I always appreciate the odd request or the unusual item; something that is a little unusual but well within our range. We got such a request a few weeks back to make a rustic barn door, a first for us. We were sent an inspiration photo (see below), the client gave us the material and we were off.
So how does one go about building and installing a barn door? Well I will tell you dear reader. First things first, the inspiration photo shows a rustic but non-traditional door. What does that mean? Well doors have a certain structure because wood moves across its width due to seasonal changes (basically high humidity in the atmosphere - summer - means the wood grows and inversely shrinks with low humidity - winter). So if you ever wondered why old doors have frames around central panels (I mean who hasn't wondered about that, right?) this is reason. The wider the wood, the more it moves so if you have a wide door (like our barn door) you will need something to prevent the wood from moving so much that it affects the function of the door. Hence why most old school barn doors have either a frame around the panel or battens (cross pieces usually applied going diagonally across the face of the door, generally this is what we think of when we think of a barn door).
After thinking about it we realized that we were going to have to build this door in an unconventional way if we were to be true to the picture. We decided that we would nail the exterior barn wood (tiled across the face) to a central stable core (in this instance 3/4" plywood, painted black). We laid out the pieces in a tile like formation, marked them and nailed them on (with a little glue for good measure).
This wood was cut from reclaimed wood that was sliced pretty thin and as such was pretty funky to work with. You can see all of the checks, knots and how warped and bowed the material was. It all contributes to a very cool look in the end but not easy to set straight and put together properly.
We glued pieces of oak on the two side edges to finish off the door.
We also had to find the barn door hardware to finish off the piece. We looked around for a while (you wouldnt believe the amount of barn door hardware is out there, thank you Chip and Joanna Gaines) and found some hardware that looked very similar to inspiration photo at Richelieu.
Since this was a rustic piece and really wasn't going to be handled very much (it was meant to be more of a wall art piece than a everyday functional door) we didn't put a finish on it (a rarity in our business). It came out beautifully in my opinion.