One of the things that distinguishes new houses from older homes is doors. Old doors are solid and heavy; combined with decorative rails and stiles, transoms and sidelites, they are pieces of furniture in their own right.
NEWwoodworks, the 15-person fine woodworking group of New Energy Works’ Farmington, N.Y., branch, creates custom doors, windows, stairs, railings, cabinetry, and furniture in the old way. NWW uses reclaimed wood from barns, factories, and warehouses, or pulled from rivers, as well as Forest Stewardship Council–certified wood, primarily sourced by sister company Pioneer Millworks. “We use wood that is as stable as you can find,” says NWW division manager Rob D’Alessandro.
Built to Last
Craftsmen at NWW develop a full set of shop drawings and hardware specs before piecing together a door — basically building it around a stave-core. “We get the shape and general outline from the design department, and we bring it to full glory in our shop,” D’Alessandro says. “We engineer it for performance — how it swings, what kind of weight it will have — and make sure it will last a long time. Aesthetics are also very important in the overall design, as is the story of the previous life of the source wood.”
For the reclaimed wood doors shown here, pieces are layered and wrapped over a mahogany stave-core. “This creates a stable door and allows us to veneer the face of the door using the more expensive wood,” D’Alessandro says. “It gives us a better grain match, a better yield on our face material, and the door better resists warping and twisting.”
Exterior doors are given a 5/16-inch-thick veneer, which is much thicker than that used by standard manufacturers, to give the look of a solid door without the risk of using sometimes temperamental solid material. “It’s difficult to tell that our doors are not single-piece solid,” D’Alessandro says, “but they give us the performance our discriminating clients require.”
—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.