Estate Millwork is one of the few french door builders left in America that uses traditional french joinery techniques for building or doors. Other French door manufactures use stave cores -- we at Estate Millwork use solid wood. Others use dowling and screws, we use traditional mortise and tenon joints, hand jointed solid stiles and a delightful array of custom sticking profiles.
True Divided Lights -- Only the Best
We do not make our french doors cheaply, although our doors are very affordably priced for the elegant quality and craftsmanship that we offer. The trend lately has been to use faux mullions, insulated glass sheets and veneers to make a cheap doors. We still make doors in the pre-war tradition: Rich and deep sticking profiles, solid vertical grain hardwoods that have been lovingly cured in our own kilns. Each pane or "lite" is real and individual. Each mullion and muntin is carefully fitted with old world cope and stick joints. You can tell our doors from 50 feet away because they have rich texture, beautiful shadow lines and moulding, and the wonderful craftsmanship that distinguishes an heirloom quality door, from a box-store or mass producer
Our true divided light doors are ideal for both interior and exterior applications. We can offer them with tempered glass, beveled glass, or mission and georgian mosaic sticking. These doors are top-of-the-line, and we can craft them at any size, with any glass placement, and you can quickly explore are very affordable pricing using our online design tools. But if you can not create the exact custom french door that you want, please contact us via email or phone for expert personal assistance.
Wooden Doors Fabricated from Premium Lumber Grades
Stain Grade Lumber
For our louvered door products ordered in stain grade, we use FAS clear hardwood grades for both domestic and imported lumber. For projects requiring environmentally sensitive grades, we also offer FSC certification when required. We procure all of our lumber electronically, and order only the FAS clear grades. Additionally, we pre-select and inspect each shipment of lumber, and moisture check to insure that it meets our 8% standard. And as part of our routine quality process, each board from a unit of lumber is inspected as part of our quality louvered door manufacturing process.
Paint Grade Lumber
Even our economical paint grade louvered doors are manufactured from FAS grade lumber. The FAS specification controls the type of defects that are permitted, including knots, which we exclude from our paint grade products. However, features that would be considered defects in stain grade products -- color streaks, mineral discoloration etc, are not pertinent in paint grade. Typically, we use Poplar and occasionally Oak and Soft Maple for our paint grade products.
Color and Grain Matching
For high end louvered doors, we can offer a pre-selection service whereby all of the lumber required for the entire louvered door job is picked, inspected, and designated to be assembled as a unit at one time, which often results in boards from the same tree ending up in the same door for maximum consistency. When specified we can also book match raised panels and flat panels when used in our louvered doors.
Milling and Sawing Specifications
For our highly discriminating louvered door customers, we can offer our various hardwood species to be sawn in certain way, to emphasize a desirable feature of the wood. If required, the door material can be specified as flat-sawn, quarter-sawn, rift-sawn or ribbon sawn. Talk with your Estate Millwork louvered door specialist to inquire about adding these specifications to your order.
Top Quality and Elegant Custom Wood Doors
Estate Millwork creates each custom wood door from your detailed specifications. We use premium materials, state of the art equipment, and an experienced, quality oriented staff to produce our doors. We follow each of the steps below to produce the finest wooden doors on the market.
Hand Selection and Inspection of Materials
Our lumber procurement process is computer driven so that we are sure to be getting the best possible price on the highest quality materials. Once your order is "green-lighted" for production in our plant, the lumber demand is compared to our shop inventory and automatic replenishment orders are placed if necessary. When production begins on each custom door, the material is hand selected and the best of our high quality stock is used for the solid stiles of the doors. Louvers and rails are generally selected from the same lot of material to afford the best match, within the natural variation of hardwoods.
Precision Ripping of Rails and Stiles
We minimize the costs of our high quality products by maximizing the yield on the rough lumber. Once the lumber of the appropriate thickness has been selected, it is passed through our ripping department where a specialized gang rip saw is used to get the maximum yield from each board. Our operators are trained to reject defective materials either during the selection process or during the sawing process, as some defects are latent and are not visible until the board is "opened up".
