Planning Barn Door Build


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Hoping you guys can give me some pointers/help with this upcoming project. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve just moved into a new home, and my wife is wanting me to build a barn door for our entryway in order to cover over the door of the office space right off the entry. She would like it to be a natural wood door that catches the attention of people walking through the front door. It’s a fairly oversized door and I’ve determined that my dimensions need to be 64 5/8” x 96 3/4.” She feels that cherry would provide the best coloring to match the decor of the rest of the home.

I’ve sketched out a plan which I included below. The scale is 2.5” per box. I think I’d like to try to do this like a frame and panel door so that it isn’t quite so heavy. I’d also like it to look nice on both sides of the door. I’m thinking about creating the outer frame and center rail with 6/4 and putting a rabbit down the middle of the length in order to slot in sheets of cherry veneer ply. The accent angled pieces would be in 4/4. The joinery on the outer frame could be done in either M&T or perhaps miters? 

I’ve never built a door before, and while this one will be sliding instead of pulling, I’m not sure if I’ve designed it well to withstand the forces that will be imposed upon it. Hoping you all can give me some pointers. Thanks.

1C3D9D11-C5CB-4A60-9D6C-7FB4DF99E6F4.jpeg

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40 minutes ago, Chet said:

Miters would not be a good choice in my mind.  Mortise and tenon or maybe half lap with dowel pins to had some strength.  The pins would even add a design feature. 

I like the half-lap idea with a dowel, perhaps in a different species to add a different look to it.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a door with miters, but was trying to think outside the box a bit, something I’m not very good at yet when it comes to woodworking and design. That’s why I appreciate all of you so much.

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To my eye, the diagonal braces look a little too "rustic" for a finished cherry door.  All a matter of individual taste, of course, but if it were my home, I'd go with a frame, as you've drawn up, with horizontal slats.  See attached pic for something similar to what I have in mind.

M&T, half-lap or bridle joints would all work for the frame.  I like Chet's idea of dowel pins for added strength and as a decorative element.

That's a large door - do you have space on each side to make it two narrower doors that would slide apartt from the center?

 

Horizontal__Lewiston_Barn_Door.jpg

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36 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

The 'faux shutters' I built in this thread are very close in construction to what you want to do. If you want mitered corners, check the joint I used.

Those are some really beautiful shutters Ross. I’ve envisioned a mitered tenon joint in my head before, but until now, I’m not sure I’ be ever seen one actually done. I’m leaning toward using the half-lap joints with the dowel at this point.

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2 minutes ago, G Ragatz said:

To my eye, the diagonal braces look a little too "rustic" for a finished cherry door.  All a matter of individual taste, of course, but if it were my home, I'd go with a frame, as you've drawn up, with horizontal slats.  See attached pic for something similar to what I have in mind.

M&T, half-lap or bridle joints would all work for the frame.  I like Chet's idea of dowel pins for added strength and as a decorative element.

That's a large door - do you have space on each side to make it two narrower doors that would slide apartt from the center?

 

Horizontal__Lewiston_Barn_Door.jpg

I like that design a lot as well. The question that I would have about this is how can I make it look finished from both sides? I want it to be pleasing to the eye from both sides of the door.

Unfortunately, I only have space on one side of the opening to slide the door onto. I’ve attached a picture to help everyone understand better what I’m working with. The blue tape is marking where the door would slide out to based on the size of the opening.

0F13A9D4-E3C7-4DBD-BD35-31B064F50161.jpeg

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I think in this case, the diagonal braces are just for looks and can be as the door does not hinge from the side. I would build it from 7/4 or slightly less than 8/4 for the 3 rails and two stiles. Run a full length 1/2” groove on the inside of the top and bottom rails and both sides of the center rail. Use a 3/4” or 1” haunch tenon to connect the stiles to the upper and lower rails And a regular, same size tenon for the ends of the center rail. Using 3/4” boards for the center panels, run vertically, with tongue and groove sides to allow for expansion. Rabbet both sides of the ends of these boards to form a tenon that will fit into the 1/2” grooves in the rails. Allow these center boards to float in the grooves, secured with a Lexel clear non-hardening silicon type agent, to allow for expansion and to prevent any rattling. 

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1 hour ago, Jonathan McCully said:

 I’ve envisioned a mitered tenon joint in my head before, but until now, I’m not sure I’ be ever seen one actually done. 

I wish I could execute it as well as Paul Sellers did in tbe video I linked, but even as crude as mine were, the joint holds the corners tight and square. After you do the first one, the geometry of the cut becomes clear and obvious.

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2 hours ago, Coop said:

I think in this case, the diagonal braces are just for looks and can be as the door does not hinge from the side. I would build it from 7/4 or slightly less than 8/4 for the 3 rails and two stiles. Run a full length 1/2” groove on the inside of the top and bottom rails and both sides of the center rail. Use a 3/4” or 1” haunch tenon to connect the stiles to the upper and lower rails And a regular, same size tenon for the ends of the center rail. Using 3/4” boards for the center panels, run vertically, with tongue and groove sides to allow for expansion. Rabbet both sides of the ends of these boards to form a tenon that will fit into the 1/2” grooves in the rails. Allow these center boards to float in the grooves, secured with a Lexel clear non-hardening silicon type agent, to allow for expansion and to prevent any rattling. 

