This Georgian front door restoration in Derbyshire (a wooden door with solid panels circa 1782) was such a wonderful project to carry out. All of the furniture was restored as well including the folded steel rim lock, the solid polished brass door knob and all of the brass fittings.
A front door in derbyshire
When Kerry asked about replacing her front door I had to refuse, this gorgeous 233 year old door needs to stay. We could make an exact replica and make a lot more money out of the job but that’s not my style, I’ve always believed that if you do what’s right and what you love you’ll be rich anyway. My accountant still needs convincing of this!
So I set off to the Peak District and through the Chatsworth Estate to size up a temporary door, then I’ll come back next Wednesday and take away this door for restoration. I fit a black flush fire door as a temporary door which, having two locks, usually is more secure than the door that I’m taking away. Doors I restore often have old two lever locks or 3 lever bathroom locks! Crazy.
Stripping the door
There are a lot of oak doors in Derbyshire but this isn’t one of them. This wood door needed completely stripping down. We use a heat gun to strip the paint from the door.
As you may see the bolection mouldings around the panels were beyond repair, they had split and shrunk so much that to keep them I would have had to use a trowel to put the filler in the miters. I made up some exactly the same, replaced them and loved every minute of it.
Painting The Door
After the door is stripped right back to the wood any holes get filled, you have to choose the right filler for the hole and I use three different kinds to suit the purpose. A couple of days later I can sand the door down and prime it.
Putting a primer coat of paint on wood will expose holes and blemished that need filling so this process is repeated. Filling and priming alone will take a week if you can work on the door every day. This isn’t always practical of course.
Once you’re ok with the filler you can sand it all down again and start the painting process!
Three undercoats with sanding in between each coat will lead us to two coats of gloss. I use a paint that is slightly flexible as wood moves, two pieces of wood will expand and contract at different rates as well so any cracks will be between the neighbouring pieces of timber. The exterior flexible paint is the best thing on the market for these jobs. You can only do your best.
Genuine Georgian door furniture
Now onto the furniture – all of this must be the original 1792 Georgian front door furniture fittings. Both Kerry and myself were not very confident that I could save it all so we agreed that I would find suitable alternatives where necessary. Better to under-promise and have a happy customer than over-promise and have a disappointed one eh?
The furniture seemed a bit worse for wear so using a whole tin of Brasso and over a full day I polished up all of the brass, stripped the steel hinges (now revealing the engraved manufacturer’s name Baldwin!) and painted the steel lock case with the same charcoal colour used on the outside of the door to contrast against the cream paint inside.
The gorgeous rim lock is going to be stripped and kept, they even still have the key, not sure if you’ll get one cut at Timpsons though! I’ll also open the lock up and grease what’s inside after sanding, scrubbing or polishing the lock’s solid brass workings. My locksmith can make period style new keys for these locks as well so I’ll get a couple of spares.
I was shocked to find that what I assumed would be a steel chain turned out to be solid brass. Scraping and polishing the chain and receiver took me 3 hours to renovate and a lot of elbow grease.
When I fit the door I pin our special draught proofing strips to the frame and here we are, our 233 year old Georgian front door restoration complete with lettered double glazed fanlight.
I’m very proud of the result and when the owner’s friends you on Facebook you know they’ll be in touch if there is a problem, all positive since 2015.
#georgianrestoration #georgiandoor #frontdoor #derbyshire #springfieldhouse #brassfurniture #strippingadoor #farrowball #1782