frequently asked questions
Woodworkers FAQ sheets cover almost anything and everything you need to know about joinery. Please feel free to download and use them to get answers to all the questions you ever had about joinery. If you need further help send us your inquiry using the form on this page.
12. ANTIQUE DOORS
woodworkers antique indian doors
A. antique indian door
ARE THEY GENUINE ANTIQUES?
Yes. The centre section of each door has been reclaimed from 100 year old buildings in the desert regions of western India. The surrounding frame is also recycled hardwood which has been mortised and tenoned around the original door to build it out to standard Australian door sizes. Woodworkers retain an agent in India to retrieve old joinery from neglected or demolished buildings and to undertake the initial restoration work to make them sound.
WHAT SIZES DO THEY COME IN?
Standard 2040 x 820 is most common as the original doors are rarely larger than 1800 x 500. The recycled doors are usually between 40 and 50mm thick and weigh between 40 and 60kg. Some doors exist at 2140, 2240 and sometimes even 2340 high but these are rare. Where we have a pair of matching doors we will not sell one only. We do however have a significant selection of single doors in most designs.
WHAT ARE THEY MADE OF?
The centre sections are commonly Sheecham or African teak. The surrounding timber is hardwood known as Sal. When framing is required we generally use skip dressed N.G. Rosewood as it has a similar colour and a dense enough grain to hold the hinge screws for heavy doors.
THE BACK OF THE DOOR IS VERY RUSTIC. IS THAT OK?
It is traditional in India not to fuss over the inside of doors. The heavy stud work on the outside actually has its origins pre-dating the Mughal period as a means of repelling attack from elephants. Over time these simple spikes became more decorative and the patterns and styles more inventive. The ironwork was invariably nailed through the door and bent over flat on the inside in no particular pattern, but this abstract presentation has its own rustic charm. Many people comment that after they adjust to it, the rear of the door is as interesting as the front but if it doesn't appeal it can be covered at additional cost.
HOW SHOULD THEY BE HUNG?
It is usually preferable if antique doors are factory hung in custom frames made to suit on at least four heavy duty ball bearing hinges each. This ensures that any discrepancies can be addressed and the unit delivered to site ready to install. It is essential that the doors, which will have been removed from their hinges for transport, are reinstalled in the frame before installation. Once this is done, the frame can be installed adjusting its shape so that the doors are sitting flush with even clearances all round. Remember the item has a shape determined by the antique panels which may not be exactly square, so the frame's final position needs to be adjusted until everything works correctly. Do not install the frame plumb and square, then expect the doors will fit exactly.
WHAT HARDWARE DO I USE ON THEM?
Woodworkers carry a range of wrought iron, patina bronze and copper handles designed for use with antique doors. It also has rusty studs, carved architrave and antique mushroom stop material to enhance the look. The doors are commonly hung on black chrome hinges and we recommend a matching mortise lock with Florentine bronze or copper faced cylinders and escutcheons. Discuss your requirements with Woodworkers hardware specialists so that a customised response can be designed for your particular application.
WHAT FINISHES SHOULD BE USED?
We recommend the Sikkens range of external finishes and there is a separate FAQ sheet devoted to their application. As the colour changes significantly when a finish is applied, it is important that you experiment on the top or bottom of the door to ensure the colour change is to your liking. Alternatively, the nature of the timbers used will allow the door to go unfinished in protected situations, or simply linseed oiled to nourish the timber knowing that the finish will disappear over time into the wood.
I NEED BIGGER DOORS. CAN WOODWORKERS CUSTOM MAKE?
Yes. We carry a restricted range of antique door panels that can be joined together or adapted to create larger or smaller doors than our pre-made selection. Remember that we are restricted by the size and patterns available and need to work within those parameters to achieve a result. We need to discuss your requirements and select panels appropriately which may require flexibility and co-operation to achieve a practical outcome that does not destroy the character of the original panels.
DO WOODWORKERS HAVE OTHER OPTIONS IN ANTIQUE DOORS?
Yes. Woodworkers is always searching for special doors with unique character. We may have Chinese temple doors, Parisian entrance portals, rustic Mediterranean or Balinese entrances or other global acquisitions. Old doors teach us new ways to make and design doors that can enhance our range and there is great pleasure in providing an antique door to clients who appreciate their special qualities.
ANTIQUE INDIAN DOOR COLLECTION
The examples below indicate some of the numerous styles that are occasionally in stock. Every door is different as they are all genuine antiques and each is totally unique.
and many more...