My wife and I recently purchased a property with lots of material that used to be fences and what looks to have been an old pole barn. We also recently added a bedroom to our house where the end was a closet on one end and a bath on the other. Deciding that barn doors would be an excellent solution to our sliding door needs (we were going for more rustic than modern otherwise pocket doors would have done the trick) - we started to explore what was available... seems you can buy new ones for 400$ and up... or you can buy a real barn door for 800$ and up... so, the is my take on ... Old material, new doors.
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Step 1: Selecting the Material for the Door Face
The pickets we had were hand hewn for an old picket fence. They were all roughly the same size, 1" think, 4" long, and about 36" long. Since they were hand cut and were meant to be more functional than aesthetic, the tips are all different angles... but all end in a point.
Since these are old weathered boards, there was lots of interesting knots, stains, general "seasoning" that give character.
Step 2: Frame
of course you can't just stack pickets... you have to have a frame.
Since the doors are not keeping the wild things out - we made them very lightweight and gave a frame made of 1" x 4" boards (pulled from the stack next to the pickets) - I was lucky enough to find straight boards that were in this stack - otherwise, I would have gone to the lumberyard for boards that were true.
Not knowing anything about building doors... all I wanted was to give structure and rigidity to the pickets. A simple rectangle frame around the perimeter with corner brackets was strong enough to do the trick.
Step 3: Supports and Rollers
The tricky part of this project became, "how do we open and close the doors?"
Most barn doors are hung... I didn't like just the rail on rollers look so we took a different approach. We decided that if we put the doors on casters that roll along the floor, and used a rolling bracket to keep the top close to the wall we could get the aesthetics that we wanted without sacrificing integrity of the door sliding system.
So... the doors are held up by small casters
The top of the door is guided by a steam pipe running the length of the door at the top. What holds the door to the steam pipe is this:
12" flywheel from an old tractor on the front of the door.
a 6" carriage bolt running through the center.
Nylon spacers between the flywheel and the door and then
as the bold runs through the flywheel there are fender washers on each side of the door.
another nylon spacer
then a large fender washer
2 nylon spacers (that would ride on top of the steam pipe)
finally one more large washer
locking nut to keep it all together.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
Just to complete the picture we added handles (again found some old pulls... not sure what they were to in their past life), painted clouds on the ceiling, added robe hooks, and hung crown moulding to match the other rooms in the house.
The flywheels, while not necessary for this project, give a fun added touch and do spin as the door opens and closes.