Hand Jointing of All Door Components
The next step is to hand joint each rough sawn board to get a true flat edge, and to relieve any internal stress in the solid wood. This is a step that is skipped by many modern door manufactures, but one that we believe is so important that we honor the tradition. Our most skilled craftsmen in the plant are responsible for this function which requires judgement, precision and experience. Lower quality door manufacturers skip this step, or use particle cores and veneers to fake the look of a real door. But by hand jointing each board, we insure that every other step in the process is operating on a flat, smooth board, and that the door will remain stable for its lifetime.
Precision moulding of all door components
Once the rails and stiles have been ripped to width and jointed on one face, we process them through a 5 headed moulder which reduces the wooden door components (rails, stiles, louvers) to their final cross sectional dimensions and profiles. We offer 3 stock louver sizes, but can customize them to any other size or profile. Again, at this phase, parts are inspected for defects to make sure that the final piece meets our high standards
Precision CNC Machining of Mortises, Tenons and Louver Slots
Because we do not cut corners, we also use old fashioned, but time tested joinery. Our doors are held together with true mortise and tenon joints, rather than the cheaper, less time consuming and lower quality options of dowels, screws, or biscuits. Our mortise and tenon joints are so precise and tight fitting that gluing the doors is not even necessary, they hold themselves together. Our CNC eqiupment is accurate to .001 inch, and is automatically programmed by our advanced plant management system that monitors your order as it proceeds through each department. Our CNC operators are highly skilled and go through a year of specialized on the job training where they learn the safe operation of the equipment, and advanced techniques like radius and pattern machining.
Hand Assembly by Experienced Craftsmen
Once all of the custom door parts are completely machined, they are pre-sanded and then hand assembled by a team of meticulous craftsmen. On fixed louver doors, the louvers are hand beveled and inserted into the deep seat louver mortises in the stiles, and then the entire door is clamped in a clamping system while the pegs are drilled into the tenons. Operable Louver doors are assembled in a similar fashion, where each louver is set in a nylon bushing for maximum life, and a custom louver rod is attached to the louvers to give trouble free, friction free operation for many years.
Machine Sanding to tolerance
Once the door has been completely assembled, it goes through our machine sanding department -- giant sanders big enough to sand garage doors are used for multiple passes to bring the surfaces to their final dimensions and grit. In most cases our doors are machine sanded to 150 which removes most visible roughness.
The final step in our process is the hand sanding of the doors to break edges, and to finish sand areas that are not sanded by the machine process. Our finishers are the best in the business and during this phase, they carefully inspect the finished product and either prepare it for paint or stain, or carefully pack the door for shipment.
Red Oak, like most of the North American Oaks, is very hearty and grows quite large, it is a very dense hardwood with a medium, open-pored texture. It has a prominent grain stripe that is straight and can be coarser than White Oak when surfaced. Red Oak is a strong species that bends rather well due to its open grain structure, but it can dull cutting edges rapidly, so sharp tools are a necessity to prevent splintering.
It should be noted that due to its high level of tannins, Red Oak will corrode steel fasteners; this can then cause staining of the wood over time. Because of open pores and grain, Red Oak will finish well, but a uniform surface can sometimes be hard to obtain without a pore filler.
Handcrafted with Sustainably Harvested Lumber
At Estate Millwork we air dry much of our lumber, and after air drying we finish drying in low wattage dehumidification kilns.
Every piece of wood we purchase is used to the fullest on products, at Estate Millwork we have a very high yield ratio of 94 percent due to the use of automated saws and optimizing software. The remainimg 6 percent which is mostly sawdust and chips are either burned to heat our plant or send to local cattle farmers for bedding and composting.
Nothing is wasted. Some of Appalachian lumber we use comes from Amish farmers in our county who harvest with horses instead of mechanized equipment, and do our rough sawing on 1920s sawmills that are also extremely low input compared to larger commercial sawmills of today. All of our imported lumber is plantation grown, and not harvested from natural forests.
To learn more about our sustainability practices click here