custom door grips

Irrepressible nature and it's formidable roots

We have just returned from Quebec and wanted to share some of the non-architectural gems from the province’s national parks.

In the previous email we focused on the grandeur of the mountains and the power and beauty of Jacques-Cartier river, here we focus on the irrepressible trees that claim their space on this varied terrain.
The image below shows how the roots of a Birch tree forced their way through granite boulders and encapsulated this rock to make a weighty root bulb.

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Aspen and birch tree roots intertwine to create natural step edges to this path made by nature and refined by animals including the human variety.

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When visiting Kauai in December 2016 we noted how the banyan tree acts in a similar way to carve out a habitat to support it’s limbs.

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The unruly entwined roots of the Beech trees of wind-swept Cornwall were the source of inspiration for the Hedgerow tree which is the signature piece in this organic collection of door handles. The handle pattern was carved in basswood in 4 sections with gnarled limbs and deep crevice forming the root bulb of this piece. The handle is formidable, cast with 8lbs of bronze and standing 19” high.

How the Handing of A Door Can Affect the Aesthetics of Your Door Pull

How the handing of a door can affect the aesthetics of your door pull.

The handing of a door is not something you would necessarily consider when ordering your door pull or grip especially when they are to be mounted as a pair of back to back handles, but the handing does impact the security and beauty of the door handle set.

How to determine the handing of your door?

This is not hard, simply look at your door from the outside, if the hinges are on the right then your door is right handed and for a pair of back to back handles this would mean the handle on the outside would be right and left on the inside. When we are preparing a left and right grip as a back to back through bolted set, we machine the grips so that a threaded bolt can be screwed through the face of the grip that is on the inside of the door and pass through the doors core and into the threaded hole in the back of the grip on the outside.

The bolt on the inside will be counter sunk and concealed with an attractive screw cap but the handle can still be removed by unscrewing the bolt, so it is wise to have the bolt accessible only from the inside.

By comparison, the bolt on the outside handle is only screwed in sufficiently to make a strong connection, typically about ½” into the back of the pull and cannot therefore be unscrewed from the outside. Through bolting a door set makes for an easy installation and one that provides a very solid connection for your door handles. In a later piece I will compare different surface mounting techniques. In the photo of the Ergo heroic handles these have been mounted on a pair of doors (double door). From a handing perspective you have 2 doors, one is left handed, the other is right. If these had been installed with a locking mechanism, then for clarity one would call out the door that has the lock as the “operational” door.

Tree Door Handles - when to through bolt

The Hedgerow tree handles are made either as large scaled heavily canopied door grips or as smaller door pulls. When they were designed we had planned the larger 19” handle to function as an entry door handle and its smaller cousin as a 9” cabinet door pull.

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The different functions impact how the tree is mounted as cabinet pulls are typically mounted through the back of a cabinet with a wood screw that is screwed into the back of the threaded and taped tree. Occasionally the smaller trees are surface mounted as was the case recently when they were mounted on a wall and used as decorative fixtures for curtain ties

The small tree is increasingly been used as door pull for smaller interior  doors where its scale is more appropriate or on wood framed glass doors where a lighter handle is preferred. When used as an interior door both sides of the door are seen and so 2 trees (a left and a right) are used. The 2 trees are connected with a custom bolt one end of which is welded to the tree while the other passes through the door into the back of the second tree where it is held in place by 2 discreet Allen screws (set screws)

Through mounting works equally well for larger entry door grips though for added security the welded bolt should be attached to the exterior handle thus preventing its removal by someone equipped with the necessary Allen wrench.

Ergo Epic Pull In a Black Powder Coated Finish

So what do powder coating, grab bars and epic door handles have in common?

Answer: A creative designer meeting the special needs of an artistic client.

We derive immense satisfaction from working with creative designers and over the years have collaborated with many to  customize our designs so they will meet a client’s specific needs.

Diane Morrison is a designer who we first worked with when we adapted  our Grapevine door handle for use  as a hand rail on a corridor wall. Diane is based in Downingtown Pennsylvania and often works with contractor Merv Landis on her local  installations. Recently Diane approached us to see which of our Ergo designs could be adapted for use as a grab bar in a powder room project.  The room had existing pewter and iron trim and while the client wanted to continue with these metal tones we needed to   use a more sturdy metal and one that would hold up to  moisture.  Stainless steel as a rust resistant alloy was an obvious choice but  many of the patinas one can apply to it are not sufficiently durable.  Diane sent us a color chip and with Dan Regan’s help at Primo Powder Coat we were able to find the right powder to bake onto our stainless steel handrail to create a highly durable finish.

The Ergo epic pull was the perfect choice of design from this series being a sturdy 35” handle but we were dealing with an existing space where the supporting studs were spaced at 16” intervals and the Ergo mounting posts were set at 34”. Merv  Landis solved the problem by creating a  sturdy brace inside the interior wall that spanned 2 sets of studs and provided a solid structure for our lags bolts to screw to.


To reach Diane Morrison please contact her:

Tall Door Grips - How the Design Begins

Lately, in large part at the behest of designers, we have begun to design some very grand scaled door grips for the public areas of hotels and clubs. The size and shape of a door handle does influence the handles design, with long narrow grips dictating a more compact motif and with wider panels allowing for a more expansive forms.

In short, our designs for tall door grips fall broadly into these 2 categories and we have begun by focusing first on the more restrictive long thin pulls which one typically sees on storefront and bank doors and with lengths varying from 40” to 72”. We are using 60” as our optimum design canvas and are creating decorative segments of 18” and 24” that can be repeated or interspersed with other designs or plainer sections so that we have the capability of creating custom lengths for each project.

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The segmented and narrow width of our design canvas impacts the freedom, balance and logic of our design. As a starting point Martin began by looking to the utilitarian and geometric shapes of the 1920’s Art Déco period and the influence of these repetitive bold lines can be seen in the sketch below. He also used his own Hedgerow furniture designs to create an angular tree branch motif.   These sketches are at this point concept drawings and we will be refining them over the next few weeks.

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