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.

2 replies on “Glazing a Victorian door”

Hi Gary,
You’re a brave man – I hope you have a plan for fastening the glass to the door. I await the next blog post with bated breath. Best wishes & good luck with the project!

Hi Richard,
Second post up now, the saga continues. Light at the end of the tunnel now though, with the plasterer making a final visit this weekend. Builder coming next week to tackle kitchen refit as I concentrate on the easy stuff, like painting walls. Might even get round to doing the nice bit, building storage units. Coveting a Festool Domino for that job. may have to pay Toucan Tools a visit soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.