The Classical Orders Of Architecture

The Tuscan column (the first of the five classical orders of architecture) is built on a ratio of 1:7. The column width = 1, the column height = 7. All other dimensions are multiples or fractions of this ratio; for example, the base and the capital are each one-half the column width.

  • H1/2 l<
  • H1/2 l<

Use the ratio of the Tuscan order (or any other order) to proportion a door. Divide the height of the door by seven, then use multiples or fractions of the resulting unit to size the panels and frame members. (For an 84-in. door, the unit would be 12 in.)


joints for lighter doors may be a quarter of the thickness.

Sound design combines strength and aesthetics

Working up the proportions of a door's parts from a structural standpoint will go a long way to producing a pleasing design. But without compromising structural integrity there remains much you can do to control the final appearance.

You can change the apparent shape of any door by altering the size, shape, and number of framing members and reinforcing the message with compatible grain patterns. To make an extremely vertical door appear less tall and narrow, for example, try using multiple rails and orienting the grain of the panels horizontally, or make a square door stretch vertically by giving it a number of tall, narrow panels. If you are designing a long, low piece and are concerned it will appear squat and heavy, you can give the piece more lift by dividing the doors so the upper panels are smaller than the lower ones.

To avoid visual confusion, pick out certain elements of the design for emphasis. For example, you might use plain panels in an unusual frame or surround a panel that has striking grain with a straight-grained frame.

Whatever else is required, design in harmony with other woodwork in the room. Even if you don't design in the exact style of the surroundings, try to include elements that will relate, such as elegantly raised panels in a piece destined for a roomful of Colonial furniture or flat panels for a piece that will live with Arts and Crafts furniture. □

Graham Blackburn is a furniture maker and publisher of Blackburn Books ( in Bearsville, N.Y.

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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