Introduction: Carved Barn Doors & Diamond Drawer Front (for Kitchen Island)

About: I have an unhealthy relationship with pallet wood. I make fast paced and entertaining build videos on my YouTube channel that are made for everyone, but with the ultimate goal to get the younger generations ex…

The barn doors are custom fabricated from angle iron and pallet slats. The angle iron was repurposed from some large shelving units that were getting tossed and the pallet slats were repurposed from, well, pallets. Each of the pallet slats is scabbed onto with an extra matching pallet wood piece to create the wave profile by freehand power carving each one of them in a specific location. Between these two is a matching diamond pattern drawer front that follows the general shape on the front of the kitchen island.

Part 1 (cabinet & drawers):
Part 2 (wavy doors): You're looking at it!
Part 3 (countertops):

Step 1: Materials & Tools

Notable Materials & Tools used on this build:

- 2x2 angle iron
- Pallet wood slats
- Wood glue -
- Drywall screws
- Mini barn door hardware -
- Table top fasteners -
- Halcyon (amber) varnish -
- Wood sealer -
- 1/2" plywood
- Cherry trim pieces
- Halcyon (clear) Varnish -
- High Performance Epoxy Resin -
- TotalTint Kit -

- Bluetooth hearing protection -
- Respirator (use code "Jackman" for 5% off!) -
- Horizontal metal bandsaw
- Mig welder
- Angle grinder
- Jointing sled
- Table saw -
- Crosscut sled
- Silicone mat
- F style screw clamps -
- Arbortech TurboPlane
- Arbortech Mini Carver
- Arbortech Contour Sander
- Center punch -
- Drill & driver -
- Magnetic shims -
- Metal tap
- Thickness planer -
- Drum sander -
- Spindle sander -
- HVLP sprayer -

Step 2: Metal Frames

I landed some beefy angle iron that used to be used as shelving that a store was disposing. These will be the perimeter of the barn doors, so I start by cutting the pieces all to rough length on my horizontal bandsaw. This gets them to be small enough to work with, then I move my saw over to 45 degrees and cut the miter angles for the corners.

A flap disk on an angle grinder cleans up the paint from the ends of the pieces and then I bring the pieces to my buddies shop to weld them together away from the sawdust in my shop.

Step 3: Cleaning Up the Frames

I use a flap disk to clean up the remainder of the paint on the metal frames and also to clean up my welds, making them flush and invisible.

The inside corners are super tricky, but the good news is that these won't be super visible later. I just need to clean up the majority of the flat surface and the small sanding disk in the Mini Carver does the trick, reaching into the tight spot.

Step 4: Preparing the Pallet Slats

Now I can't believe you had to wait this long for some pallet wood in this build! Good news though is that this definitely won't disappoint. I take some pallets slats and send them through the planer until they are smooth on both sides and measure 1/2" thick. Then I clean up the edge on my jointing sled and rip them to width (2") on the table saw.

So here's the plan Stan, I want to carve the slats to have these little waves in them at specific points so that overall it creates a triangle on each door and a diamond shape with the 2 doors together. I do this by scabbing on a piece of matching wood at these specific locations on each slat.

Step 5: Slat Glue-Up

I use my table saw sled to cut the slats down to length and then also cut down the scabbed on pieces to length from the same piece so that the color matches as closely as possible.

After drawing layout lines on each piece, I glue the extra pieces in place. It's takes a bit of organization to keep track of all of them, but the drawing helps with that since I can check off each piece as I glue it up. Each door is a mirror image, so I have to make a pair of each.

Step 6: Un-clamp

Then, per usual, the pieces need to be carefully and delicately removed from the clamps once the glue dries.

Step 7: Power Carving the Slats

I pick the best looking edge of all of the pieces and make that the front side. On the front side, I scribe on some guidelines with a compass. These arcs are the extents where I will carve to, dishing out the inside and carving down the outside corners. This shape will connect to the back by tapering it to the back edge so that the wave is only on the front edge.

The Arbortech TurboPlane cutting disk is used to carve away most of the material. This makes quick work of it and is able to scoop out the inside curve and also knock down the corners.

On the back edge I also use the carving disk to feather from the front to the back edge, the back edge is flat but the front edge has the wave in it. I also feather the edges of the glued on pieces so that they flow smoothly into the longer slat. This one kind of looks like a butt (ha!).

