My wife wanted baby gates for our house but was hoping for something with a little more character. Off to the inter-web! She really liked the doors we eventually found on The Pink Moose. Since I was installing the doors (one upstairs, one down stairs) against a banister, I figured it would take a lot of custom fitted work. So, I decided to tackle the project myself.
I got all the wood and hardware from the Home Depot. When it was all said and done I spent about $350.00 for both doors or $175.00 each. It would have been cheaper if I used knotty pine but I went with select pine. The doors were easy to make but I actually spent more time fitting the hardware then making the doors.
We have used them for about a month now. We ended up installing automatic door closers for a few reasons. The older kids would forget to close the doors. And if they did, the latch in the sixth picture was just the right height to potentially give my four year old a black eye (if she ran into it). Also, the kids were slamming the doors shut which was so loud. The spring piston closes it nice and quiet.
Step 1: Measuring the Frame
First I used scotch tape to mock up the hinges and locking plate against the wall. Then I measured the opening of stairwell to get a rough idea of how wide to make the door. I made sure to leave plenty of gap on both sides to prevent little fingers from getting pinched in a closing door. About 1" on the latch side and 1/4" on the hinge side.
I used a radial arm saw to cut out the frame first. Then I cut the beadboards to size.
Step 2: Join the Frame
For the downstairs door I used floating mortise and tenon joints. A router table comes in real handy for cutting out the mortises. I didn't measure anything. I just marked a layout with a pencil and fit the pieces around my markings. I used my table saw to make the tenons. Getting a perfect fit took a lot of time though. So when I made the upstairs door I just used pocket hole screws. That worked just as good. I used pipe clamps to for the glue up.
Step 3: Add the Beadboards
Beadboard comes pre-cut with a tongue on one side and a groove on the other. I applied a little glue along each board and fit them together. Then I screwed the boards in all the way around the frame. Make sure to clean up any excess glue with a damp rag and wet toothbrush.
Step 4: Test Fit
I didn't want to drill into the oak banister so my workaround was encasing it in pine. The hardware attaches to the pine and not the banister. Now if I want to remove the door I just have to patch the screw holes in the drywall on the hinge side.
This is where I marked the position of the handle. All the other parts are modified based on this location. I also trimmed the door down on each side because it was too wide.
The top of the door has a cap the runs the whole length. This is the step that I added it.
Step 5: Door Hardware
With the handle screwed in place, I drilled a pilot hole all the way through. I used my router to cut a channel out but it wasn't deep enough for the entire thickness of the door. To complete the channel I had to flip the door over and cut from the back. This is where the pilot hole helped out. It showed me where to start cutting on the other side.
I also used my router to counter sink the locking plate on the pine post that mounts to the banister. This particular set of hardware has a bar that you can slide sideways to lock the door shut. In order to accommodate this feature I cut a hole in the banister post (sixth picture).
Step 6: Cutting Down the Latch
The door hardware I got is designed for an outdoor gate. As is, it was too long for this set up. To figure out the right length, I installed it and marked the place where it contacted the locking plate. From there I use a hacksaw to cut it down and a diamond wheel to shape it.
Step 7: Counter Sink and Thumb Latch
I wanted all the screws on these doors to be uniform. To do that I counter sunk all the holes on my drill press.
The thumb latch was also too long so I cut that down as well.
The channel I cut in the door turned out to be too long. This caused the thumb latch to slide out of place. To prevent this I used a file to cut a notch which keeps a retaining ring in place.
Step 8: Patch Up the Gaps
The upstairs door was more involved the first one I made. I made a few mistakes so I had extra opportunities to use spackling paste. The location of the locking plate seemed to give me the most trouble. Normally you would use this paste on drywall but it works just fine here too. I filled all the voids and sanded them down once dry.
Step 9: Paint
"Key Largo" was the color of choice here. Any of the parts that touched the house were painted before they were mounted to the wall or banister. I continued on from there. The screws were all countersunk, covered with spackling paste, and painted over.
Step 10: All Done
Here are more pictures from the finished product.
Thanks for reading. Brent