“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” …Christopher Reeves (1952-2004) Actor, director, and producer.
Front Doors of Florence Italy
The Front doors of Florence Italy simply caught the attention of the woodworker and carpenter in me. Fortunately, my camera captured these images to share with you.
Front doors can say a lot about a residence and the resident as well. The first photograph reveals a section of a massive front door that could quite possibly date back to the 14th or 15th century. What catches your eye in this image? Is it the number of metal studs that creates a unique design on the stiles, rails, and panels? Could it be the the mitered mortise and tenon joints where the rails meets the stiles? There is a lot for a woodworker to discover in this photo. Notice how the left stile varies from the right side stile. There a vertical line on the left stile underneath the latch meaning a wood strip was added to the exterior door at some point in time.
When looking at the right side rail, notice how it is made with two pieces of wood to give the rail its full width. The lower strip of the rail is cut at a width to coincide with the long point of the mitered joint. We can readily see that the left wood door rail is made from one piece of timber.
The Front doors have wrought iron hardware. Look how the door bolt fits thru five metal rings to secure the entry doors. The door bolt handle is flat so that the bolt can be turned and slid thru the rings. Here we can see how a carpenter used chisels or gouges on the door stiles and mouldings to allow clearance for the door bolt to pass thru the metal rings. There is also a wrought iron door pull to open this massive door. If we look closely it appears that there is a star shaped metal escutcheon between the door pull and the doors panel. Plus, we can also see where the keyhole is along with another smaller hole. Just imagine what the hardware would be on the interior side of the front doors.
The moulding of the front doors was obviously crafted by hand and has mitered joints at the corners. Can you imagine creating a door like this back in the 14th or 15th century. Imagine the tools that woodworkers and carpenters were using. What type of measuring devices did they use? (I don’t think they had tape measures back then.) What type of saws were used back then to cut these timbers? What type of hand planes and moulding planes were used? What type of drill was used to create all the holes for the metal studs? Needless to say, the men who built these front doors way back when were great mechanics and highly talented craftsmen. I would have loved to see them hanging and fitting these front doors as the doors are still functional after all these years.
The front doors of Florence Italy in this photo appear much newer than the previous image. However, we can see similarities in the usage of the metal studs which pierce and decorate the doors. There are many panels in this door which also adds to the overall design. Take a look at the location of the key entry. This is about 32-36 inches above the ground and this clue will give us an idea of the overall height and width of the front doors. Also, we can see the four heavy duty hinges on each side of the doors. Needless to say, these hinges are supporting a lot of weight when we take into consideration the amount of wood and the number of metal studs being held.
There is something incredibly unique about these front doors pictured. Can you see it? These are actually bi-fold doors. There are four vertical sections. There are hinges on the backside of the doors that allow for the doors to fold. If we look at the bottoms of the doors, we will notice four individual pieces of wood that allow for the folding of the the four vertical sections of the doors. Again, this is another wonderful example of fine woodworking skills and advanced carpentry craftsmanship.
Feel free to share your thoughts, insights, and questions.