Step 8: Rough and Finish Sanding

The Mini Carver with the sanding attachment is used to do the rough sanding and to finish shaping the pieces at the same time. This smooths out any lumps left behind by the carving disk. The sanding head also has a rubber backer, so that means that it conforms to the rounded surfaces while it sands.

For finish sanding, I use the contour sander, which also has a rubber backer pad to conform to the surface. Even better though is that this acts like a random orbit sander and leaves behind a buttery smooth surface. These 2 are like the sanding power couple.

Step 9: Rounding Over the Slats

Once the carving is complete, I bring the slats all over to the router table and round over the front edge with a small 1/8" round-over. This compliments the wave on these slats, but also at the same time helps to hide any inconsistencies in the freehand carving. Let this be between you and me, I'm not perfect, but a round over on an edge vs leaving the square edge can make you look like a pro whether or not that's true. In short, it tricks your eye since the shadow lines aren't as harsh, so that way the curve looks perfectly consistent even if it's slightly off.

Step 10: Attaching the Slats to the Metal Frame

Now I can get ready to combine the metal frames and the pallet wood slats! This would have been smart to do prior to welding the frames together, but I never claimed to be smart so you can't put that on me. Also, I didn't know how I was going to attach the slats so I decided to make that a problem for future Jackman, a tried and true method of pushing myself to make progress. Anyway, I decided to drill out a couple of holes on the top and bottom of the frame and use screws to hold the slats in place, so I mark them out, drill the holes by hand, and countersink the holes so the screw heads will sit flush with the surface.

I use spacers to hold all of the slats evenly from one another and then clamp each one down to the back of the frame while I pre-drill and then screw them in place. The black screws that I use will blend in later when I paint the metal frames black, but I actually like the dimpled visual with all of the fasteners visible.

Step 11: Barn Door Hardware

For the barn door hardware, I found this top mounted kit at Rockler that is made for wooden cabinet doors. I scrap the wood screws and instead mark out the hole locations and drill and tap them to receive some machine screws and then fasten the hardware in place.

I use the countertop to figure out how high up I can mount the doors before the start scraping on the bottom of the counter and then lower it down by 1/8" and pre-drill and fasten the rail in place. I found that the floor was slightly out of level, but instead of adding leveling feed I instead tweaked the rail slightly so that it was level instead. It was only off level by maybe 1/16", so visually you can't even tell.

The doors are slid into place and then I install the end caps which will determine where the doors will rest (and also keep them from sliding off the ends of the rails.

Step 12: Adding a Guide Slot

Last step for fabricating the doors is to stabilize the bottom of them so that they aren't slapping around and scraping on the cabinet. I decided to use one of those table top fasteners to achieve this, so while still in place, I mark the doors out so that the fastener will hold the door plumb and 1/8" away from the cabinet. Then I scribe this line along the bottom and freehand grind a slot in the bottom of the door because I'm skilled like that. Then I screw the brackets in place on the cabinet and slide the doors on where they now float like the Titanic used to (too soon?).

Step 13: Applying Finish

The slats are all removed from the frames to apply the finish. For the metal frames I first apply a few coats of black spray paint to cover the surface and give it a consistent color. Then on top of that I apply a few coats of varnish to seal in the paint and also add a slight bit of shine to contrast the cabinet.

For finishing the slats I use my trusty varnish sealer to pull out the glorious colors of the pallet slats. A few coats of this is good enough and then once assembled I'll spray the entire doors with a couple coats of clear varnish to protect them from my sloppy food preparation habits.

The slats are screwed into place and the barn door hardware is reattached and the doors can be installed into place! I'm pretty thrilled with how well the finish came out on these, before the black coloring there was something off about it, but the black along with the hardware really ties it together. Plus the paint/varnish combo looks as if it's power coated and I'm hoping it holds up just as well (so far, so good!)

Step 14: Milling Down Pallet Scrap

Uh oh, what's this?! More pieces of wood that I'm going to cut smaller and then glue back together to make them big again? You'd better believe it, it's apparently all I'm capable of creating. The diamond drawer front in the center of the cabinet was it's own little project, so we'll break that down quickly here. I start with a bunch of pallet wood scraps that were leftover from another project. I plane them down to 1/4" thick and then cut them into 1/2" wide pieces on the table saw.

Using my table saw sled, I'm able to square up the ends and also chop off any of the the ugly bits like cracks and nail holes that are left in the pieces.

