Making frames without nails

Crafting the windows and doors for the Nauvoo Illinois Temple was a sublime labor for which the Lord has long been preparing Charles W. Allen.

With his son, Marcus, and son-in-law, Michael N. Rogers, Brother Allen owns and operates Allyn Historic Sash Co., based on Barnett Street in Nauvoo, near the temple lot. The company — Allyn is the Old English spelling of the family name — has been in business for more than 25 years and has become a recognized expert in historic restoration and reconstruction. The Allen's work graces such visitors attractions as the Mark Twain boyhood home in Hannibal, Mo., and the Riser Boot and Shoe Shop and the Stoddard Tin Shop and Home in Nauvoo.

It was their work in Nauvoo that brought them to the attention of the Temple Construction Department as candidates to do the doors and windows for the temple. The Allens manufactured the seven exterior doors and 126 of the the 138 windows visible to the public.

The wood is joined with the hand-chiseled mortises and tenons according to the historic method "rediscovered" by the Allens, involving a rectangular cavity, or mortise, cut into the wood on one side of the joint to accept a projection, or tenon, carefully shaped from the wood on the other side of the joint. With the use of square wooden pegs, such joinery does not require glue or nails.

"To me, the spiritual preparation is far more important than the woodworking," said Brother Allen. "We've been blessed to have our abilities and talents extended far beyond our normal capabilities." — R. Scott Lloyd

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