Face to Face With Doors

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By Wayne Hintz, QCP Representative

These days it is by no means common practice for a commercial project’s “millwork subcontractor” to provide and/or install interior doors.  The manufacturing of flush doors (and their stile-and-rail counterparts) has understandably become a separate, highly specialized discipline, practiced with increasing efficiency by large companies operating under an ever-narrowing spectrum of owners.

However, for a variety of reasons, woodwork companies with general product offerings may from time to time find themselves contractually obligated to provide some quantity of interior doors.  When this occurs, that company could opt to produce the doors in-house, perhaps because the number required is small.  Or, maybe a few doors are scattered within a blueprint matched area of decorative wall paneling also within the contract scope.  In this scenario, the woodworker might prefer total physical control of the veneer matching and sequencing as it transitions from the panels to the doors, rather than attempting to coordinate that critical aspect of the job with an outside source.

Whether such doors are manufactured in-house, by an out-source custom lay-up company, or by an actual door manufacturer, it is of course the contractual responsibility of the millworker to ensure that the end product conforms with architectural specifications, and any applicable line items in Section 9 (“Doors”) of the current Architectural Woodwork Standards, Edition 2 (2014) (AWS2).  Especially for those in our readership who may not be called upon frequently to provide AWI-conforming doors, we offer a few comments below (by no means comprehensive) which might offer some orientation to Section 9.  We address only flush doors with transparent finish, and focus on the aspect of the installed door which is often most important to the architect and/or owner: veneer matching, and deviation from “normal grain” which might compromise the overall appearance of the door face.

  • For every “Product” section of the AWS2 (5 through 12), there is information which is located outside of the section itself, but is, nevertheless, important to understanding all aspects comprising “conformance” of that particular product.  Sometimes, the product section will tell you exactly where you can find that additional information.  For example, in Section 9, line item  (page 255) states, “Sheet Products [used as part of a manufactured door] shall conform to the requirements established in Section 4” (“Sheet Goods”).  Even when dealing with only one species of veneer, adding all applicable line items in Section 4 appears to have considerably increased the amount of information associated with Section 9.  In particular, Section 4’s “Summary Tables of Allowable Wood Veneer Face Grade Characteristics” (pages 95-102) are formidable.  However, line Item (page 94) states that “TABLES FOR STAND-ALONE DOOR FACES are in Section 9 [beginning on page 258].” Therefore, when assessing conformance of transparent finish flush door faces, pages 95-102 in Section 4 are irrelevant.  However, other line items of Section 4 may be applicable.
  • While Section 9 pointed us to some relevant information in Section 4, it did not inform us that definitions of most of the terms used in both the Section 4 and Section 9 tables begin on page 93 (Section 4), in the right-hand column.  This very convenient list of centrally located definitions does not appear prior to the Summary Tables in Section 9.  One must flip between the Summary Tables in Section 9, and any required definitions in Section 4.  One could also find these definitions in the AWS Glossary, beginning on page 490.

We conclude by highlighting one of the more conceptually challenging “allowable veneer characteristics” which appears in the Summary Tables beginning on page 258, and that is the line item titled:

“Small Conspicuous Burls & Pin Knots, Combined average number”(under the table’s “Natural Characteristics” category).  This line item addresses a situation in which there are both burls and pin knots present on a door face.  Let’s suppose that our example door is Red Oak, and measures 3/0-7/0 (21 sq. ft).  Let’s further suppose that on its face there are 4 burls and 4 pin knots grouped closely together in a corner of the door.   Using table 9-050 (Red and White Oak) on page 260, we see that for an AA Grade door face, there is 1 burl or Pin Knot allowed for every 4 sq. ft. of door face surface. NOTE: This does not mean that only one burl or knot may physically occupy any given 4 sq. ft. area of the door.  It does not concern us that the burls and knots happen to be physically close to one another.  Our task is to determine:  

  1. What is the number of 4 sq. ft. areas that can fit on a 21 sq. ft. door face?
  2. If we averaged out the combined total number burls and pin knots over the number of 4 sq. ft. areas that can fit on a 21 sq. ft. door face, would that average exceed “1”, which according to the table is the maximum allowable?  Here is the calculation:21 sq. ft. divided by 4 sq. ft. = 5.25.
    8 burls and knots divided by 5.25 areas of 4 sq. ft. = 1.52.

Therefore the average number of burls and knots per 4 sq. ft. unit area is 1.52, which exceeds the 1 burl/knot allowable, and this particular aspect of our example door face is non-conforming.

Pulled from Quality Times – First Quarter – March 12, 2019