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Thread: Barn doors

  1. #1
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    Barn doors

    My daughters family have a door-less barn that they are planning on enclosing to make and area for kids and music. They have two doors 82Wx79H and 65Wx79H. I am thinking of board and batten for both. What type of sheet good do you suggest for this as the core. These will be painted. Much obliged for any suggestions on this project. The worst of this whole thing for me is I now have to find another place to store my walnut from the tree I took 8/22. My daughter tends to get things done so foot dragging isnít going to work

  2. #2
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    Apr 2017
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    Walnut will make nice doors.

    Typically a barn door will have a bunch of vertical planks with a Z on the outside to hold it together. T&G if you want to keep the weather and mosquitos out.

  3. #3
    What Tom said- t&g planks with a solid wood diagonal braced frame, either top and bottom rails or a 4-sided frame. Allow for the planks to expand to avoid the doors bowing across their width,

  4. #4
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    What a relief that, given the recent interior design atrocities, these are doors for an actual barn! I too would make them from solid wood, but if you want sheet goods the way to go is probably MDO (medium density overlay, not to be confused with MDF). It is high quality ply with a paper surface that paints very well, made for exterior sign work.

  5. #5
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    Actually, since posting this I needed a door for a small shed I have built. Hadnít done this type door before. Have to hang it but it went together pretty simply with 5/4 T&G Batons are 4/4 white oak. It is 30x72. Iíl be up at their place this weekend and will detail things a bit better.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    I've made all my barn doors this century using T1-11 plywood, with 5/4 western red cedar frames and diagonals (for looks, they don't actually add much). That includes a couple of 8' sliding doors (although I backed those with treated 2 bys for strength). Easy peasy, and they never sag.

  7. #7
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    Houston, Texas
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    What Roger said. MDO is a WONDERFUL product!
    Don't let it bring you down,
    It's only castles burning,
    Just find someone who's turning,
    And you will come around

    Neil Young (with a little bit of emphasis added by me)

    Board member, Gulf Coast Woodturners Association

  8. #8
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    Apr 2018
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    Cambridge Vermont
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    Is the door going to be sliding with a track on top or swinging? If swinging then the diagonal brace should be designed so pushes against both a top and bottom rails and stiles. If not using stiles like your for your shed then you can make a pocket in the rails for the brace to fit into. There's several joints used in timber framing that work well.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2009
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    Peoria, IL
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    Why sheet goods? Just added a couple more rails and nail the board and battens to it. There were no sheet goods even available when old barns were made. you don't need it now.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    Why sheet goods? Just added a couple more rails and nail the board and battens to it. There were no sheet goods even available when old barns were made. you don't need it now.
    Price and stability, which cuts down on maintenance.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Harris View Post
    Price and stability, which cuts down on maintenance.
    Are you a farm boy Jimmy? What kind of maintenance are you talking about? Ever heard of "dead as a door nail"? That meant that you drove the nails into the frame or bracing, then bent it over and set the end of the nail from the back. "Dead nailing". Barns were built for centuries before plywood was invented. I was in a lot of barns as a boy and young man putting up hay. Not a one had plywood doors and they opened right up. I'll let my experience back up my comment.

  12. #12
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    Don't know whether Jimmy is a farm boy or not, but I am. I've lived on farms for nearly 70 years, and used and built a number of barns and other outbuildings.

    So, why sheet goods? Because I get a rock solid, dimensionally stable door that never sags. Built with screws, and just thin bead of silicone between the framing pieces and the T1-11 to keep water out, they are maintenance free for decades. On the other hand, 40+ years ago when we moved here, I built more than one the traditional way, with T & G verticals, diagonal buck, all held together with clinched galvanized 7d nails. All of them sagged and had fit issues within 20 years, pretty much like every traditional barn door on every farm I've ever been on. The sagging is, in my opinion, inevitable, because with traditional construction, the verticals swell and shrink by a good half inch every year, which loosens the nails, and the T & G joints.

    As a side benefit, the T1-11 doors take about 1/3 the effort to build and hang. The only drawback I see with them is that you have plywood that is dead over the size of the door you're building, because any wind in it will be there forever - you can't just screw it down to flatten it the way you do plywood sheeting.

  13. #13
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    switched the bigger doors over to mostly metal due to traditional way never lasting more than 20-30 years. metal u ends with 2x6 crossways and metal skin. lighter, don't need painted, easier to open and close.
    Ron

  14. #14
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    Feb 2016
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    NE Iowa
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    Yes, metal doors have real advantages. I just don't like the look of metal doors on my wooden barn walls, so I build traditiona looking wooden doors, using nontraditional materials.

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