Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Small Sample of our Custom Doors

Click the thumbnails to enlarge, and scroll down to see more.

Unlike most Pittsburgh custom door shops, Wilson & McCracken offers complete turn key service. 

We provide: Site analysis and measuring, stylistically appropriate design, (or exact matching of original doors), precision installation (or pre-hanging), superb finishing (both hand brushed and sprayed). 

With custom furniture as a major part of our background, we have the knowledge and sensitivity required to produce custom doors which our customers regularly describe as “Works of Art”.  Our custom doors may feature grain that runs continuously from panel to panel, or are “book-matched” for perfectly mirrored wood grain.  Sometimes the project calls for hand carving, pegged joints, through tenons or different types of wood on either side of the door. 

Wilson & McCracken is well versed in matching existing doors, down to every last detail.  Often, the best compliment is that no one realizes it’s a new door!

If it’s a new custom door or new entry system you’re looking for, the design process can be quite rewarding.  In just a few short meetings and with a few sketches, your idea will materialize as a tangible expression of your taste, in harmony with the existing architecture, and engineered to withstand the elements. 

We make ordering a custom door is easy.  We take the responsibility of doing all the measuring.  Whether you have a contractor, architect, or you’re a do-it-your-selfer, we’ll make the process straight forward.  We’ll meet on site to identify and head off any problem areas, before construction begins.  We’ll provide a full set of large scale working drawings, as well as going over the installation process, in detail, in person, on site.

If your current door is just “under the weather” restoration may be the best solution.  Besides stripping and refinishing, we also make all necessary wood repairs, and can restore or reproduce original hardware and art glass. 

Wilson & McCracken has restored or reproduced nearly every entry door on three notable Pittsburgh churches:  St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Calvary Episcopal Church and First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh. 

Our courteous and professional installation crew regularly receives praise for their precision, timeliness and cleanliness.  Wilson & McCracken’s custom doors provide utility, security and beauty to the buildings they grace.   Whether it’s understated elegance or an eye-popping statement, let Wilson and McCracken build a door for you.

Please scroll down to see a few examples of our work.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cherry and Beveled Glass Entry

Just recently photographed, this Custom Entry was built in 1990.  We have always loved this project, and after so many years were happy to find it has aged beautifully.

Design features:  All the glass lines are continuous both vertically and horizontally.  The sidelights and transom are  leaded beveled glass.  Instead of lead, the doors use wood mullions, to add to the interest.  Each intersection in the wood mullions incorporates a mini- mortise and tenon joint.  Notice the mullions in the corners on a 45 degree angle, that was fun!  The finish is four coats of marine varnish over non-stained cherry.  This is what we mean when we say “We bring the Quality of Furniture to the Scale of Architecture”.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Custom Entry Door with Crotch Mahogany Panels

Crotch Mahogany Entry

Crotch Mahogany Entry

This custom entry door entry was commissioned for a new residence in Pittsburgh Pa.

These doors feature our own “Book-Matched” 1/8” thick veneer which is vacuum pressed over Honduras Mahogany “Stave Laminated Cores”.  This method provides maximum stability and control of grain pattern, and is used when the desire is for the finest possible, Furniture Grade Door.

The door’s overall thickness is 2-1/4”.  All of the mouldings were custom and are particular to this house only.  The crotch mahogany panels are 1-3/4” with a graceful sweeping bevel.  The Custom Millwork surrounding these doors are done in the traditional manor.  The sidelights are composed of a sash resting on a beveled sill.  Beneath the sill, the paneling steps out to provide both structural and visual support, for the beautiful 1/2” thick Starfire® glass with a 1-3/4” bevel.  

The jamb is 1-3/4” at the rim and 3-1/2” thick at the door.  The arched jamb head is vacuum laminated of eight 1/8” veneers, making an amazingly stable arch.  Wilson & McCracken never uses inferior methods of building arched top jambs such as “kerf bending” or laminating “bending plywood”.

All miters are glued and “blind dovetailed” to ensure they will never open up.

Wilson & McCracken provided templates for the stone fabricator, to ensure the arched limestone would produce the proper reveal.

We’d love to build one for you.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Arts and Crafts Mahogany Door

Often doors of this general design have a harsh or stiff look.  To soften, the look of this custom entry door, we incorporated tapered stiles and panels.  Take a close look you’ll see that the stiles (vertical members) taper from 5-1/2” at the bottom to 5” at the top.  The finish is hand brushed marine varnish. 

The lead “came” in the custom glass is also tapered to compliment the door design.  The flower depicted is the morning glory, representative of the indigenous foliage.  Notice even the grain in the hand blown Lamberts glass flows from panel to panel.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Custom Door, in the Tudor Style

At Wilson & McCracken matching original millwork is a daily task.  This custom entry door for a Pittsburgh residence was no exception.  The distinctive angled door top and off-center window was not the only challenge.  We also matched the finish to the other interior millwork and had the hardware restored.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

White Oak Pocket Doors

Rift White Oak Custom Pocket Doors.  The trim was a custom match for this Pittsburgh Arts & Crafts house.  The glass was designed  by Kelly Art Glass and incorporated details from other glass in the house.  The finish is brushed varnish, by Starz Interiors, was done on site for a perfect match with the original woodwork.

