Introduction: Wooden Doormat
Several months ago I was looking on Pinterest for an idea of something to build. I came across a wooden doormat I had looked at once before, several years ago. A couple of weeks ago my mom sent me a picture of a wooden doormat that she liked and thought I should try to make. A couple days ago I picked up an issue of Fine Woodworking that focused on outdoor gardening projects. I bet you will never guess what one of the projects in it was. That’s right, a wooden doormat. So I decided to make a wooden doormat. The article in Fine Woodworking was about a page long with a few pictures to go along with it, but that was it. I read through it when I first got the magazine but didn’t refer back to it till after I finished my doormat. I didn’t really want to let what they say cloud what I was building. So I went up and measured my doormat to my office, a nice pirate themed piece, and it was 30x18 inches. When you decide to make your own doormat you don’t have to use these measurements, clearly you can make any size you want. To make a doormat this size though these are the materials you will need.
2x8x6 or 2- 2x4x6s
Medium sized rope, at least 6 feet
Step 1: Cutting the Pieces
Set your table saw to 1.5 inches, or the same thickness as your wood is. Then you cut your material so they are all the same height and width. After you are done with that set your table saw sled with a stop block at 4 inches. Now cut 12 pieces 4 inches long. Move your stop block over to 8 inches and cut 33 pieces. Now you have 12 pieces 4 inches long and 33 pieces 8 inches long.
If you don't have a table saw sled a miter saw with a stop set at 4 and 8 inches works fine also, even a hand saw will work if you want to go that way. I also rounded the edges with a router but that's only if you feel like it.
Step 2: Drilling the Holes and Laying Everything Out
Before I did anything else I assembled the doormat on the workbench. I wanted to make sure all the pieces would work together, and they did. To help with assembling this I got a piece of blue painters tape and put it down on the workbench and marked out 30 inches, so I would know where the ends would go. That’s when the tricky part started, finding out where to drill all the holes on each piece. To do that I had to figure out what the distances between each piece was going to be, so in other words a lot of trial and error. After several attempts I figured out there were two different spaces, one of witch is 1 ⅞ inches and the other was an even 3 inches. Make sure you cut a spacer of each size, it will save you a lot of time and headache later.
Now that you have the doormat set up on the worktable, take a long ruler and line it up on the place where the second boards overlap the first boards. Make the ruler flush on one side and using a pencil lightly make a line down the other side. Do the same thing on each of the overlaps. After you have the lines marked make sure to label all the boards. I labeled all of the first overlap as 1, the 2nd overlap as 2, and so on for all the different overlaps. Now that you have them all marked and labeled you will need to make a super simple jig. Find a piece of scrap plywood or MDF that fits on your drill press and put 2 pieces of scrap wood on it at a 90 degree angle. Leave a little bit of space between the edges so you can clamp it on the drill press table but that's it, see pretty simple.
Now to drill all the holes. Find a drill bit large enough to fit the rope through. You want it to fit tight but not too tight. You want to be able to get it through the hole but not so loose that there is a lot of room for the rope to move after it's through. Test several different sizes of drill bits on some scrap wood to make sure it's the right size. After you find the right size bit go ahead and put it in the drill press. Make a mark on one of your short pieces at 1 inch from the end. Set your jig on the drill press where every time you put a new piece of wood in the jig the drill bit will hit the middle of the wood at 1 inch in. Now get to drilling. It takes a while but it's not hard work. Drill all the short pieces this way. Now get 14 of the long pieces and drill one side of them at 1 inch as well, these will be the pieces that go between the short ones. After all those are done, set the jig up where the drill bit is hitting the center of the piece and at the mark labeled 1. Get all of the 1s and drill your holes for that, the holes might be different depending on which side of the overlap you are drilling. I found it simplest to leave my doormat set up and only bring one group of pieces to the drill press every time, it keeps me from mixing them up. When I finished all of one group I would bring them back and set them back into the assembled doormat. After finishing each set, leave everything assembled, take a step back and look at how good its all going to look, then realize hey wait a second why do I see a whole on the top of that piece and not on the side. That's what I did at least. Maybe you should just go ahead and just do it right the first time so you can skip the step where you have to set everything back up and remake one piece. I think it’s easier that way.
Step 3: Finishing and Tying It All Together
Before you run the rope through the holes I found that it's easier to stain and finish your pieces first. I used teak oil on the pieces because its a good outdoor finish...and its what I already had in the shop.
Start by tying a simple knot in one end of your rope. Then take all your side pieces and put the rope through the holes you drilled, put the rope as tight as you can and snake it through the next set of holes. Keep doing this until you are through all the holes, and your doormat is all together. Before you tie the second knot go back through and pull every last bit of slack you can out of the rows. Now all you have to do is tie the second knot. Tie it as close to the doormat as you can, I ended up getting a small amount of slack through my entire mat but not enough to be a problem. One last thing you can do here if you want is to put a dollop of superglue on your knot to help keep it from slipping or coming undone. Cut off any excess rope you have and you are finished.
Step 4: Put It in Front of Whatever Door You Want
This is kind of a thick and bulky doormat, if you used 2 inch material. That makes it perfect for sitting in front of your garden shed or other out building, or your front door. Having it made from 2 inch material gives dirt, mud, or whatever else is stuck to your shoes plenty of space to fall into, and when the gaps get filled its easy to spray out with the hose.