Hand Crafted Doors

Welcome
custom heart pine door

Welcome to Hand Crafted Doors.  Steve Mitchell hand crafts custom designed interior and exteriors doors made from historic antique heart pine and cypress woods.  A master craftsman and artisan, Mitchell designs and creates unique one-of-a-kind doors using mortise and tenon joints along with top of the line door hardware and custom finishes. Working in conjunction with stained glass artists and wrought-iron metal fabricators, a complete “work-of-art” door can be delivered and installed at your home or construction job site.  

The Story of Historic Heart Pine

map of heart pine forestsWhen the colonists first explored America they found a vast forest of Southern Longleaf Pine stretching in a belt 150 miles wide along the Atlantic Coast from southeastern Virginia, down into Florida, and along the Gulf of Mexico up into east Texas.  The millions of acres of Longleaf Pine forests formed a highly efficient ecosystem enabling the trees to live for hundreds of years and to grow to tremendous heights and diameters.

 

Longleaf Pine (also known as Heart Pine) was first valued as a source of tar, pitch, turpentine and rosin and was exported to England as naval stores. Heart pine is the center of a pine tree where the wood has "died", hardened and ceased to pass nutrients up the tree. It is not only harder than the sap wood, but generally doesn't move as much in drying. It dries to a much darker color than the sapwood.

 

Heavy exploitation of virgin Longleaf Pine began after the American Revolution and intensified with the development of railroads in the late 1800s.  The timbers were a key building material during the industrial revolution and by 1930 virtually all of the Longleaf Pine old growth had been cut and used to build the factories, warehouses and terminals of industrial America.

 

Today, only 4% of the original Longleaf Pine ecosystem remains and virtually all of its second growth with fewer than 1,000 acres of virgin longleaf pine forests timber are still standing.  What was once an important component of our environment no longer exists except in the century-old structures Longleaf Pine timbers helped to build. 

 

Many wood products sold today as Heart Pine are not actually antique Heart Pine. Some companies sell Southern Yellow Pine, Loblolly, Shortleaf, Caribbean, Thailand Pitch, Slash or a combination and call it Heart Pine. Although they are pine and they have some heart wood, antique Heart Pine, especially the recovered and recycled wood from southern cotton mills, is stronger, more durable, more stable and has a richer patina and color.

Mitchell’s Source of Heart Pine

Custom Heart Pine doors designed  and hand crafted by Steve Mitchell use only cotton mill with heart pine woodantique Heart Pine wood reclaimed and recycled from cotton mills and other structures built over 100 years ago. Large salvaged uncut beams are milled salvaged heart pine wooddown and cut into planks up to 12” wide. 

 

Steve Mitchell is a member of The Georgia Trust, an organization dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of Georgia's diverse historic resources and the Preservation Directory of Oregon.

Hand Crafted Doors, c/o Steve Mitchell, PO Box 658, Milledgeville, GA 31059

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