courtesy New Energy Works

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.

Designed by Chuck Smith, principle of New Design Works, the doors of this winter boat storage in Canandaigua Lake, N.Y., are made of new vertical-grain Douglas fir. The left-hand door opens on a hinge, while the three doors on the right turn, pivot, and slide like a collapsing wall. The difficulty here was controlling gapping due to variations in temperature ó upward of 90∫ F in the summer and -20∫ F and below in the winter. A mahogany stave-core helps control the seasonal movement.
courtesy New Energy Works Designed by Chuck Smith, principle of New Design Works, the doors of this winter boat storage in Canandaigua Lake, N.Y., are made of new vertical-grain Douglas fir. The left-hand door opens on a hinge, while the three doors on the right turn, pivot, and slide like a collapsing wall. The difficulty here was controlling gapping due to variations in temperature ó upward of 90∫ F in the summer and -20∫ F and below in the winter. A mahogany stave-core helps control the seasonal movement.

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.”

Made from reclaimed Southern sinker cypress ó sunken logs taken from a river ó the 2º-inch door has a highly energy-efficient assembly that includes a mahogany stave-core, high-performance glass units, and insulated raised panels. When creating the curve on top, NEWwoodworks had to pay close attention to keeping the shape together and the radiuses consistent so that the door fits properly in its frame. The radius runs through both sidelites and the door; “Itís a unit,” division manager Rob DíAlessandro says, “as opposed to the three separate pieces created by a stock manufacturer.”
courtesy New Energy Works Made from reclaimed Southern sinker cypress ó sunken logs taken from a river ó the 2º-inch door has a highly energy-efficient assembly that includes a mahogany stave-core, high-performance glass units, and insulated raised panels. When creating the curve on top, NEWwoodworks had to pay close attention to keeping the shape together and the radiuses consistent so that the door fits properly in its frame. The radius runs through both sidelites and the door; “Itís a unit,” division manager Rob DíAlessandro says, “as opposed to the three separate pieces created by a stock manufacturer.”

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.”

“The curved door makes it graceful,” says Chary who likes using “character wood” with marks from nail holes, worm holes, and other distresses in his “heirloom designs.” “The beauty of the woodís former life comes through,” he says.
courtesy New Energy Works “The curved door makes it graceful,” says Chary who likes using “character wood” with marks from nail holes, worm holes, and other distresses in his “heirloom designs.” “The beauty of the woodís former life comes through,” he says.
Made of antique white oak on a Forest Stewardship Councilñcertified mahogany core and designed by architect Andrew Chary, this curved door will lead into a curved room in a private chapel in the Adirondack Mountain woods. A flat door would protrude into the room.
courtesy New Energy Works Made of antique white oak on a Forest Stewardship Councilñcertified mahogany core and designed by architect Andrew Chary, this curved door will lead into a curved room in a private chapel in the Adirondack Mountain woods. A flat door would protrude into the room.

—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.