Friday, March 5, 2010

First Presbyterian Church “Tunnel Door”


First Presbyterian Church 6th Ave Pittsburgh


Called the “Tunnel Door” this local 1905 Landmark has seen substantial daily use.  The church serves hundreds of wonderful lunches daily, most customers using this set of doors.  After a few break-in attempts and many years of use, a full restoration was in order.  We installed a temporary door for use during the restoration, and the doors were brought to our shop.


The doors were almost completely disassembled, and in doing so we discovered some inherent problems with the original construction methods.  Most glaring was the use of dowel pins to join the hinge stile to the arched top rail.  Using a horizontal slot mortiser we created pockets in which loose tenons could be installed.  Other items on the repair list were to replace the bottom rails and completely restore the iron hardware, cutting away and replacing some sections. Stain and four brushed coats of marine varnish topped off the project.  The “after” photo here was taken on a rainy day, as we re-installed the newly restored doors. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Diamond Miter White Oak Door

What a fun project this was.  The original door gave the basic theme for this new one.  This door was constructed with a laminated mahogany stave core.  It is “veneered” with our own re-sawn 1/8″ thick quarter sawn white oak veneers.  The miter work was particularly challenging.  Each of the miters is “blind fastened” with a dovetail fastener and glued to prevent the joints from opening.  The overall thickness is 3″.  It is shown here before finishing.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Inn On Negley Entry

This entry was a re-work of existing conditions.  The original configuration had double doors, which proved impractical for this Pittsburgh bed and breakfast.  Matching the original glass in the side lights and modifying the opening, created the appearance that the entry always had just a single door.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mahogany Raised Panel Doors

Double doors with custom mouldings made from Honduras Mahogany. The stiles and rails are 2 ¼” thick.  They are veneered with our own re-sawn 1/8″ thick book-matched veneers.  A stave-laminated mahogany core makes this south-facing door extremely stable.  The custom panel mouldings feature blind-fasteners in the miters to keep them from opening. A deep stain and four brushed coats of satin marine varnish make these doors a major improvement over the originals supplied by the builder.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Schiebler Reproduction Door

This was a fun project.  Built as an exact replica of the original Frederick G. Schiebler door, it is actually a constructed as a door with two fixed sash, one with the panel and one with the glass.  It is 2-1/2" thick and constructed of fine grained white oak over a stave laminated mahogany core.  The original lock was restored to working order.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saint Andrews Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh

This was a three phase project which took place over a period of about a year.  There were three sets of doors which needed to be addressed.

Two sets of doors were restorable. The repairs to them included replacing panel boards, re-veneering all the bottom rails, and a couple stiles with 1/8″ veneer.  Restoring the door jambs and all hardware were also part of our scope.

The third of set of doors (shown here) were beyond repair.  With considerable work the existing arched top jamb was successfully restored.  The doors however were built new.  The construction techniques used improved on those used in the original doors.  The doors use our own re-sawn 1/8″ thick white oak veneer laminated over a Honduras Mahogany core.  The finish is 4 coats of high gloss marine varnish, brush applied.

As long term client we also have restored a major window and several pieces of furniture, as well as building a new memorial plaque and a vestment table.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Calvary Episcopal Church, Old Ramp Doors

Calvary Episcopal Church Door Restoration

The 3-3/4″ thick doors are new, with the exception of the carvings which were carefully removed and restored.  The original jamb and transom paneling were stripped and restored.  The iron straps, and pulls were restored and re-used.

Since 2004, Wilson & McCracken has restored, or built new, every exterior door on the church.  We are honored to have played such a visible role in the restoration of this Ralph Adams Cram Landmark Church.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Calvary Episcopal Church Refectory Doors

This Custom Entry was built for the 2004 restoration of Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, Pa.  They are an exact match of the originals which had weathered beyond restoration.  New pulls were cast in bronze to replace the missing originals.  The hinges, iron straps and bronze castings were restored and re-used.

Wilson & McCracken has, since 2004, restored or built all of the exterior doors on the church.  We are honored to have played such a visible role in the restoration of this Ralph Adams Cram Landmark Church.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Arts and Crafts White Oak Door

Arts & Crafts Door Detail

Shown here is a detail of a quartersawn white oak door.  The stiles and rails are 1-3/4″ thick and are veneered with our own re-sawn 1/8″ thick book-matched veneers.   A stave-laminated mahogany core makes this reproduction door extremely stable and gives it a solid feel.  The door was dyed greenish brown and then stained with a reddish pigmented stain. The finish is four coats of marine varnish.  The complex finishing technique renders the door color different in changing light.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Calvary New Wing Doors

These doors were built for the 2004 Restoration of Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, Pa.  The project and doors were photographed for Traditional Building Magazine’s 2004 Religious Properties Awards. The iron straps, bronze castings, and pulls were duplicated. Since 2004, Wilson & McCracken has restored, or built new, every exterior door on the church.  We are honored to have played such a visible role in the restoration of this Ralph Adams Cram Landmark Church.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mahogany Gate Painted Red

This Mahogany gate and jamb has been hand painted red.  Mahogany was used for its durability in exterior use.  We also use Mahogany for a lot of out custom doors.  The panels and rails are designed to shed water, by use of tiny drip edges.  This will help the paint stay fresh longer.