Introduction: Sliding Barn Doors From Reclaimed Prison Fence | How-to

Here they are--the long awaited sliding barn doors, yep these are the ones I have been talking about for months on "The Crafted Podcast".

This was a really fun project! I was commissioned to build two custom sliding barn style doors for a house up in Daytona Beach Florida. The client supplied me with the weathered cypress which was reclaimed from an old prison fence!

The door track and hardware I used were from Rustica Hardware

Tools & products used:

Dewalt 20V XR Brushless Drill
DEWALT DW872 Cold Saw
Dewalt Flexvolt Angle Grinder
Lincoln Electric 140C Mig Welder
Dewalt 20V circular saw
Empire Drywall square
Microjig Grr-rip block
Dewalt DW734 Planer
Fastcap Accuscribe
Dewalt 20V Jigsaw
Zinsser Dewaxed Shellac
Swanson Speed Square
Bessey Auto adjust toggle clamp
Empire Abrasives Quick strip discs
Sculpt Nouveau Cleaner & Degreaser
Sculpt Nouveau - Black Magic
Sculpt Nouveau Copper Plate Patina
Minwax gloss brushing lacquer
DEWALT DW716 Miter Saw
Porter Cable Forstner bit set
Whitlox Wood Forge
Rustica Hardware (Track & rollers)

Tracklist:
1. Cullah - On the rising sun
2. Cletus got shot - Slaughter Mtn.
3. Gnawledge - El Manisero de Potemkin
4. The Fucked up beat - Olympus Mons/We are happy chemtrails

Step 1: Disassembly

Alright, so I received the prison fence in two assembled panels. Obviously t he first step was to disassemble them. I found it easiest to dismantle it by laying it across the bed of my 61' Apache :)

Step 2: Pulling the Fasteners

With the boards isolated the next step was to remove all the screws, nails and staples, out of the boards--in the video you can see me throwing all these rusty fasteners into a jar of vinegar which I use later to weather all the milled sections of the boards.

Step 3: Raw Materials

Here are the raw materials, wood & steel.


The boards are approximately 1.5" thick, and the angle iron I used for the frame is 2x2x1/8"

Step 4: Dimensioning the Frame

On to the frame. I used 1/8" 2x2 angle iron for the frame. Here I'm using a Dewalt cold saw to cut/miter the frame. The door I'm building here is 8' by 2' wide, and I'm mitering the corners at 45 degrees.

Tools used:

Dewalt DW872 cold saw

Step 5: Welding the Frame

Welding up the frame. I'm using a Lincoln Electric 140C MIG welder, and a speed square to assure a proper angle. Prior to welding the frame I ground off the mill scale and put a slight chamfer on the miters with an angle grinder.

Tools used:
Lincoln 140C Mig welder

Dewalt Flexvolt angle grinder

Swanson Speed square

Step 6: Dimensioning the Panel

On to some dimensioning. Here I'm trimming the boards to length with a circular saw to fit inside the frame. One of the coolest features of these boards are the weep holes--the streaks of discoloration where years of rust from the nails leaked down the boards. I removed length from both ends to try and draw emphasis to them.

Tools used:

Dewalt 20V mac circular saw

Step 7: Inserting the Boards

Dropping everything in place--this is the backside of the door. Victory!

Step 8: Battens

These are some battens I made which will be used to hold the vertical boards in place. I used a bandsaw to re-saw the boards to approximate thickness and followed that up with a planer for a flush fit with the back of the frame.

Tools used:

Rockwell 14" Bandsaw
Dewalts DW734 Planer

Step 9: Securing the Panel

I fabbed up some eyelets out of 1/8" steel which I will later drive some hand forged nails through. The eyelets are radiussed 1/8" mild steel. I used a Jigsaw with a metal blade to cut the radius, and again I used a MIG welder to affix them to the frame.

Tools used:
Dewalt 20V Jigsaw

Lincoln Electric 140C MIG Welder

Step 10: Mock-up

Trying to stand these things up to take a look at how everything's coming along. The tall door is actually taller than my garage, so I have to stand it up at an angle--I need a larger shop.

Step 11: Finishing the Boards

I did a test panel with some different finishes--it was important to me to try and leave as much of the natural color/patina of the weathered look as possible. I found that a seal coat shellac had the least affect on the natural color of the boards. Since this is going to be inside, and it's not really a wear item, the shellac will be plenty adequate. Here I'm using a 2lb cut of Zinsser Bulls eye seal cut, and these boards sucked it right up, I think each door took one can.

Products used:

Zinsser Dewaxed Shellac

Step 12: Drawing the Gussets

The gussets were actually an afterthought--it turns out the hardware(rollers) had to be installed 2" in from the outside of the door so I needed to make a support to bolt them to. I tried a few different styles but decided the fleur-de-lis was was the way to go. I did quite a bit of research and these were actually a common accent in a lot of medieval pieces. All of the door hardware was from Rustica Hardware.

Tools used:
ummm...a pencil

Wiss W10T scissors If you've never been impressed with scissors before, give these a shot.

