Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A door for the stable

Before leaving to sea last time, I started making a new door for the North side of the stable.
But I never got around to make an entry about it.
Now I am back ashore again, and I have worked on finishing the project.

Before starting the project I read up on the door making theory in "window and door making " from Lost Art Press. The descriptions were pretty close to what I figured, but the book caters a little bit more for front doors than stable doors.
I also checked "Das Zimmermannsbuch", and there were some gems too.

The door leads from the stable to the paddock, and it is very rarely seen from the outside by anyone except for the horses. And I actually doubt that they are much interested what the door looks like, as long as it is opened to let them in in the afternoon.

Ideally a door of this type is made out of tongue and groove boards, but I didn't want to buy any, so I decided that shiplapped boards would be sufficient. These I am able to make myself on the shaper.

The frame was drawbored together, and the first layer of boards were nailed to the Z shape. TO make room for a little wood movement, I placed a small piece of sheet metal between each board as I nailed them on. After nailing I removed the sheet metal again. This gives room for the boards to move a bit with each season.

The door is mounted directly onto one side of the wall, so there is no frame that it should fit into. This also means that the door won't close fully unless the wall is completely level and flat (which it isn't).
I wanted to use the old hinges, so I had to stick to the basic design of the old door. I think it is the original door, and it has held up OK since 1918, so the design can't be that bad.

After marking the outline of the door opening to the first layer of boards, I sawed out the curve and marked where I wanted my next layer to be.
A board was placed on the centre of the door, and the top layer boards were given a small moulding on the shaper. These boards are also shiplapped by the way.

I nailed on the second layer so the outside of the boards were flush with the line I had marked. Most of them were flush to the centre board as well, but a few of them had a little gap there.
My idea is that it is a lot easier to cover the centre with a moulded board, and thereby cover up any irregularities than it would be to make the centre perfect, and having to make a nice looking outside by sawing and planing etc.

After fitting all the boards, I chamfered the edges of the frame assembly. My crappy router managed to shift the bit while I was chamfering, so I had to plane all of them with a block plane to make them look almost the same.

I installed the door and finished by chiselling 2014 in Roman numerals.
Tomorrow I hope to paint it. It will be red on the outside, but I haven't really decided if it should be painted on the inside or if I should leave it natural. I am considering painting it white because it will help lighten up the stable.
First side of the front is nailed on.

The front of the door showing the small gaps next to the centre board.

The old door.

The old door form the outside.

Sideburns and Roman numerals never go out of style.


  1. You're right... never out of style.

    1. I just showed the family the pictures of your grain painted chest, they were absolutely blown away by the beauty of it.

  2. Looks great Jonas...especially with the red paint shown in the followup post. What thickness stock did you use? The way I read this is the vertical boards are nailed to the Z-frame and then the diagonal boards are nailed to the vertical ones. Is that correct?
    Thanks, Bill

    1. Hi Bill.

      Glad you like the door :-)

      The frame is made out of 2x4.
      The vertical and the diagonal boards are both 18 mm thick (a little less than 3/4"). I processed them myself on the thickness planer, so that is how I ended up with a slightly odd size..
      The vertical boards are about 5" wide, with one or two of them maybe 3". That way I could get to the desired width of the door without sawing of the sides in the end.
      The diagonal boards are about 3.5" wide, but again I made al of the boards out of some 1x4 larch I had lying around, so it was a bit twisted etc. That is why I ended up with those sizes.

      The vertical boards were first nailed to the Z-frame, using 2.5" nails. Normally I like to clench nails, but I wanted this door to look "clean" on the back side, so I omitted it on this project.

      I next marked the centre of the door, and mounted a narrow board (2.5") vertically.
      I then cut all the diagonal boards and nailed them on.
      Finally I nailed on board to cover the centre.

      The only problem with a door is that it is a bit awkward to move around in the shop during the build. making it out of 3/4 boards means that it is stout without being ridiculously overbuilt. This way it is still possible to handle it single handed.

  3. Just like your sideburns, the new door looks awesome!! Did you use larch for the wood? Also, did you use the original door as a template for the new one?

    I don't like to use a router for chamfering, I would rather do it by hand whenever possible, but I do like the router for adding beads, and sometimes for mortising.

    If I had a vote, I would choose painting the interior white, or giving it a clear oil finish. At that, the red may blend in a bit better with the brick.

    1. Hi Bill.

      I guess having sideburns is becoming my "trademark" :-)
      The old door was a bit of a different design, since it was made so a quarter of the door could be opened for ventilation purposes. That is from back when they had cows in the stable. I didn't want to make a feature that would never be used, so I omitted it.
      The old door was also just plain on the outside.
      I did use the old hinges and the latch mechanism though. That way they can hopefully sit there for the next 96 years.

      Whenever I have to make a stopped chamfer, I think a router is the easiest way to go, but mine is so crappy it is beyond my capabilities to describe it.. I should really consider getting another one.
      I very rarely add beads because I am afraid that the bit will shift and the whole thing is going to be messed up.

      My wife said that she would prefer the door to be red on both sides, so I followed her wish. After all, she is the one who spends the most time in the stable (besides the horses off course).

      Thank you.

    2. My comment somehow disappeared....

      I was saying that I have two routers, one Craftsman that I purchased long before I had ever made furniture, and a Ryobi plunge router which was given to me as a gift that I've never used.

      The Craftsman is a "low-end" router, but it is a pretty good tool, and from what I understand it was one of the last American made routers that Craftsman produced.

      The Ryobi is supposedly a higher end unit (at least as far as Ryobi is concerned) and it does have a 1/2 inch chuck as opposed to the 1/4 inch that the Craftsman has. Still, I've never felt the need to use it.

      I'm not a real big fan of routers, though I know that some woodworkers swear by them and can do some impressive things with them. But I do admit that I use a router on occasion, and it's certainly a tool that has it's time and place.

    3. Hi Bill.

      Sorry for the late reply, but I just came home from a week long course in Tromsø (Norway).
      I have only used my router for making some mouldings, and chamfering stuff. I think that if I bought a better router I would use it more, but I very rarely find myself longing for one, so I try to get by without it as much as possible.
      The one I have now has got some sort of plunge function, but I never use it for those operations.
      I guess that if you started using a router very often, then you'll automatically start doing fancy stuff with it. But I have to say that I have never felt an urge to use a router, so I think I'll just get by with this old crappy one until it finally blows up :-)