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I would like to build a sliding barn door that can replicate the look pictured below.  I'm scratching my head on a few things and hoping this community can help!

Door dimensions would be roughly 80" height by 64" wide.  The extra width is going to cover a hallway door and a closet (infrequently used) in one large panel (see attached).  Door hardware will be a 12' rail to enable access to both.

  • Any material recommendations?
  • What would you use for the "back" of this door?
    • Frame, ply/mdf, or combination?
  • Patterned using individual boards or wide boards and router pattern?

I hope this isn't too vague a question, and I would love any wisdom you can all share!

Thanks,

Bill

Ideal design:

african-mohogany-urban-woodcraft-barn-do

Slightly easier design:

IMG_6484-copy.jpg

Current Doors: (attached)

 

Barn door.jpg

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I'd do 3/4" ply and think boards or thick veneer depending on what you call veneer. I'd have the boards be 1/4" thick and I'd make sure the pattern was exactly the same on both sides. at 1/4" thick and the pattern on both sides it should balance the panel to prevent and warping from wood expansion and contraction.

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I agree, but think that 1/4" might be pushing it. If humidity changes are wide, movement may overpower the bond between boards & substrate. 1/8" would be safer & still provide some thickness for sanding & refinishing down the road.

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Looking at you door situation.  What about making (2) 32" doors and outing a couple magnets in the edge to hold them together. This would allow you to open the closet door separate for the hall door or both at he same time. 

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I have to second @rainjer's two-piece model. Hanging a 64" wide panel will be a bear, and moving it all at once will get tiresome as well. Unless you go for some really high-end hardware, those rails can take some effort to roll along. To be quite honest, I would be inclined to make the "infrequently used" closet door into a pocket door, or some flush-mount arrangement, just so you don't have shove it over every time you open the hallway.

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2 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

I have to second @rainjer's two-piece model. Hanging a 64" wide panel will be a bear, and moving it all at once will get tiresome as well. Unless you go for some really high-end hardware, those rails can take some effort to roll along. To be quite honest, I would be inclined to make the "infrequently used" closet door into a pocket door, or some flush-mount arrangement, just so you don't have shove it over every time you open the hallway.

Not sure where you get that Ross. My glass sliding doors at my house are heavier than that panel would be in most species. I can move them with my pinky. The high end hardware for them is a twenty dollar bearing assembly (two per door) that I likely could have trimmed cost had I known how to source the correct bearing alone. Do you have experience with barn slider kits that are that poor?

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I would use the 3/4” ply with splines, dominos, or biscuits to join the two pieces of ply.  Then make the pattern with 1/8” thick boards.  The final door would be 1” thick. You will probably have to cut down the hardware bolts unless you want them sticking out a ways. The door should slide easily, at least mine did (similar size, but I built with frame and panel). 

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6 hours ago, Tpt life said:

I’d make a sandwich. MDF core, with opposite angle boards on the back. 

Just out of curiosity and to boost my knowledge, why would you put boards on the backside if using mdf? I can understand if using plywood. I really don’t understand that either but found out the hard way when I made a chess board with ply as a substrate and didn’t cover the backside. It would hold water! 

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8 hours ago, Coop said:

Just out of curiosity and to boost my knowledge, why would you put boards on the backside if using mdf? I can understand if using plywood. I really don’t understand that either but found out the hard way when I made a chess board with ply as a substrate and didn’t cover the backside. It would hold water! 

So the door looks good from the hallway as well. MDF allows for some movement concerns as I would fasten the outer layers together through the MDF. 

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So with the OP being an admitted novice I agree it'd be safer to use 1/8" but i don't know of many places I can buy 1/8" material. 1/4" is pretty easy. I also should elaborate my idea is to cut the boards from 1/4" ply. This beats using solid wood & solves any de lamination issues. Also far cheaper than solid wood. In the idea the edges appear painted so the exposed plywood isn't seen.

The width creates issues for a novice. Joining 2 pieces of ply that size are difficult for a shop setup with good long clamps for one that isn't well equipped that could be tricky. The 1/4" ply could help bridge a glue joint better than solid wood.

MDF would be a good substrate but ply is lighter and therefore a bit easier to work with. A completed MDF door panel 80x64 could easily weight 150 lbs.

Adhesive backed veneer is another possibility. https://www.rockler.com/4-x-8-veneer-sheet-peel-and-stick-backing

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10 hours ago, Coop said:

why would you put boards on the backside if using mdf?

The veneer or skin layer changes dimension with humidity and forces the substrate to bend.  It doesn't matter if the substrate is mdf or ply.  Skinning the opposite side balances the forces.  Also the backside of the door is partially visible from the hall.

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