How to transform a Victorian internal solid panel door into a Victorian Stained Glass front door
In terms of construction and timber used there is little difference between a Victorian front door and a victorian solid paneled internal door. They are both made using mortice and tennon joints. There is also a popular misconception that these joints were glued, but they were not. Wedges were inserted into the joints which allowed for expansion and contraction.
Similarly the solid bottom or top panels would have been floating panels i.e. again not fixed or glued to allow expansion and contraction. There would have been a 3-5mm expansion gap around each panel not so much on the top or bottom of the panel but to either side (widthways) which would avoid the splitting of panels during expansion or contraction. The addition of heavier, possibly bolection, moulding would often be added to the bottom outside panels to enhance the look, although flush moulding is also acceptable if well sealed in.
A front door would usually be approx. 44mm or 1 ¾ inches thick, whereas the standard depth for an internal door is 35mm or 1 3/8 inches, but there were also (thankfully) many 44mm or 1 ¾ inch internal doors also made. Many reclamation yards convert these doors and in the following article you will find all the information you will need to do this for yourself.
This tutorial is also available as a video slideshow on youtube.com Click here to watch it.