It is important that the door frame in a brick or stone wall be well secured to the masonry, otherwise the swinging and slamming of the door will soon loosen the frame from the wall. The most common method of securing the frame is to spike it to wooden blocks of the size of a brick, built into the wall. This does very well when the work is new, but after the wood bricks have seasoned and shrunk the frame often works loose.
A better method is to spike blocks of wood to the back of the frame, if the frame is built in place, as shown by the dotted lines in Figs. 121-123, and even these will not hold the frame firmly unless the brick or stonework is solidly built around them. The author strongly favors the use of iron anchors for securing the frame, and especially when the doors are large and heavy. Two iron anchors of the shape shown in Fig. 126, screwed to the back of each jamb, will hold the frame securely, and they are not affected by shrinkage. If there is no wood threshold the bottom of the jambs should always be secured to the stone sill by means of iron dowels, either made as in Fig. 126 or let into the bottom of the jamb, and even where there is a wood threshold it is a good idea to use the dowels.
An outside entrance to the cellar is almost a necessity in buildings that have a heating apparatus in the basement. This entrance is sometimes provided by means of a door opening at the ground level on to a landing of the cellar stairs, but more often it is provided by means of an outside stairway below the surface of the ground. In the Northern States this stairway should be covered to keep out the rain and snow, and also to make the cellar warmer in winter. As a rule, the stairway, sometimes called a "rollway," or "hatchway," is placed at the rear of the building, so as not to be conspicuous, and if there is no window directly above in the first story, it is a good plan to build a shed or porch over the stairs, with a door at the head. When this is not practicable the stairs must be covered with "trap doors." This is generally accomplished in the manner shown by Fig. 127. A rough plank frame, A, B, C, D, is bolted to the side walls by ¾-inch bolts, about 18 or 20 inches long, which are built into the wall as it is laid, the nuts on the head of the bolts being sunk flush with the frame. The lower piece of the frame B is usually dressed and forms the upper step. When the underpinning is of brick the side walls above the ground are usually made 8 inches thick, and a single 2x8-inch plank is used for the frame.
After the frame is secured it is covered with matched pine boards or ceiling, and battened doors are hung to the frame by heavy strap hinges, as shown in the drawing. When a skeleton frame is used pieces of plank, N, N, should be placed under the hinges to receive the screws.
The only points in the construction of the ordinary "bulkhead" which will require especial attention are to see that the frame is bedded in mortar and securely bolted down, that the doors are nailed with clout nails well clinched, that the hinges are of proper size and well secured, and that provision is made to keep water out of the stairway.
The cleats for the doors should be 1 1/8 inches thick and 5 ½ inches wide, with a mortise cut in the edges of the frame to receive them. It is a good idea to bolt the hinges to the doors with 3/16-inch carriage bolts, as nails are apt to work loose in time.
In the majority of buildings no especial provision is made for keeping the rain water from entering around the doors, but for all first-class residences, especially in those States which have a good deal of wet weather, the architect should make such provision in his specification. A beveled cleat, M, should be nailed to the casing above the doors, pitching to each side, and this cleat and the space back of it should be covered with lead, zinc or tin, which should extend at least 2 inches up on the sheathing back of the water table or siding. This will prevent the water that runs down on the wall from entering the joint above the doors. A small groove should also be made . around the inner edge of the frame, as shown in the perspective, and and also in section X, to carry off what little water may enter the joints. The meeting joints of the door may be protected by a batten, and a groove made in the edge of the standing door under the batten, as shown at Y. With these precautions but little water will enter around the doors, and they will not be as likely to freeze up in winter.
Fig. 127. - Outside Cellarway or Bulkhead.