Why a Dutch Door?
For starters, I've always thought Dutch Doors were just plain pretty cool! Not only that, but they are extremely functional to let air and light between rooms, while still preventing movement of people and animals. In our case, we had a toddler who liked to wander out of her room at night. Rather than adding a "baby-gate", which never works well, we decided to build a Dutch Door, and just close the bottom half of it. This is also great if you have pets that you need to keep in or out of on part of your house. And for children, the open top of the Dutch Door can also make a great Puppet Theater!
The basics of this project are adding a hinge, cutting the door, adding trim, and painting. It's really that easy.
Basically, it's a one-day project for the wood-working, and then however much time required for painting and letting wood putty dry.
In this case, I used a recycled, second-hand door and hardware that I already had, making this a very affordable project. I only needed to buy some paint and sandpaper!
Tools and materials are fairly basic. You will need a good crosscut saw and ideally, a router.
Safety Glasses, work gloves, hearing protection
cross-cut saw (Corded Circular Saw)
Hammer and punch (for removing hinge pins)
Rotary Tool such as Dremel brand
A second door - hollow-core
an extra hinge
door knob (can be reused from existing door)
door halves latch (safety bolt, etc.)
1-1/8th" cedar length is width of door
Masking tape and Marker
I already had nearly all the materials on-hand. As a home-owner, I have a box of assorted knobs and door-hinges in the garage. By asking around, I was able to find a second-hand hollow-core door at no cost. I bought new some paint, sandpaper, and few other materials, which I spent about $20 on.
This instructable will show you how to build a "Dutch Door".
Step 1: Plan & Visualize
Let's plan out this project.
I like to bring things into the real world through temporary materials, like marking things with removable masking tape. I can write on the tape, make notes to myself, and actually see what the results may be.
This is a solid-core, interior, four-panel bedroom door. The door swings into the bedroom, so the hinges are on the inside of the room.
I put masking tape on various parts of the door so that I could indicate where the cut-line would be, where I would add the hinge, and other notes, like a reminder to spin the knob around so that it locks from the hall side.
I originally thought it would be a fairly simple project to just cut the original door. However, I also wanted to take this back to being a regular door in the future if I wanted to. I checked at the home-improvement store to see how much a door similar to mine would cost (in case I wanted to buy a replacement in the future.) I was surprised to see that four-panel doors are not the current popular style, so it would have cost extra time and money to buy one.
Instead, I thought it would be better to save the original door, and replace it with the one I would cut down to a Dutch Door, even if it was a different style. That's the approach I ended up taking.