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Make Do and Mend - Repairing Joinery

Repairing Wooden Doors


Although the “Make do and Mend” campaign between 1929 - 1945 was used to bridge the cap in material shortages for clothing it also applies to some joinery solutions we offer our clients. The wooden french doors shown above are a great example of a situation of when making do and mending is viable.


It’s clear to see the old timber french doors have totally failed. The bottom rail has fallen out and the glass slipped down. How the glass didn’t break is beyond me!


Now, it would have been possible to repair the doors, but there is always a difficult balance to strike. Each case is different and here it was easier to make a new pair of wooden french doors in softwood to fit within the existing frame. We were able to reuse the existing glass and ironmongery with the caveat that if we broke the glass the client would need to pay extra. It’s just a very difficult process to remove old glass without breaking it.


We were lucky in this case that the door frame was in reasonable condition and made from hardwood. The aim is that once these softwood doors have completely degraded it’ll be time for a new door and frame. Below is the completed job.

New Softwood Doors handmade in Devon
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Here are some of the things we consider before engaging with this type of work;


  • Is the job close to our workshop? For us to consider this work a job can’t be any further than a 30 minute drive. The reason for this is that small repair jobs are low value and excessive travel increases the cost to a level that means we can’t offer the service at a reasonable cost. If you live further away than 30 minutes from our workshop we recommend you find a carpenter or joiner in your local area.
  • Is a new item of joinery cheaper? If we can make a new item of joinery for the same or not much more than the repair it’s just not viable to repair and it’s time to replace. With a new item of joinery you will have options on improving insulation, durability and security.
  • Is the property listed or in a conservation area? If the joinery is within a listed building or conservation area more effort should be taken to retain the original woodwork. Only when it is not reasonable to repair should the relevant permissions be sought for a like-for-like replacement to ensure the original features are retained. You can read more details about our conservation area joinery repairs here.


One of the things we enjoy the most about our joinery business is we can offer a solution or advice that’s right for the client and their situation. We don’t need to “sell”, we just have to look at the needs of our client and put forward a proposal for them to consider. This could be a partial repair such as this, a security window made to comply with the relevant regulations, a bespoke design or heritage work.


If this job seems like it’s something we can help you with, please give us a call on 01769 572134 or send us a message through our contacts page.