When you nail the bolection in, the shallow angle forces the outs flanges of the moulding to pull in very tightly, important especially as the upper edges are exposed to the running-off of water from the door.
(Click the pics to get a readable size.)
Doormaking & Windowmaking_1
Doormaking & Windowmaking_2
Doormaking & Windowmaking_3
Doormaking & Windowmaking_4

2 replies on “A door examination”

Lovely door. I had a walk down the streets you mentioned in Fournier Street. Very beautiful. Just found myself thinking about the people living in the houses. Nobody seemed to be at home. I guess they are £4 million plus. Maybe owned by bankers and hedgefund folks. All that craft and beauty wasted on the rich. Ha ha.. maybe I am wrong.

Odd walking down the street then you hit Brick Lane and the mosque on the corner. Another world and reminder of the waves of immigration and shifting tide of London’s diversity.

Well, I have read quite a few posts on the Spitalfields Life blog which connect to Fournier St and Fashion St. I think you are probably right in a sense that quite a lot of houses are probably now owned by well-off people. However, there is a real sense of community there that still exists today, mainly I think because a lot of creatives bought up those houses when the area was very run-down. In the 80’s you would have needed a clear vision and a lot of guts to buy a house around there. It was a terribly poor area, well worth looking at Colin O’Brien’s pics. Whenever I read a post about someone who is or was well-known in the area, such as Rodney Archer, it’s surprising how many nice comments are posted by people who are clearly friends of friends. I don’t think it’s a bleak area owned by bankers particularly, it still has some edginess that attracts successful creative people, more than purely moneyed ones.

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