I feel like there's some more efficient sorting algorithm then me, but I sort all of the species into piles so that I can cut matching pieces later for all of the radiating diamonds that will be on the door. ("radiant diamond" - file that away in "things no one will ever call me")

Step 15: Applying Strips to Plywood Drawer Front

It starts in the center with a small square piece and then I build it out from there. I glue the pieces in place and then hold them firm for 30 seconds before putting a weight on top for a few minutes to make sure they stay in place. The next diamond is 4 pieces cut to length on the table saw and installed with 1/8" spacers in between it and the first diamond. The same process of gluing, weighing it down, and moving to the next diamond continues.

It's a little easier once I get out to the edge because all of the pieces are the same length, but I still need to keep things organized so that the same species wraps around in the same spaces on both the top and bottom of the door.

Step 16: Adding Edge Banding

With the pieces all mounted in place and dry, I can remove all of the tiny shims. I measure out from the center to determine where to cut the door down to it's final size and then do that on the table saw. Note that I was sure to keep the applicated pieces just short of the edge of the board so that I still had a straight reference surface for this operation.

For the border of the drawer front, I mill up some cherry to match the rest of the cabinet. This is just a 1/4" thick strip around the perimeter which I cut a wider then it needs to be and glue and clamp it in place (skipping the top side for now).

Step 17: Drawer Handle

Now for the top of the door, I want to add a cut out to act as a drawer pull, but one that won't get in the way of the barn doors operation. To do this, I trace out a piece of cherry and cut it on the bandsaw, then finish shaping and sanding it on the disk sander.

I cut the handle out first, so that I can then trace it on the door where the notch will be located. Then this notch can be cut out on the bandsaw, and then fine tuned and sanded down to the line using a spindle sander. After test fitting it a dozen times and tweaking the cut-out, it finally fits perfectly and I can glue and clamp that in place too.

Once dry, the back edge of the edge banding can be brought flush to the back of the plywood panel using a flush trim bit in the router table.

Step 18: Applying Epoxy Fill

Now I want to fill the gaps between the pieces with epoxy to make the entire surface flush, but first I need to seal them up so that the epoxy doesn't leach into the pieces and stain them. I use a varnish and cover the entire surface and grooves with a couple of coats to entirely seal it up.

Then I mix up some 2-part epoxy resin along with some black dye and add it into the cracks using an epoxy syringe. Each of the grooves gets filled up until it's slightly overflowing and then I let the door sit overnight to cure.

Step 19: Sanding and Tweaking

Once cured, the surface can be sanded flush using the drum sander. The drum sander knocks down the extra width that left behind on the edge banding and also removes all of the excess epoxy from the surface. After this, I use the random orbit sander to remove any of the scratches from the surface left behind by the more aggressive drum sander.

Now I can test fit the door by installing some 1/16" shims underneath it and screwing it in place through the front of the center drawer. This allows for me to mark out any inconsistencies in the gap around the perimeter and then use a block plane to trim it up slightly.

Step 20: Flattening Out the Drawer Front

I apply a few coats of spray varnish to the drawer front and set it aside while I work on other parts of the project. After about a week I returned to install the drawer front permanently and noticed that it had warped pretty badly (about 1/4" in the center from top to bottom). But I came up with a great idea to flatten it out and also reinforce it with cross bracing, which I needed to do anyway.

To fix both issues, I get some 1-1/2" angle iron and cut it down to length with an angle at the top. I also notch out the front corner of the drawer so that the angle iron can be recessed and sit flush with the surface. This is predrilled and then screwed in place into both the drawer front and the drawer itself.

Step 21: Adding Cross Bracing

This successfully flattened the drawer front by pulling it into the straight angle iron pieces, but it still needed some cross-bracing since pulling at the top of the drawer to open it would rip the drawer front right off the drawer. I had some bar stock lying around that happened to be the perfect size, so I drilled out a hole in the angle iron and the drawer and bolted it in place.

The angle iron is finished with black paint and clear varnish just like the barn door metal and then the drawer can now be installed in place. That angle bracing proved to be rock solid and beefed up the door in all the right places. The reason for the drawer opening being so tall is because I later installed a trash can in here that filled the entire space.

Step 22: Glamour Shots

Hold up Jackman! You teased me about a pivoting, transforming, convertible countertop that is both a bar top for 2 and a dining table for 2. Honestly, that's all I'm here for and I've only stuck out the other boring garbage to learn about this thing! Well now is your time, champ, that's in chapter 3. The countertop was kind of it's own design concept, so I decided to break that and the cabinet out as a separate videos and tutorials.

Part 1 (cabinet & drawers):
Part 2 (wavy doors): You're looking at it!
Part 3 (countertops):


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