I love these suggestions Coop. Really appreciate you laying this out for me. I had toyed with the idea of using boards for the center panels but felt it might be a bit too heavy, although I think I’d prefer that look to plywood panels. 

Can you explain how you would use the silicon agent to secure the center boards? Would you use that on the end tenons into the groove of the rails or along between the center panel boards?

2 hours ago, Barron said:

I built a door pretty much as you described. I used 6/4 pine for the rails and stiles. The panels were tongue and groove milled down to 2/4, and the angled faux braces were 2/4. I used dominos for the joinery. Held up for as long as we had the house. The sliding door hardware was designed for 8/4 stiles, but I just had to cut the bolts down. Since the doors slide, and are hung from either side of the top, the braces are cosmetic, so the direction isn’t critical, and really, there isn’t much stress on the frame. Good luck. 

I had thought about using my domino for the joinery as well, but I’ve only got a 500 and wasn’t sure that would provide the strength in the joint that I needed, even if I used a couple of dominos.

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The Lexel was suggested by a long time well respected ex-member here and I have used it successfully several times since. I apply a small amount to the tenons of the vertical center boards or into the grooves of the rails. As it is semi-flexible, it allows for movement. If you use tongue and groove on the edges of the center panel boards, if there is movement, you won’t see a gap between the boards. 

If you have a Domino, you could use it on the center panel boards in lieu of the mortise and tenons but I wouldn’t use it to joint the rails to the stiles if you have the 500. 

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52 minutes ago, Coop said:

I retract my suggested dimensions for the rails and stiles, due to the weight, I think your 6/4 would be more appropriate. 1/2” for the center panel, either boards or the ply would also probably be better. As @Barronsuggested. 

Thanks for that suggestion as well Coop. I do think those dimensions will work well, and still planning to use boards rather than ply as I think it will provide a much better look to the door in the end.

10 hours ago, Coop said:

The Lexel was suggested by a long time well respected ex-member here and I have used it successfully several times since. I apply a small amount to the tenons of the vertical center boards or into the grooves of the rails. As it is semi-flexible, it allows for movement. If you use tongue and groove on the edges of the center panel boards, if there is movement, you won’t see a gap between the boards. 

If you have a Domino, you could use it on the center panel boards in lieu of the mortise and tenons but I wouldn’t use it to joint the rails to the stiles if you have the 500. 

Would you still suggest using the Lexel on the dominos to allow for that movement, or would the additional side-to-side width of the mortise that I typically add with the domino alleviate that need?

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I'll throw out a couple more ideas and you can see what you think:

  • Even if you can only slide the door to the left, you could still build it as two smaller doors that both slide the same direction.  Visually, this might look a little more refined than a single massive door.  And you might find that for access to the office, just opening one door is adequate in most cases.
  • If the space to the left of the office door opening is precious, you could consider two doors with a by-pass setup, so you would only need about half as much clear space to the left of the office door.  This is an example (for illustration - I don't know anything about this particular hardware).
  • Regardless of what configuration you use, you'll want to do something to prevent the door(s) from swinging against the wall/woodwork and doing damage.  Maybe just some vinyl bumpers (or does barn door hardware typically include some sort of bottom track - I've never used this type of door?)
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1 hour ago, G Ragatz said:

I'll throw out a couple more ideas and you can see what you think:

  • Even if you can only slide the door to the left, you could still build it as two smaller doors that both slide the same direction.  Visually, this might look a little more refined than a single massive door.  And you might find that for access to the office, just opening one door is adequate in most cases.
  • If the space to the left of the office door opening is precious, you could consider two doors with a by-pass setup, so you would only need about half as much clear space to the left of the office door.  This is an example (for illustration - I don't know anything about this particular hardware).
  • Regardless of what configuration you use, you'll want to do something to prevent the door(s) from swinging against the wall/woodwork and doing damage.  Maybe just some vinyl bumpers (or does barn door hardware typically include some sort of bottom track - I've never used this type of door?)

Thanks for the suggestions. Hadn't considered two doors that slide to the same direction, in either configuration that you mentioned. Will have to pass those along to my wife (the boss on all things decor) to see what she thinks.

Yes, I will have a means of keeping the door from swinging. We have a barn door in our bedroom into the master bath that the builder installed that has an V groove routed into the bottom that runs on a short, 6 in piece of track to keep it in line. I'll either do something like that or have a couple of floor guides like this

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I only have a 500 domino, and that is what I used. I think I used three or four per joint, but can’t remember for sure. I’m fact, I may have used a technique to make a large mortise, and then made my own wide domino. Either way, I think it will work. 

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On 10/14/2021 at 8:42 PM, Barron said:

I only have a 500 domino, and that is what I used. I think I used three or four per joint, but can’t remember for sure. I’m fact, I may have used a technique to make a large mortise, and then made my own wide domino. Either way, I think it will work. 

You are talking about the rail and stile connections or the panel boards to the rails? What kind of joinery did you make for the panel boards to the stiles? 

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On 10/14/2021 at 7:19 PM, Coop said:

You are talking about the rail and stile connections or the panel boards to the rails? What kind of joinery did you make for the panel boards to the stiles? 

The panels were housed in grooves on all four sides. I routed a groove in the center of the frame, all the way to the ends of both the rails and stiles, then just filled the gaps at the top and bottom after assembly — I didn’t think any one would ever be able to see the fix. 

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