Practical techniques

Quansheng Xin videos

These are some great videos made by Quansheng Xin, (thanks to a helpful reader of the blog, see below for link). In one of his earlier videos, he made the big sign that now sits behind him on every new video he makes. The way this chap does his work is very instructive and I find his direct methods very refreshing. He does go on a bit, but then, don’t we all.

Practical techniques

Glazing a Victorian Door (Part 3)

Nearly there with the door. Coat of primer yesterday, then will move on with glazing. fitting locks, etc. Looking good I think. I need to decide on a topcoat colour. Black would be easiest choice and may well win out, as time is pressing on.

Hand Tools Practical techniques

Glazing a Victorian Door (part 2)

I have no idea whether I’m doing this correctly, but it all seems to be going ok. By all means send me tips on how to do this better, or ‘right’. I value the opinions of full-time joiners who do this for a living, especially traditional hand tools workers.
Right, I had a bit of time between the plasterers, electricians and plumbers in the house, so onwards with renovating this old door.

I bought this rebated bolection moulding from an online supplier. I’ve been looking at a lot of east London doors from the period and this bolection was widely used on nicer doors. To choose the right moulding, I printed the pdfs from the online catalogue and held them up to the door.
I will be adding the moulding to the lower panels as well as the upper glazed panels. The lower ones are without any profile at all here, because I’m flipping the door to keep the hinges on the same side for the joiner when he hangs the door. The old door was left-side hinged, but my house door needs to be right-side.
A little trick I learned from an old picture framer. Mouldings are easier to hold in place if you flip one on top of the other and clamp them down. It works with most profiles. Instant holder!
If anyone has opinions about massive workshops, £4k Roubo workbenches and insights on bench height they want to share, they are probably on the wrong blog.
I honed my Stanley 9 1/2 blade on the diamonds before I started this job. You don’t need anything better.
This will do, once a finger of filler is wiped over. The door is recessed from the elements in an alcove. If I was door a door for bad weather, it would be appropriate to add the mouldings when the door has just been painted, the wet paint gives a good seal.
Lower panels look good. Very pleased with the proportions of the profile.
On to the top panels.
Purely because I haven’t ordered my profiles for the back of the glazing yet, I went ahead and did the bolection on the front anyway. The job would be easier if I did this the other way round, i.e. put in the back moulding, add the glass, then clamp and nail the bolection down tight on the front. Well, I just wanted to get the front done and it went ok.


Getting there…

work on house
The work on the house renovation continues and this morning I had to strip off a ceiling. The old plaster and lath had had it’s day, (well, it was over 130 years old) and was sagging in quite a few places. As the plasterers have been in skimming the walls, it made no sense to skim over something with dodgy foundations. So down it came and ten bags of rubble later, I’m ready to get it boarded over and skimmed.
I spent a while stripping the ceiling, because I wanted to retain the original cornice, so I had to part the ceiling from the edges, before swiping the main part off with a shovel.
A very dirty day, but still some progress. Once these two rooms are skimmed I can get on with the kitchen renovation and once that’s done, it’s really just painting and making storage units.
Onward and upward.

Hand Tools Practical techniques Restoration

Glazing a Victorian door

I’m still crazy busy on a house renovation, but one of the projects I’m shuttling back and forth on is sorting out a new front door. The property is a mid-terrace Victorian two-bed, built in 1880. I found a decent door in a reclamation yard locally, for a very reasonable £80.
The current hallway in the house suffers a little from being too dark, primarily because the existing front door has only one tiny fanlight with glass panels.
This new four-panel door will be converted so that the top two panels will hold glass (and a lot more light) into the hall.
I will be fitting frosted safety glass for security reasons and for privacy, and will post more detail about mouldings and fitting as I get round to it.

Interior and exterior Victorian doors can generally be swapped, with the general construction being the same the only difference being exterior doors are usually a little thicker. This Victorian door has a substantial weight to it and is around 42mm thick, so should make a good exterior door for a house I’m renovating. Here, I’m going to remove the wooden upper panels and replace with glazed panels.
You can price the mouldings away if you tap a blunt chisel under them and gently lever them out. Trick is to start from the centre of the mouldings and work into the corners. The centre of the mouldings will be more flexible and it will be easier to loosen the nails.
You can then use these holes to start a jigsaw in, so just cut out the panels, leaving an inch or so around the edges.
Once you’ve cleared the existing mouldings, drill some big holes into the corners of the panels.
Once you have removed the majority of the panel, you can cut into the corners and ease the remaining bits of panel out of its rebate. They should come out easily, as they are just rebated in loose, to allow for movement.
Getting there. One panel cut out, one to go.
Here I’m prising one of the more reluctant strips out.
All cleared out now and you can see the rebate all around.
This rebate will no longer be needed, as glass will be dropped in and with a rebate it would slip around, so the next step will be to fill the rebates with wooden strips and plane flush. More pics soon.