Winters in Canada are often really beautiful; the snow, the cold, the crystal clear night skies, and the snuggling up with a hot chocolate really makes for an experience you don’t often get in Cornish winters, which are usually a bit more on the stormy, wet, and gray side.
Winters in Canada, however, are not for DIY lovers with no real workspace. Our shed is pretty big, but not big enough to do any large cuts. So the winter is my time to dream new projects, bug Jeff about new projects, and long for the warmer days so we can get out and make those projects a reality. This week was the first day of spring and we made a start to our DIY projects for the year!
As you may know, we renovated our laundry room with Paul’s help last year and made a powder room in there too. This necessitates a new door.
We had previously made duel-swinging doors in the hope that this would be the best solution for the narrow space we had to work with, but the springs had to be so tight that it was hard to open and it just didn’t work. We discussed a pocket door but I’ve never really liked them so we decided to go ahead and build a barn door. Oh so trendy. We have always loved the style and considered it when we moved into the house, but the hardware was special order and very expensive back then. Now that the sliding door is more mainstream, you can buy the hardware fairly cheaply from most major hardware stores; we got ours on sale at Rona. Unfortunately, nothing goes 100% smoothly for these kinds of projects, so we ended up having to build our own door for the irregular height/width space we were covering.
We were happy to find lots of photos online of regular, non-carpenter-types building these kinds of doors which gave us the confidence to at least try. At around $119 total, our door would be almost $300 cheaper than the custom ones we found online so the savings were completely worth it! We started off buying six 6” tongue and groove pine boards for the back and four 1 × 4 pine boards to build a frame on the front.
We learned during another project that the size of boards is variable, so we were careful to take that into account when measuring for the thickness of the door. Unfortunately we did not take it into account when measuring the width of the tongue and groove resulting in our door actually measuring 31 inches, which did not cover the entry way! So we went and bought another piece to bring the total width to 35 inches which is exactly perfect. We cut all the boards to 81 inches in length and glued them all together for extra stability.
Next came the frame. Jeff got a Kreg jig for his birthday last year which we have not yet had the chance to break out, so we were excited to finally give it a try! We measured the frame at 81 inches long and cut the side pieces at that length. We then cut the pieces for the central supports. We had decided to make a decorative X on the bottom of the door, these angles were cut at 45 degrees to make it easy and turned our really well. Jeff then used the pocket hole jig to put the pieces together:
After we were this far along we glued the frame to the door so it wouldn’t shift whilst we were securing the two together. The holes needed to be pre-drilled so the wood wouldn’t split and it worked really well.
We were really happy with the outcome so far, the door is almost perfectly square, which is pretty good for a couple who have never done much in the way of wood work before!
Jeff had to open up the wall in the laundry room in order to fix a header into the wall to support the weight of the door and the hardware and after that we fixed the hardware to the wall.
We picked out a gray stain and finished the door by softening the corners of the planks and banging up the door a little before re-fastening the hardware to the door.