How to Restore an Antique Door | This Old House

20November 2020

The Arlington homeowners decided to save the original front door but wanted a specialty shop to correct the mistakes it sustained over the years. Kevin O’Connor visits a restoration shop in Needham, MA where they will make this original Arts and Crafts door whole again. Refinished and rehung, Tom Silva shows a special machine iused to route a slot for the new lock mechanism.

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The front door to the Arlington house looked substantial from the outside but suffered a funky repair job in its past. Kevin O’Connor visits Wayne Towle’s restoration shop in Needham, MA where he’s in the middle of the process. Wayne notes that the type of door, with the old glass windows, is prevalent in historic neighborhoods and worth saving. An odd plywood panel was covering the original door on the inside, and when it’s removed the original quartered oak floating panel is revealed. New moldings will be applied where they’re missing. All the old lockset holes get patched. Kevin watches the final piece of damaged veneer being routed off. A new piece of white oak veneer will be glued and applied. A few steps more in the shop to finish it and then it will be sent to the house. The original front door is back in place after getting patched and refinished. Now it’s time to install the lock mortising hardware which connects to both the knob and the lock. Tom Silva shows the piece of hardware and explains that in order for the box to fit, a hole needs to be made inside the door. Finish carpenter Mattie Forde uses a lock mortising machine to cut the exact height, depth, and thickness all at once. The router gradually works its way into the door and stops at the right place. It’s a perfect fit.

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About This Old House TV:
This Old House is America’s first and most trusted home improvement show. Each season, we renovate two different historic homes—one step at a time—featuring quality craftsmanship and the latest in modern technology. We demystify home improvement and provide ideas and information so, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring out contractors, you’ll know the right way to do things or the questions to ask. Our experts including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor give you the tools you need to protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.

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How to Restore an Antique Door | This Old House

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