Barn Door Completion

finaldoor_title
You’ll need some tools:
  • Drill with drill bits and screwdriver
  • Socket wrench
  • Miter saw
  • Sander / sandpaper and block
  • Finish / paint depending on trim and door needs
  • Circular saw if you need to cut your door
You’ll need a few materials:
  • Track and door hangers from McMaster-Carr $65
  • Door of your choice. Mine was $55 from Rebuilding Center
  • Necessary trim for door casing
  • 1x4 to offset track from wall to clear trim
  • Finish nails
  • Wood filler and spackling and latex caulk

I’m happy and excited to unveil the finished bedroom door on it’s track! Though I had plenty of little problems along the way, I’m quite pleased with the finished product. I had to let go of everything perfect, and I figured that’s just fine with a 103 year old house. My instructions could have started like this:

Step1: Get a door and track.
Step2: Bang head on door when you realize how wonky and misaligned walls are.

Ok, it wasn’t that bad, but I did have to use more trim than I initially wanted. I’ll walk you through the steps so, don’t get worried yet.

The easiest installation would be to leave your door trim on, just remove the door from it’s hinges and hang your new setup so it clears the existing trim. The most idyllic installation would be to pull off the door and trim, finish the edges all flush with no trim, hang the track and new door to the wall and you’ll have 1/8″ clearance and it will be beautiful. BUT, since my walls are wonky, I had to bolster it out a ways from the bulging wall. It’s ok, because the necessary trim lends itself well to an older house. For my installation method, I first measured how tall I wanted to door to be. I bought the door 80×32 wide to cover a 76×28 opening. I first cut my door too short, which I’m quite ashamed about, so make sure you’re confident about all your measurements before getting out the saw. I measured to have the track rest one inch above the top of the trim, so I’d have plenty of height. It’s best to measure once you have your door brackets actually in the track. Then you can see where your door top will actually rest, and measure to the floor from that point and subtract a small amount to clear the floor. The track looks much better higher than snug to the top of the door anyway.

I took off all my surrounding trim from the door frame and positioned the track where I wanted it and attached it to the wall. Luckily, that was used to be an exterior wall, so it was full of strong siding boards to attach it too. The track and door is heavy, so make sure you hang it on studs, or mount it on a sturdy plywood underboard that you can securely attach. The kit comes with large bolts, so I pre-drilled holes and socketed the frame to the wall. At this point I just attached it as a dry run. I knew I was going to have to shim it away from the wall a bit, but wasn’t sure how much until I had things up and could see where I needed extra room. I screwed the heavy brackets to the door and lifted it up into the frame. When up there, I could see where areas were gapped and parts that would rub.

I realized that if I got it away from the wall, it would clear my new trim and still close with small enough tolerances to be private. I cut small blocks of the 1×4 board, one for each of the 4 track mounting points. To make them more secure, the blocks were attached to the wall with 2 screws each, then the large bolt was fastened though the block and into the wall board. Again, pre-drill your block since the bolts are stout. After rehanging, the door cleared everything fine, and with just a tiny nudge, would rest on the trim when closing. I removed the door again, and began to trim out the frame. Using 1x4s and a 1×2 for the front gap edge, I cut to measure and attached with trim nails and a hammer. I left the top trim piece out and spackled the drywall to the door frame, creating a smooth joint. I would put trim up here, but needed the extra 1/2″ to lift the door into the track this way. If you don’t put a stop-edge on the trim board, you can just slide the door out of one end of the track to remove. I might not put the stop-edge if I did it again… I put it there to act as a stop and give a little more privacy, but I installed a bracket stop on the frame itself instead and found it not as necessary.

After trim boards are up, I primed and then painted white to match the other trim. The outside facing pieces were painted black to match the hallway trim and the outside of the door. I stripped and removed paint on the other side of the door for a natural finish, and it was a major pain. I don’t recommend doing the dirty-work yourself, look into some paint-removing services where they actually dip your doors and remove all the crud. Portland costs can be found at Houck’s.

