Adams Architectural Millwork Co., Dubuque, Iowa, is highlighting a recent project featuring a knotty alder entry door and a speakeasy opening.

The completed double doors are shown with no stain or finish (first image). The first image shows the outside view of the doors and astragal (moulding profile); the second image shows the interior view. There is a speakeasy opening on each door, set off with black hinges and slide bolt for opening and securing.

Adams was provided a photo of a door that the customer wanted to replicate as a set of double doors. These 36 x 96 inch doors feature a speakeasy and v-grooves in the panels.

Adams’s CAD drafter creates a 3-D drawing of every door that they make. It is provided to each customer for approval before fabrication. Using the CAD system, they can see what the finished door will look like and it provides us with accurate specifications for the shop.

Knotty alder provides a rustic look to any style door. The wood maintains an even color, but it takes stain unevenly because of sap wood. This variation in coloring provides even more dimension when combined with the knots and burls found in the wood.

Adams point out that knotty alder is a wood species where you need to be mindful of the end cuts so that it does not split. They were also diligent in selecting cut lines in order to avoid knots along the edges. This custom door is made more unusual with the knots and whorls in the wood grain.

Speakeasy doors became prominently used during the Prohibition era, but are reminiscent of castles or Mediterranean villas. They are a great accent for a rustic style door. Adams used a weatherstripping seal to keep it airtight. Ensuring everything lines up perfectly is necessary and can be seen in the finished, close up view. The customer wanted this to remain open, however, Adams could easily include a piece of tempered glass with or without the speakeasy door.

To complete the look of the entrance, this double door includes a transom fabricated from knotty alder that contains five tru-divided lites. The grooves found near the outside edge of the unit as well as near the tru-divided lites is an additional design feature that was included to bring cohesion between the V-grooves of the doors and transom.

Adams fabricates historically accurate windows, window sashes, storm windows, doors and storm doors. Capabilities include manufacturing custom millwork for homes and buildings across the United States. See


Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.