Thursday, May 7, 2015

Preston carpenter decoding pioneer secrets to OSA's front door

Wes Dryden points to the different layers of finishes on the original door frame. It appears that the first finish was faux graining, commonly used by Mormon pioneers to make softwood structures appear to be hardwood. It then appears the door was painted a solid color, and re-grained with a new faux graining. This was done in the 80s under the direction of Newell Hart.
Preston carpenter decoding pioneer secrets to OSA's front door


            After painstaking deconstruction of the historic Oneida Stake Academy building’s front door, local carpentry artisan, Wes Dryden, has been able to determine a few of its secrets.
            Originally, he thought the door’s frame was made from long-length boards that were bent into shape. Not so. They were made from several smaller pieces of wood, cut to fit a curved opening left by stone masons as they constructed the front of the building.
            And, although power tools were not used at anytime during the original construction of the building, Dryden has uncovered clues that at least some of the interior woodwork was cut on a mechanized saw over a century ago.
            “See these indentations on the backs of the molding? That is how boards are moved along an assembly line,” he said. Research seems to indicate hat the closest mill would have been in Brigham City, so it is possible the molding was made there.
            According to the history of Brigham City, there was a planing mill and carpentry department of the Brigham City Mercantile and Manufacturing Association (Brigham City Co-op). This association was initially started in an effort to comply with the Territorial Incorporation Act of 1870. Almost every resident of the community was involved in some way.
            Dryden began working on the door last fall, after making an analysis of the door before bidding its restoration. Board members of the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation had determined from old photographs, that the doors hanging on the building during the last several decades are not original. The small windows at their top were the clue, as they did not appear in the earliest photos of the building.
            Dryden said the wood used by the pioneers for the door he took down, was pine, painted to look like a hardwood – a practice known as graining, which was commonly applied by Mormon pioneers to enhance the beauty of the buildings they were constructing. Artists using feathers, cheesecloth, paintbrushes, paint and washes would reproduce the look of hardwoods, marble or leather on the soft pine that was prevalent in the local forests.
            Dryden is making the door to appear is the pioneers had hoped. He has duplicated the millwork on it, and expects to install the replicated door and door frame in May.

A view of the OSA's door in 1920.

The current view of the academy's doorway. The red door has been hanging in the doorway for many years. It will be replaced with a replica of the original door design.

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