Saturday, November 3, 2012

Progress photos - solid wood front door

Our beautiful front door arrived this week and we were thrilled to see how it looked after installation. 

One of the things that we were most concerned about was the potential for moisture absorption and warping.  Since we're well into the rainy season here in Seattle, we wanted to make sure that the door got a coat of Benite as soon as possible. 

From Daly's Paint:

Benite Wood Conditioner

A Little History of Benite...

BENITE. Now there's a name for you! Benite was a magic elixir that Walter J. Daly (our founding father) knew about in Texas and brought it with him to the great Northwest. Eventually he got the right to distribute BENITE here on the coast. Daly's eventually discovered that the founders for BENJAMIN CHEMICAL Company had a falling out and that we were their sole customer! By the late 1960's the survivor of the partnership in Michigan, Mr. St. Johns, decided he was too old to fool around with this stuff and wanted out. We were now over a barrel. A BENITE Barrel. In order to continue with it we'd have to start making it ourselves and buy the rights to it for CASH - A LOT OF IT!

By this time we'd taken Benite a bit further and developed BenMatte, known at that time as a "Modern Danish Oil Finish" (No reference to Tung Oil yet.) Plus our Benite stain line and everything else Herb, in our own factory, could think of tossing BENITE into.

Anyway, Mr. St. Johns told us he'd send us the formula, the vats, and himself too, to help us set up the process of making Benite at Daly's. Trouble is, his vats were rusted and he was too...he never showed up.

Daly's -- or better yet Herb was on his own for that first batch.

Here's what happened:

By 8:00p.m. that July day in 1969 when Herb made the first batch, the odor had crept up the alley to the street. The stuff had been in the cooker since 2:00 p.m. or so and it was the worst smell ever. Jim Daly went home for diner at 6:30 and on his way back he could smell this unusual odor for about a mile. As he got to the corner of 36th and Stone (where the store and factory are located), he noticed smoke coming out of the old building thinking for sure that "THAT WAS IT!" Turns out the problem was in the gas jets not being large enough, preventing the 100 gallons or so from heating fast enough to reach a certain critical temp. Poor Herb, but by the next couple of batches he could get to the critical temp in a couple of hours or so, and not produce quite so much smoke in the process.

In later batches, the odor was bad enough so that people couldn't work in the office. You see, at that time the office was in an old building right above the Benite Cooker. We moved the office in 1970. Did our Benite batches have anything to do with the move???

Needless to say, Herb had perfected the Benite recipe, and we no longer alarm anyone on our street. At least, not that we are aware of!

With the Benite now protecting our front door, we can rest easy until we pick a color of stain for the front door, side panels and tongue and groove ceiling on the front porch. 

Here are a few pics of our door, from Simpson Door

Solid wood 8 foot fir door, from Simpson Door Company

Close up of our Simpson fir door

Beautiful wood grain

View of the door and side lights from the interior

Door specs

Curious as to why we chose a Simpson front door?  Not only is Simpson a local Pacific Northwest company, but here's some interesting historical information for you, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Simpson Company is also notable for the construction and operations of its own logging railroad known as the Simpson Railroad. It is one of the last logging railroad operations in the continental United States and dates back some 120 years. The railroad was once extensive and branched out into several hundred miles of forestland in the Olympic Peninsula but is now limited to less than fifteen miles of operational track. The rail line was used not only to transport lumber but also as a transportation network to remote logging camps and towns. Construction of the railroad line was an engineering feat as demonstrated by the large and complex bridges built to span gorges as well as the mountainous terrain the railroad traveled through. Perhaps the most notable landmarks of the now mostly abandoned line are the Vance Creek Bridge and the High Steel Bridge. Both bridges were built in 1929 and in use until the 1950s when the line was abandoned. The bridges still stand with the High Steel Bridge still in use as a forest road. The High Steel Bridge also has the distinction of being one of the tallest rail bridges in the United States and has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

A picture taken in the 1940s of the Vance Creek Bridge with a Simpson train

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