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Thread: Replacing windows in our log cabin with French doors

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
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    Replacing windows in our log cabin with French doors

    (part 1 of 5)

    This is a project that I worked on earlier this summer. I will document progress here using extracts from my weekly journal.

    2011, June 12:

    A few Years ago, my brother-in-law Jeff Barker suggested that I replace the set of windows in the middle of the north wall of the cabin at Pellow’s Camp with French doors. Here is a marked up photo showing where the doors would go:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 01 -Place where I plan to put French doors in cabin.JPG 
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    I have decided to go along with Jeff’s suggestion. The main reason is that this will require fewersteps which will be much easier for my wife Margaret who is experiencing mobility problems. The other thing is that it will encourage us to use this part of the island.

    Yesterday, I ordered two, mostly glass, fir exterior doors from Madawaska doors. Here is a photo of a door similar to the ones that I ordered

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Name:	French doors for cabin 02 -Madawaska Door.jpg 
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    A I ordered just the doors, so it will be necessary to build the frame on the spot. It is going to be at least three weeks before the doors are ready. I am counting on them being available in four weeks. To that end, I have a suggested to Jeff that he come with me to camp to work off the 3.5 days that he owes me (Jeff and I have had a work exchange arrangment going for about 30 years).

    As I said, I am counting on the doors being ready, but even if they are late, I would like to go to the island when planned. Knowing the exact size of the doors, we could cut out the window and logs below it, build the frame, and make a small landing and steps (and probably a ramp).


    2011, July 3:

    I picked up my French doors in Barry's Bay this week on my way back to Toronto from Ottawa:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 03 -Picking up doors in my trailer at Madawaska Doors -small.JPG 
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    The Madawaska Valley is gorgeous and I very much enjoyed to trip. It ended up being only 60 kilometres longer than the 416 to 401 to home route.


    2011, July 10:

    My other project this week was the French doors for the cabin. I didn’t start that until Thursday and am still not quite finished. I need to finish tomorrow morning and early afternoon because I want to get the trailer mostly packed by tomorrow night.

    The first (and very tedious) step was to place masking tape on both sides of 30 windows:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 04 -Placing masking tape on both sides of all windows -small.JPG 
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    The manufacturer claims that each door should have a minimum of four hinges. I have never attached a door with four hinges before but, then again, I have never paid $700 for a single door before either. I decided to use stainless steel hinges and screws.

    The Carey router jig that I use to cut door hinges mortises is intended for use with three hinge doors, but I easily figured out how to adapt it for four hinge use:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 05 -Using Carey router  jig to cut hinge mortises (4 per door) -small.JPG 
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    I temporarily installed the hinges using regular screws –because I have found stainless steel screws sometimes break off when driven into new holes, even when pre-drilled. I will use stainless steel screws when actually mounting the doors.

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Name:	French doors for cabin 06 -Satinless steel hinges temporaily installed using regular steel screw.JPG 
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    This was followed by a lot of sanding. The molding hand sanded using Lee Valley profiles and Norton 150 paper. The rails and styles machine sanded to 220 with Festool Duplex linear sander:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 07 -Molding hand sanded using Lee Valley profiles and Norton 150 paper -R.JPG 
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    A coat of Varathane oil-based Pecan satin was applied in order to add a bit more colour:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 08 -A bit of colour added with Varethane Pecan stain -small.JPG 
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    2011, July 11:

    This morning, I put a coat of spar urethane on the doors:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 09 -A coat of Spar Urethane was applied -small.JPG 
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    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 09-21-2011 at 06:22 PM.
    Cheers, Frank

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
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    (part 2 of 5)

    2011, July 15:

