Whiskey and Windows 2019

Wednesday, November 20th 4pm-7pm

Our signature whiskey and windows event is happening again! This time, with a workshop on storefronts: come learn about the anatomy of a storefront and experience handcrafted windows and whiskey like never before.

Admission is FREE! For tickets:


The Anatomy of a Storefront

Some may view a storefront as simply the entrance to a business, but at Versatile Wood Products, we see it differently. There are many questions to address, styles to choose from, and requirements to consider. A beautifully integrated storefront can be a complex project, but with the help of a strong design team, it needn’t be difficult. Here’s how we approach it.

Portland’s famous Pine Street Market is housed in the historic Carriage & Baggage Building, built in 1886. We designed entry systems that worked with the original arched masonry openings.

First, we determine the type of exposure this structure will be getting. Overhang and cardinal direction play a large part in the design strategy, including choosing your wood species. If the assembly will be taking a lot of heat from the sun, experiencing strong winds and rain, or facing heavy snow, that will help us to determine the best wood species to use. Douglas fir with standard grain is our most popular selection, and for many situations, it’s the perfect choice. When an even more robust species is called for, a tighter grain Douglas fir or sapele are our top choices. A southern-facing entrance, a less-than-generous overhang, or harsh weather exposure may call for special treatment. The experts at Versatile will guide you toward the best options for the unique needs of your storefront. 

Our product design manager Rex Vaccaro consults with the installation team at Cornelius Woodlark. Versatile’s experts collaborate with you to ensure great results.

One challenge that can arise when modernizing historic structures is creating ADA-compliant entrances. In buildings such as the Timberline Lodge and the Hollywood Theatre, innovative techniques (like burying wires or building concealers for electric closers) ensured that the original aesthetics were preserved while also integrating automatic door mechanisms needed for ADA accessibility. 

Timberline Lodge is a famous building that really takes a beating. Our ADA entryway is robust enough to withstand the elements, while ensuring ADA compliance. Accessibility matters!

Another important consideration is providing window and doorway systems that keep our clients and their customers comfortable year-round as the weather and temperatures shift. Precision, top-quality weather stripping and thresholds appropriate for your design will prevent air from traveling around windows or doors and ensure a well-regulated indoor environment.

After facing the elements for decades, historic buildings need to be repaired, restored, and renovated. There are many guidelines concerning the preservation, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of historic buildings. With over 30 years of experience with historic renovation projects, including multiple structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Versatile is fluent in the unique requirements of historic restoration. For Versatile Wood Products, staying true to a building’s original aesthetics and honoring its past are a point of pride and what gives our work purpose.

Join us Wednesday, November 20th for our annual event, Whiskey & Windows and learn the anatomy of a storefront with a live presentation! RSVP

Pine Street Market Sneak Preview

Pine Street Market

We have been deeply enjoying the process of designing and installing a very unusual project. A custom single hung window system and storefront for Siteworks at the new Pine Street Market food hall.  It is due to open in May 2016.

Pine Street Market was originally called the United Carriage & Baggage Transfer Building. This 1886 structure had a past life as a livery and horse-drawn carriage storage facility featuring over 100 horse stalls. The early 20th century saw it used as a contractor supply depot until 1969. Then it became the first location for The Old Spaghetti Factory. More recently it has featured a series of all ages nightclubs.

Developing the Pine Street Market project included a combination of:
  • Exactly matching existing window details
  • Developing an innovative external weight and pulley system for the single hung storefront windows. They were counterbalanced by visible black pipe, allowing the sash to operate without need for weight pockets in the walls.
Here’s a little sneak peek at the systems we’ve installed. Go check out the real thing at the Pine Street Market Grand Opening in May. Tell us what you think!


 Pine Street Market

These single hung windows were set too close together to employ traditional weight pockets. Instead, a visible wire and pulley system is counterbalanced with black pipe that lowers and raises as the sash is operated.

 Pine Street Market

Arch top detail and ogee lugs replicate the historic charm of the original windows.

 Pine Street Market

This image shows the single hung storefront sash all set in their open configuration.
You can see the pipe counterbalances around the top.

 Pine Street Market

Here they are closed with the wood panel pony wall visible below.

 Pine Street Market

These arch topped double hung windows were replications of the Pine Street Market original. Here you can see the left hand top sash opened to let in ventilation. We used our CNC router to replicate original hand carved details on the exterior mull caps (below).

 Pine Street Market

This “before picture” (below) illustrates the extremely weathered condition of the existing windows in the Pine Street Market. We were proud to have the opportunity to exactly match the details of the original windows. The building will retain its original character and be ready to weather the next 100 years of life.

 Pine Street Market


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Roman Candle, Ava Gene’s, Woodsman Tavern — Custom Case Study

Woodsman Tavern

After SE Division’s overwhelming support of Duane Sorenson’s Stumptown cafe, he opened The Woodsman Tavern to create a gathering place for good food and good drink that felt like it had always been there. The Woodsman Tavern was a 2012 Bon Appétit Best New Restaurant nominee and launched the revitalization of SE Division Street. This led Sorenson to open Ava Gene’s (November 2012) and Roman Candle Baking Company (July 2013) a few blocks away.

Versatile was contracted by Orange-PDX to create a storefront system for The Woodsman Tavern and to supply custom entry doors for Roman Candle and Ava Gene’s.

Woodsman Tavern

What were the goals of these projects?

For The Woodsman Tavern, we were to replace the dated aluminum storefront with replicated traditional wood divided lite transoms over picture windows with insulated glass, along with custom entry doors.

The stain grade doors for Roman Candle and Ava Gene’s needed to fit the aesthetic and vibe of the restaurants. While being able to withstand harsh weather exposure.

What challenges did Versatile face during these projects?

The biggest challenge for all three projects was weather exposure as they all face south.

Woodsman Tavern

What were the Uniquely Versatile Solutions?

Hand selecting the materials played a major role in the success of these projects. Versatile’s highly experienced carpenter, Jeff Vasey, hand selected the wood to ensure each piece had a tight grain pattern to help extend the life of each item. From an aesthetic side, it was also important to find pieces of wood that matched and had complimentary grain patterns.

Versatile always tries to anticipate possible challenges before they turn into problems, and by selecting such an experienced team we were able to avoid major issues. This team included Versatile shop carpenters and installers from Orange-PDX construction.

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