Step 13: Cutting Out the Gussets

Ahhh--how I don't miss the days before I got a plasma cutter... Here I'm cutting out the 1/8" thick gussets with a Dewalt jigsaw with metal cutting blades. No, this is not a fun way of doing things, but it's surprisingly more efficient than you might think. Oh, and also pictured is one of my favorite tools--my toggle stump!

Tools used:
Dewalt 20V max jigsaw

Bessey Auto adjust toggle clamp

Step 14: Welding the Gussets

Welding the corner gussets in place. After welding, I ground the welds flush with an angle grinder.

Tools used:
Lincoln Electric 140C MIG welder

Dewalt Flexvolt Angle Grinder

Step 15: The Patina

Here I'm neutralizing the metal blackening agent with water. I used Black Magic and Copper plate patina from Sculpt Nouveau for the patina.

Products used:

Sculpt Nouveau Cleaner & Degreaser

Sculpt Nouveau - Black Magic

Sculpt Nouveau Copper Plate Patina

Step 16: Attaching the Rivets

Here I'm welding on some rivet heads from the backside of the frame(through the holes that I drilled). The rivet heads came from Ballard Forge in Seattle, Wa. The head diameter is roughly 1". I originally tried securing them with epoxy, and although it worked, they didn't hold up to a glancing blow, so I decided it best to weld them.

Tools used:
Rivet heads - Ballard Forge

Lincoln 140C Mig Welder

Step 17: Sealing the Frame

And shooting three coats of Minwax lacquer, I use a Qualspray LVLP gun with a 1.9mm tip which allows me to spray the finish without thinning.

Tools & products used:
Qualspray AM-6008 LVLP gun

Minwax Gloss brushing lacquer

Step 18: Close-up

Here's a close up of the frame. This was a result after much experimentation with the black magic and copper plate patina. I'm really happy with the way this turned out.

Products used:

Sculpt Nouveau - Cleaner & Degreaser

Sculpt Nouveau - Black Magic

Sculpt Nouveau - Copper Plate Patina

Step 19: Forging the Nails

On to the forged nails. Heating up 1/4" mild steel with a Whitlox charcoal forge.

Tools used:

1/4" mild steel rod

Whitlox wood forge

Step 20: Cutting the Nail

After tapering the nail, I'm about to cut it off before heading the nail. The full process can be seen in the video.

Tools used:
Chisel hardy - Shadowfax forge

1/4" nail header - Centaur forge

Peddinghaus 1000g German pattern hammer

Step 21: Nails!

Here's one metric handful of nails, I used about two or three handfuls.

Step 22: Assembly

Ever seen someone hammer a nail before? Well this is what it looks like. I predrilled pilot holes and I'm staggering the nail placement to avoid splitting the battens.

Tools used:
Dewalt 20V XR Brushless Drill

Step 23: Installing the Rollers

Installing the rollers, the track and rollers was from Rustica Hardware. As per the instructions the hangers are 2" from the edge of the door extend 2-3/8" from the top of the door.

Tools & products used:

Dewalt 20V XR Brushless Drill

Porter Cable Forstner bit set

Rusitca Hardware

Step 24: The Handle

On to the handle, for this I used 12" of 3/4" square stock. In this picture after slightly upsetting(fattening) the ends, I'm hammering in the corners a bit.

Tools used:

Whitlox Forge
Peddinghaus 1000g German pattern hammer

Step 25: Drifting the Handle

Here I'm drifting a hole to 3/8" diameter which will accept the mounting wrap. This part is always stressful. The trick here is to hit hard and work fast as the cold drift wants to suck the heat out of the piece you are drifting.

Tools used:
Peddinghaus 1000g German pattern hammer

Home made drift S7 tool steel

Step 26: Drawing Out the Fixture/wrap

Tapering some 3/8" stock which I will use to wrap around the handle and secure it to the handle plate.

Tools used:
Peddinghaus 1000g German pattern hammer

Step 27: Wrap

Here is the first bend/wrap on the handle. I'm using an Oxy-acetylene torch to focus the heat where I want the material to bend.

Step 28: Wrap Ctd.

Heat, bend, repeat.

Step 29: Mounting Plate

Here is the handle & wrap. Below is a section of 1/8" flat stock I will use for the mounting plate. I cut the flat stock at 12" to match the length of the handle.

Tools used:
Dewalt Flexvolt Angle Grinder

Step 30: Attaching the Handle to the Mounting Plate

After blackening the mounting plate--(which is accomplished by applying wax to the hot metal), I'm welding the handle & wrap to the finished mounting plate.

Tools used:
SC Johnson Paste Wax

Lincoln Electric 140C Mig Welder

Step 31: Attaching the Handle to the Door

Securing the finished handle to the door, I'm very happy with the way these turned out. This was my first time forging a handle like this, and I certainly hope it wont be my last.

Tools used:
Dewalt 20V XR Brushless Drill

Bolts & acorn nuts.

Step 32: Door 1

This is my favorite--notice those weep holes on the bottom section I was talking about earlier--so cool!

Although I apologize for the now haunted house these belong to.

Step 33: Door 2

And door number 2.

Step 34:

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Bio: My name is Zack, I'm a full time craftsman. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I love full time--turning ideas ... More »
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