    My brother-in-law Jeff and I arrived at Pellow's Camp yesterday, performed all the opening-for-the-season chores and got to bed early in order to be up and working before 7:00 this morning. It didn’t take long to remove the window. Here, Jeff is enjoying a coffee having just removed the interior window trim:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 10 -Jeff removed the interior window trim -small.JPG 
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    Here, Jeff is enjoying another coffee after the frame has been removed:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 12 -Jeff enjoying a coffee after the window frame has been removed -small.JPG 
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    About 8:30 we went in to Hearst and bought several things returning to the island a little before noon. The first job after lunch was to cut out the logs below the window. The easiest and most accurate way to do this was with a hand saw:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	French doors for cabin 13 -Sawing logs below the window -1 -small.JPG 
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Name:	French doors for cabin 14 -Sawing logs below the window -2 -small.JPG 
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    Here is the view looking out the opening after the logs have been removed:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 15 -The logs below the window have been removed -small.JPG 
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    There was a problem. The doors were 80 inches high and the opening was only 73.25 inches high. Even if we cut out the entire log above the opening we would only increase the size to 78.5 inches. Obviously the doors had to be shortened –even thought the instructions from Madawaska Doors were that they should not be. Not only did we need room for the doors, but we needed to build a door frame to fit into the opening as well. My decision was to cut 5 inches off the doors and to make the door frame out of 1 inch (really 1 inch) thick spruce. It is probable that one of the doors will also need to be a little bit narrower as well, but I will not do that until we have hung both doors from the frame. The first thing to do was to cut out enough of the log above the opening to make all this work. The best way to do this accurately was to attach a Festool guide rail in the appropriate position and make the horizontal plunge cut with my TS75 saw:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	French doors for cabin 16 -Part of the log above the window also need to be cut.  Frank used Fes.JPG 
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    I found it harder than I expected to make the cut so, part way into it, I reversed the rail and, as well, built myself some more secure and less slippery footing:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 17 -Part way through the cut, I reversed the position of the rail on the .JPG 
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    With that arrangement, I quickly completed the cut. That job finished, Jeff used a handsaw to cut up to the kerf in the log above the window then I smoothed out the cut with a Festool Rotex 150 sander:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 18 -Jeff using handsaw to cut up to the kerf in the log that used to be a.JPG 
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Name:	French doors for cabin 19 -Frank cleaning up the cut in the log above the window with a Festool .JPG 
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    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 09-20-2011 at 02:18 AM.
    Cheers, Frank

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
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    (part 3 of 5)

    2011, July 15 (continued):

    It became obvious that some trees had to go to improve the view (and to make way for the porch). Jeff cut down a few:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 20 -Jeff removed some trees to improve the view -small.JPG 
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    and I will remove more later in the summer.

    I used the actual doors to test the width of the opening:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	French doors for cabin 21 -Testing the doors for width fit -small.JPG 
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    One part of this project is to make sure that we install the doors so that water does not leak in. The set of windows that we are replacing has leaked since I installed them 36 years ago. Much of the floor near the opening is rotten and/or wet as a result. I trimmed some of this away using my Festool guide rail and plunge saw but Jeff preferred to use my old Makita circular saw:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 22 -Removing water damaged floor boards -1 -small.JPG 
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Name:	French doors for cabin 23 -Removing water damaged floor boards -2 -small.JPG 
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    For the most part, only the pine flooring was damaged, but there was one spot where we decided to replace some of the underlying plywood. I plan to replace the pine flooring near the door with stone, slate, or something similar.

    Here is the view looking out the hole in the wall at the end of Friday -the first day of work:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	French doors for cabin 24 - Looking out the hole in the wall at the end of the first day of work.JPG 
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    2011, July 16:

    My objectives on Saturday were to, build a door frame, do whatever it took the waterproof the opening and to get one door cut and hung.

    The roof overhang immediately above the problematic windows was 18 inches so it was never clear to me just how the water was getting in. Upon examination, Jeff and I agreed that the most likely way was is a strong windy rain from the north caused water to move along the channels between the logs and down the side of the frame onto the floor below. The same thing as not happened in the identical window on the south side of the cabin and that widow does not experience strong wind-driven rain. We agreed that wrapping a strip of copper around the outside corner of the opening with roofing tar squeezed behind it would likely prevent the leaking:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 25 -A strip if copper was nailed around the corner and roofing tar was sp.JPG 
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    Here is photo of the job site taken part way through the day after the door frame has been built and installed:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 26 -The job site from outside part way through the second day of work -sm.JPG 
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    That done, I cut the 2 inches off the top of a door and 3 inches off the bottom. Here jeff is making sure that the cut-off door will fit:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 27 -Jeff trying a cut door for size -small.JPG 
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    It was somewhat of a challenge to cut the hinge mortises into the door frame. Because the doors were now shorter than 80 inches, I couldn’t use the Carey jig as I had set it up for the mortises in the doors. I had to take the jig apart and use one of the plastic parts and even that part could only fit in place for the middle two mortises. The top and bottom mortises were cut the “old” way with a chisel. I doubt that I could have done this without help. Jeff held the door with hinges in place while I marked the mortise positions by tracing round the hinges. Here is a photo of the plastic template in place for one mortise and a chisel being used to cut the top mortise:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	French doors for cabin 29 -Because the doors were shorter the template could only fit for the mi.JPG 
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    And, by the end of the day’s work, one door had been hung:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 28 -One door in place at the end of day 2 -small.JPG 
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    I decided to have the doors swing out, in order to let them be opened wide and not take up floor or wall space in the cabin’s somewhat crowded main room. I will make a screened frame which drops from the ceiling to use when the bugs are bad. In order to allow the door to swing out, it was necessary to cut part of the fascia (and this can be seen in later photos).
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 09-20-2011 at 02:54 AM.
    Cheers, Frank

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
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    (part 4 of 5)

    2011, July 17:

    We hung the second door and, as expected, the doors overlap slightly:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	French doors for cabin 30 -Two doors installed but overlapping at joint -small.JPG 
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    I pieced together the trim that we had removed from both the inside and outside of the window frame around the outside of the door frame.

