Introduction: Wood Strip Sliding Doors From Leftover Planks (Easy & Ecological!)
My wife and I planned a set of sliding doors for our closet. We wanted the doors to be:
- Lightweight, so that they are easy to push.
- Thin, so they wouldn't take up more closet space than necessary.
- Ecological. Wood as a building material takes up carbon from the atmosphere.
- Cheap, preferably using leftover materials.
- Easy to make without buying expensive extra tools.
The doors are made by cutting lots and lots of little wooden strips from a bigger plank, and gluing the strips on an OSB board in a herringbone pattern. To make the strips you can use the leftover planks that you've had lying around for years. The planks could even all be different, short or long, wide or narrow, it doesn't matter.
Step 1: Making the Wood Strips
We had heat treated leftover aspen planks lying around at home waiting for a good use, and decided to give them a permanent home as the decorative surface of our new DIY sliding doors. I cut the planks to length before making the strips. I used a bandsaw with a fairly narrow blade, and made the strips about 2-3 mm thick. Thin bandsaw blades always tend to wander a bit, so the thickness varies a bit. You could make the strips thicker, and plane or sand them, but I liked the rough and uneven look that the bandsaw blade gave. You can also use a table saw with a narrow blade, but you'll lose a lot of material to the blade.
If you have a planer, you might consider evening the thickness of your wood planks before cutting the strips. This way they're all the same size, and fit together nicely when gluing. The thicker your plank, the wider your wood strips will be. The strips can also be of different widths, but you will need to take that into account when making your pattern. My aspen planks were all exactly 27 mm thick. I needed about 400 little strips to cover three 60 cm wide doors from floor to ceiling (height 260 cm), which meant about 7 meters of 14 cm wide plank.
Step 2: Gluing
The door base is made from oriented strand board (OSB). It is cheap, strong, lightweight, and doesn't warp. Alternatively you can use particle board, or MDF. I would recommend against plywood because of its tendency to warp. I used a regular PVA wood glue.
Before beginning to glue the strips onto the OSB base, I placed the base board on the floor, and gave it a quick sanding to make the glue stick better. Then I drew a line through the middle and marked correctly angled lines for the first two wood strips. Then I continued gluing the wood strips one by one, using the middle line as a rough guide. To press the wood strips down after gluing I used some leftover bags of concrete mix.
Step 3: Trimming and Finishing the Edges
I used a router with a flush trim bit to cut the excess wood off of the edges. If you don't have a router you can also use any kind of saw to cut the excess.
I glued some more wood strips to the edges of the doors to hide the edge of the OSB, and flush cut them with the router as well.
Step 4: Tracks and Slides
After waxing the doors, I hung them from the ceiling with an aluminium track sliding door mechanism. The mechanism didn't include proper floor guides, so I made some using the same leftover aspen planks that I used for the strips.
Step 5: Final Thoughts
All in all, the doors took about 20-30 working hours to complete. The longest part (if you don't count the planning which took my wife and I several days) was gluing the wood strips, which took about 5 hours per door. If you can use wider wood strips, you might be able to save some time there.
Looking at the costs, the OSB boards cost about 30€, the aspen planks cost about 30€ (but we already had them for free), sliding door mechanism about 50€, and the wax about 30€, to the total of 110€ - or 140€ if you take into account the original price of the leftover planks.
We think the doors turned out very nicely, and we were happy to find good use for the beautiful leftover wood we'd been saving. If we inspired you to make something, please let us know! Happy crafting!
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