Sunday, July 26, 2015

Finally posting my barn doors (with a twist at the end)

I have been working on and off for the last 2 years on these barn doors to convert our dining room into a music room for my wife to work in.  I am just now getting around to finishing the last couple pieces of track and hardware and thought it would be worth sharing.

Finished doors closed and open...

First, I want everyone to take notice of the fact that there are 3 doors to span the opening.  This is not a normal configuration for barn doors.  This creates some interesting challenges as one door is set in front of the others.  Because of the unusual layout all the hardware was custom made using parts cobbled together from local stores.

Secondly these are not ordinary barn doors.  These doors serve a dual purpose which I will get into later. (jump the the bottom if you are impatient)

Now for the build...

My first challenge was making the track to span the 17 feet of wall I needed.  I did this by brazing 2 sections of steel electrical channel conduit using a mapp gas and oxygen torch from harbor freight and bolted to a third rail for stability.  After brazing I went over the slag with an angle grinder to finish it for smooth motion on the top.

A coat of black spray paint, and heavy duty bolts at 2' intervals to secure it to the wall...

Next I began building the doors using interlocking pine boards like pictured here (tongue-groove-pine) all cut to approximately 80" long, glue and hammered together as the base slab 4' wide.  The side showing in the example image below was the back of the door, and gets a veneered later on in the steps.

(example image, not mine)

On top of the slab 6" pine face boards cut to the same dimensions as the slab (80" long for the sides, 3' long cross members).  This created a picture frame effect built on top, then thinner 2" pine boards crossing the width in the middle as shown at even spacing.  These were all nailed through the face into the slab of interlocking boards.  Belt clamps were used to hold it together while the glue dried.

Test fit against wall...

I took framing straps and bore out the existing holes using a stepped drill bit to give me a consistent template for the brackets, and a solid mating to the wood..  These were recessed into the top and bottom of the doors using a hand chisel, and the holes were counter sunk, and drilled through to take the hardware to hang the doors.

Captive nuts were hammered into the opposite sides 2 per bracket at the top and bottoms.

 It is important to note that the hardware for the rear door was offset to allow both doors overlap fully.

Brackets were cut out of 2" cold rolled steel using my chop saw, and fitted with pulley hardware as pictured to hold the track.

And since the front door cannot hold its weight by hanging from the top track, bearings were bolted into the bottom of the front door's metal framing strap and a pocket was further chiseled out behind the bracket to make room for it.  These run on an aluminum track I built up in the floor using flat strips of 2" aluminum covered with 1" and 2" as pictured below to make a channel.

Finally the backs were veneered using sand ply with construction adhesive, and sealed with shellac and spray varnish.  The edges and backs of the doors were trimmed with 1.5" black painted aluminum L extrusion.

Now for the second purpose of the doors, all three doors can take legs in the brackets that hold the hangers and they double as our dining room tables!


The hardware for the legs match the threading for the captive nuts on the opposite sides and can screw into the same holes as the hanging brackets.

This solves what we do with our tables while not in use for large parties, since we gave up the dining room to the wife's business.

Hope you enjoyed.