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Name:	French doors for cabin 31 -Exterior trim in place at end of day 3 -small.JPG 
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    Because of log movement, the frame can only be attached to one log on the right of the doors and one log on the left. So (as with all the other doors and windows in the cabin) we are relying mostly on the "sandwich" formed by the inside and outside trim to hold the frame in place.


    2011, July 18:

    My sister Christine and my niece Jessica (Jeff's wife and daugter) were scheduled to arrive late in the afternoon today, so before 15:00, Jeff and I finished the bulk of the work on the doors.

    I temporarily removed the east door and trimmed approximately 1 centimeter off the interior side. The cut was slightly wider at the top than the bottom in order to make the gap between the two doors (about 3 milimetres) uniform.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	French doors for cabin 32 -One centimetre was trimmed off the side of one door -small.JPG 
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    There were a couple of places on the top of each of the cut=off doors where there were small gaps that I filled with autobody filler:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 33 -Top edges of the cut-off doors had holes that were filled with auto-b.JPG 
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    I cleaned up some old cedar quarter round with a special profile on my Festool linear sander:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 34 -Using special profile pad on Festool linear sander to clean up old qu.JPG 
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    then nailed it on the top and sides of the door frame on the interior. Jeff filled all the gaps around the frame with expandable spray foam and that more or less completed this phase of the job. Here is a picture taken on Tuesday of the two of us outside in front of the doors that we installed:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 35 -Jeff and Frank in front of the installed doors -1 -small.JPG 
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    And here I am with Christine and her dog Izzy:

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Name:	Christine, Izzy, and Frank in front of new doors -1 -small.JPG 
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    2011, July 26:

    Mid-afternoon today, I left camp to return to Toronto for a week's stay. At he end of the work-day on, I locked away a few things in the Shed and locked up the cabin. The new doors were “locked” by screwing these boards to the door sill with black (#12) Robertson screws:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 36 -Doors without hardware secured during my one week absence -small.JPG 
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    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 09-20-2011 at 11:26 PM.
    Cheers, Frank

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    (part 5 of 5)

    2011, August 21

    This afternoon, I finally got around to lightly sanding the new doors then applying a second coat of Spar Urethane. This dried fairly quickly so I started to remove the masking tape. I was concerned that the tape would be hard to remove since it had been on the widows for about a month and a half and that concern proved to be well founded. It took about three hours to remove about sixty percent of the tape and a whole lot of residue was left behind –which I am certain will be difficult to remove.


    2011, September 3:

    My brother John and our friend Chris Lewis arrived here a couple of days ago for a week's stay.

    After getting here on Thursday, I experimented with various ways of removing the residue of the masking tape from the windows in the new French doors. This included Varsol, cooking oil, soap and water, and a sharp chisel. None of them worked. Friday, I purchased a new razor blade holder along with some blades in town and Chris found that they work well. He finished one door on Friday and the other one on Saturday.

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Name:	Chris cleaning the residue off the windows in the new doors using a razor blade (in a holder) -s.JPG 
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    2011, September 6:

    I painted the side trim for the new doors both inside and outside:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	French doors for cabin 39 -Painting the rest of the exterior trim -small.JPG 
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ID:	60066 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	French doors for cabin 40 -Painting the rest of the interior trim -small.JPG 
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    2011, September 7:

    The final job that I got around to was the most difficult of the day –taking a little over two hours. The job was to install a bolt at the inside bottom edge of one of the doors that can be inserted into a hole in the door sill. It proved to be a complicated mortising job and I am not proud of the job that I did:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	French doors for cabin 41 -Chiselling out a mortise for the door floor bolt -small.JPG 
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    2011, September 8:

    This has been my last full day here in 2011. Here is photo of the doors as I left them:

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Name:	French doors for cabin 42 -The doors as they were at the end of the summer of 2011 -small.JPG 
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    Observe that there is also a porch and that the log walls of the cabin have been refinished, but those are subjects of other threads.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 09-20-2011 at 11:36 PM.
    Cheers, Frank

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Amherst, New Hampshire
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    Wow, you sure stay busy Frank
    Faith, Hope & Charity

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