Handmade with Love in Richmond

Incredible solid wood joinery

Custom made to your specifications.

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Custom Specified

Gepetto will produce shop drawings for your specification of the lites, muntins, panels, crosses and rails. All the decorative elements you wish to include will all be drawn out in proportionally accurate drawings for you to see and sign off on. 

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Cured Wood

Your new door will be milled out from solid cured hardwoods that are less likely to warp.  You can specify Mahogony for your door if you want extra humidity and water rot resistance.

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Hand Made

Handmade by Virginia based craftsmen from the blue ridge hills near Charlottesville VA.  Years of experience doing solid wood joinery for doors that will last generations.

Gepetto Specializes in history

Matthew was born into a carpentry family.

Renovating historic Richmond homes Matt ran into the problem

of not being able to match historic woodworking products in those homes.

So he started learning to produce shop built millwork products for historic homes, theaters, churches, and shops so that character can be kept.


Wood doors made to order in any finish, style, or configuration you can dream up!  We are glad to mix reclaimed barn wood with fresh Mahogany.  You want a solid 3 inch thick slab of Walnut, we can source it and shape it to fit arches.  Our craftsmen practice traditional solid wood square mortise for unmatched strength and natural durability.

Contractor’s Supplier

We are a specialized shop ready for your extensive drawings and accustomed to reading drawing packages.  We are not a contractor ourselves, but supply bonded contractors with shop built doors, windows, trim packages, and complex restoration of stained glass and any other elements you would rather have built in the stability of our shop with the speed of specialized tooling to meet your build out timelines. 

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Historic Church Restoration Wooden Doors & Decorative Elements

Crafting solid wood doors by hand is a labor-intensive and rewarding endeavor that allows artisans to showcase their woodworking skills and create unique, durable pieces of functional art. When building such doors, one of the most crucial aspects to consider is the joinery style, muntins, rails, thresholds, and other design elements. In this exploration, we’ll delve into the world of handcrafted solid wood doors, examining the various combinations of joinery styles and design elements to inspire woodworking enthusiasts and craftsmen alike.

Joinery Styles for Wooden Doors

The joinery style used in a solid wood door significantly impacts its strength, durability, and overall aesthetic. Several traditional joinery techniques can be employed when crafting these doors:

Mortise and Tenon Joinery: This classic joint involves a tenon (a protruding piece of wood) fitting into a corresponding mortise (a cavity) precisely. It’s sturdy and visually appealing, making it a popular choice for handcrafted doors.

Dovetail Joinery: Dovetail joints are often associated with drawers, but they can also be used in doors. The distinctive interlocking design adds both strength and visual interest.

Tongue and Groove Joinery: This straightforward joint involves a tongue (a protrusion) on one board fitting into a groove (a corresponding slot) on another. It’s often used for paneling within the door.

Biscuit Joinery: Biscuit joints use small, football-shaped wooden pieces (biscuits) that fit into slots cut into the boards. This method is efficient and can provide a clean, modern look.

Dowel Joinery: Dowel joints utilize cylindrical wooden rods (dowels) to connect two pieces of wood. This method can be visually appealing when the dowels are exposed on the surface.

Butt Joint: While not the strongest joint, the butt joint involves simply joining the ends of two boards at a right angle. It’s suitable for simpler, rustic door designs.

Box Joint: Box joints are similar to dovetail joints but involve square or rectangular fingers interlocking, creating a visually striking pattern.

Muntins and Rail Design Balance

Muntins and rails are essential design elements in solid wood doors, contributing to their appearance, structure, and functionality.

Vertical Rails: Vertical rails are the vertical sections of the door frame and are often used to divide the door into sections, providing structural support and visual interest.

Horizontal Rails: Horizontal rails serve the same purpose as vertical rails but run horizontally across the door.

Muntins: Muntins are narrow strips of wood that divide the door’s glass panels, if present. They can be arranged in various patterns, such as grids, diamonds, or curved designs, adding an artistic touch to the door.

Stiles: Stiles are the vertical or horizontal edges of the door that frame the panels and hold the door together. They are crucial for the door’s overall stability.

Thresholds and Transoms for Durability

Thresholds and transoms are additional elements that can enhance the beauty and functionality of solid wood doors.

Thresholds: Thresholds are horizontal strips located at the base of the doorframe. They serve both functional and aesthetic purposes, providing a smooth transition between spaces and preventing drafts.

Transoms: Transoms are decorative windows or panels that are often installed above the door. They allow light to enter and can feature intricate designs, stained glass, or simple geometric patterns.

Period Match, Style Match and Design Ideas

Now, let’s explore various combinations of these joinery styles, muntins, rails, thresholds, and other design elements to inspire your handmade solid wood door projects:

Traditional Elegance: Craft a timeless door with mortise and tenon joinery, vertical and horizontal rails, and a raised panel design. Add muntins with leaded glass for a touch of classic elegance.

Rustic Charm: For a cozy cabin or farmhouse feel, use butt joints for a simple construction, and incorporate vertical and horizontal rails. Create a welcoming entrance with a weathered wood threshold.

Arts and Crafts Style: Embrace the Arts and Crafts movement with exposed dowel joinery, square muntins, and stained glass transoms. This design exudes craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Contemporary Simplicity: Achieve a modern look with clean lines and minimalistic design. Opt for biscuit joints, hidden rails, and a sleek, unadorned surface. Consider a frosted glass transom for privacy and style.

Victorian Opulence: Capture the opulence of the Victorian era by combining intricate box joints, curved muntins, and decorative transoms with stained glass in vibrant colors.

Asian-inspired Harmony: Infuse elements of Asian design by incorporating delicate dovetail joinery, minimalist rails, and shoji-style muntins that diffuse light gently.

Transitional Fusion: Merge traditional and contemporary styles with a mix of mortise and tenon joinery, both vertical and horizontal rails, and a combination of clear and frosted glass panels.

Custom Inlays: Elevate your door with custom inlays that showcase your woodworking skills. Create intricate patterns or images using contrasting wood types.

Artistic Glass: Experiment with various types of stained or etched glass for your muntins and transoms. This can transform a simple door into a true work of art.

Hidden Hinges: Conceal the door hinges for a seamless, minimalist appearance. This design choice adds a touch of mystery and elegance to your entryway.

In conclusion, handcrafting solid wood doors provides a canvas for artisans to express their creativity, skill, and passion for woodworking. The combinations of joinery styles, muntins, rails, thresholds, and other design elements are virtually limitless, allowing craftsmen to craft doors that suit any architectural style or personal taste. Whether you’re aiming for traditional elegance, rustic charm, or a fusion of styles, the process of building these doors by hand is a labor of love that results in functional pieces of art that can grace homes for generations to come.

Historic Building Materials Projects:

Accoya Wood Window Builder VA

Accoya Wood Window Builder VA

Windows made of Accoya Acetylated Wood In the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains craftsmanship meets innovation in the form of Solid Wood windows made at Gepetto of Accoya Acetylated Wood.  Your new windows will stand as a testament to old world historic quality and...