Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Barn Door Project

This project has been almost two years in the making.  My shed door swings out, except in the winter when a rock frost-heaves up just enough to block the door.  The rock is not visibly higher, but the shed door won't open.

The onset of winter means bringing into the house all the tools I think I might need in the next few months.  If I get it wrong, I can always crawl into the shed through a tiny hole in a side wall.  Wonderful.  The solution was obvious to me, but it took a long time to get here.  Replace the swinging door with a door that slides like a barn door.  A sliding barn door.

I timed the project for when my mother would be here, since hanging this thing will be a two-person job.  What I didn't anticipate was all the stops and starts.  (Silly me - this happens every single time I try a project that I have no idea how to do!  I should build 3 trips to a hardware store into the plan.)  First it was finding a window.  Then it was buying another piece of tongue and groove, since the 8-inch pieces are really 7 inches wide.  Now it's finding some sort of clamp to pull these pieces together.

It's times like these when I really wish for a handy male.  My ex-husband did this sort of thing really well.
As you can see, I haven't started to fabricate.  Even though I think I've got everything now, there may still be a store trip or two left in this project.


  1. yes, it does seem that somewhere there could be a man who would like your goats to mow his lawn, while he does the door. I could send my uncle, but he's headed to Alaska on Monday with my aunt to see his new grandbaby. He would be a good neighbor to have.

  2. Pipe clamps and Gorilla Glue to hold the tongue and groove together. Do 2-3 pieces of the tounge and groove at a time instead trying to glue it all up at once. It will make it less likely that it buckles under the pressure of the clamp – or just put a weight on the whole things when clamping. Once the T&G is all dried, cut your door to size, then mount the whole door on a same sized sheet of plywood (1/2 to 3/4 CDX). Use glue and screws through the plywood into the T&G to hold the two pieces together. This will make for a much heavier, but much sturdier door. The T&G will face the outside – plywood is the inside.
    Next, cut the hole for the window. Mark the hole for the window on the plywood, drill a 1 inch holes in a corner of your tracing all the way through the door, then use a jigsaw to cut the hole to size for the window.
    Make sure the shed framing where the track is going to be mounted is really sturdy. This will be a heavy door and you want to make sure the track is mounted squarely in solid wood.

  3. We did barn doors inside our house. You might take a look at those on my blog to see what we used to hang them and secure them at the bottom. Look under "farmhouse". There are a couple of posts that show them. For me a picture speaks a thousand words. I admire you for tackling it yourself. Before long you will know how to do everything!

  4. Hi Kim - I saw your beautiful house, barn doors and all a while ago and again today. What an opportunity to create the perfect farmhouse from scratch! I love some of the creative things you've done!

  5. Yes, a nice, sturdy working door beats crawling through a small window hands down! Isn't it always the case that a project takes one extra tool that you don't have. Of course, I l.o.v.e. tools, so look forward to any excuse to get another! I bet your mom is finding her stay less than boring!