For a handle, I just kept parts of the original knob setup, but without the knob. The locking lever is very sturdy and works great to slide the door. Since your first inclination is to push the door a little, I put a small wheel into the floor to keep the door aligned. A smarter way would be to cut a channel in the door’s underside and have an alignment post slide in there… but I didn’t have the correct saw, and that little tiny wheel works fine for me. Just one tiny screw into the floor and I’m ok with that. Now, without much force, my door slides open and completely out of the way and looks pretty cool too. The final touch was to put some numbers on the door to give it that vintage schoolhouse look (since it was actually from an old college)… but I’m not sure I’m happy with it yet. Maybe I’ll design something and have it custom cut. Would it be weird for my door to say ‘Teachers Lounge’?

filed as: , , , ,   ||   32 Comments

Wooden Crate Headboard

make_title_headboard
You’ll need some tools:
  • Hand saw or electric saw
  • Drill with phillips bit
  • Sandpaper and sanding block
  • Orbital electric sander with 60 grit paper
  • Rags for stain
  • Brush for poly
You’ll need a few materials:
  • 4 qty 8ft long 2x4s
  • 8 qty 8ft x 5.5in x .5in cedar fence planks
  • 3in drywall screws
  • 1.25in finish nails
  • water based stain
  • water based polyurethane

Bedrooms in my house are very, very small. A queen-sized bed fits – but without much room on either side for nightstands or storage. I had a small nightstand, but after piling a large alarm clock and lamp and anything else on it and it looked ridiculous. After pouring over ideas, I thought about making a built-in solution. Now I have a huge shelf to stack my junk, extra books, lamps, blankets, trinkets, whatever! Also, figured if I was building it, why not give it some doors and use it for extra blanket/pillow/sleeping bag storage? This works great for me, and maybe it would for you too.

Plans are based on my build, but you can surely adapt them for any configuration. For facing boards, I used cedar fence planks, mainly because they are readily available and inexpensive. I would have loved to have built this with some reclaimed Fir, but I was impatient and started building and couldn’t find what I wanted to finish the job over the weekend. If you want antique wood, search some out before beginning your project – however here’s my plan based on 8ft x 5.5in x .5in cedar planks.

First step: Measure your space and sketch it out. I always recommend a sketch for built-in projects. If you plan this part correctly you’ll limit the amount of lumber you use and have less cuts to make. As I built, my plan kind-of adapted, and I had more cuts to make, but I’ll give you hints to avoid this. Things to remember: 2x4s are actually 1.5 x 3.5 inches – so note actual lumber size when formulating.

Build the facing frame: If you have uneven walls like mine, measure and cut your floor-length board first. Measure and cut your verticals, and make sure they are close enough together for decent support – no further than 18″ apart. I cut five verticals, 24.5″ each. Lay your verticals on the floor, then screw your floor-facing board to them with your screws. Once assembled, set your frame in place, and measure and cut your top board. Because my walls bow, it was important to cut this board to it’s location height. If you have plumb walls, you can completely built out the frame and set in place. Before screwing the ends of the top boards, level your frame and screw the end boards into the wall. Make sure you’re anchoring to a stud, because this is your main support/anchor points. I chose to not screw the frame into my floors, and the wall mounts were secure enough to accomplish this. After your facing fame is in place, I attached 2x4s to the back wall as supports for my top doors. Make these even height with your top frame board. I left space between boards to feed electrical cords behind the doors easily. Then for added strength, I attached the facing frame to the back wall with a 2×4. This board also helps support the door tops, which will rest on the facing frame top and the back wall boards.

Facing boards: Now your frame is complete and secure, you can begin the facing. My cedar fence boards are VERY rough, so I sanded the harsh surface with an orbital sander and heavy grit paper. This left them still rough in a rustic way, but not splintery. After sanding, sweep off the sawdust. Between the boards and the frame, I attached heavy plastic, so when I stored things inside, they wouldn’t catch on the board surface. This is just an option if you use rough boards and don’t want to snag anything that might rest against them. Then nail your boards over the plastic covered front frame. I used small finish nails that would be easily hidden. Make sure your boards are level and then nail them in place. If you’ve measured correctly, your top facing board should come above your frame top by 1″ so your doors will be counter sunk. (I did not make this important calculation before-hand, so I had to attach a cut trim piece to take up the gap.)

Top doors: Once your facing boards are in place, you can measure you top door depth. Again, my walls are un-even, so each one is different and cut accordingly. Don’t make them too snug either, mine each have a small gap at the back, so I can easily feed my lamp/clock electrical cords though. The top boards are just made with the fence planks, two support boards each, glued and attached with small screws. For handles, I drilled holes and used scrap leather strips, fed through and knotted. You could use drawer handles, rope, large finger holes, whatever you like.

Finishing: You can finish your facing boards and doors before attaching, but I finished in place. I used water based stain to darken the boards, let dry and then coated with water-based poly. I used water based products since I’ll be sleeping in here, and the fumes are way less noxious. Because the boards are very coarse, I used three coats of poly with a vigorous hand sanding in between. It was more about building up a thick finish to prevent splinters than creating a smooth topcoat for me. After a day or two drying, I could place move everything back in place.

Visit the Gallery on Flickr

filed as: , , , , ,   ||   18 Comments