Monday, March 3, 2014

Interior Bathroom Door...Finally

We have mentioned installing wall-mounted sliding "barn-style" doors, using the excess wood from the flooring install to finish off the space.  We really liked the look of the slab style doors we saw in other blogs, and Polly has a Pinterest Board for the door concepts we liked.

We wanted to finish (at least) the bathroom door by Christmas 2013, but a unexpected hospitalization for Christopher put this on hold until just before Valentines Day.

Keeping the wood flat and off the floor.  Yes, those are old crib rails.

The wood was planed by our good friends at Glendale Lumber nearly a year ago...yea, I know.  I generally like to have all the parts in place and in house before I begin a project...I managed to store the wood flat, and kept it from warping or bowing for all this time.

Sourcing the hardware was actually the most difficult part of the whole process.  We liked the look of the pulley "wheel" being hidden with the iron.

Problem was, these, at the time we started looking for the parts--two years ago--were pretty pricey.  Fortunately for us, the prices dropped 30% or more in the last six moths or so--we think it is due to the increased use of the barn doors on home improvement shows, such as DIY's Bath Crashers, Mega Dens, Man Caves, and Blog Cabin.

Back in July 2013, we found the website Rustica Hardware and settled on the Industrial Barn Door Hardware (Slyder Black Nylon) @ $268.00 each; Raw Steel finish for the rails;  with Barn Door Pulls (Industric, 8", No Flush Pull (only the front door pull), Raw Steel finish @ $40.00 each.  Total cost of the hardware for each door was $328.00.

Damage from improper packing.

Rustica’s customer service department was great—they replaced the damaged pieces and the rusted tracks for free—these items are heavy, and I guess the new guy was in the packing room that day, because there was just not enough padding to prevent the hardware from scratching each other. No worries, they made it right.

Door pull and pulley hardware--replaced free.
So the build on the door was pretty straight-forward. We wanted to keep the build simple, and to play off the wide-plank flooring.  We toyed around with several designs for the doors, using different backings, but finally came up with a "sandwich" of 3/4" furniture maple/birch plywood cut to size.  We then installed the ash wood "flooring" onto the plywood panel, gluing and nailing it into place.

The end piece was glued and clamped in place. Note the furniture-grade maple/birch plywood.  USA made, not from China. 

I think I'll use a bit more carpenters' glue for the next build.  Some of the ends of the ash wood planks "curled" slightly during drying.

Toe-nailing in the pieces--just like using a floor nailer, but with 16 gauge 1 1/4" nails. 

Yup.  It's square.

Clamps on both end pieces.

Since the tracks and door hardware were unfinished flat steel, we decided to use 1 3/4" angle iron to finish the sides.  Of course, this added some 30# to the already heavy 1 1/2" wood slab sandwich we created.  We had a local metal fabricator Arnold IronWorks in Maspeth.  He cut to length, drilled, and countersunk the screw holes we wanted.

Arnold Iron Works

We chose a #10 silicon bronze marine-grade screw from Jamestown Distributers out of RI.  They "match" the look we wanted for the doors (brass or stainless steel screws were to shiny) and they were obviously corrosion resistant.  They have a  Frearson vs. #2 Philips Flat Head--see the website for the image which explains the difference.


We cleaned the angle iron with  turpentine, and sprayed them with Rust-oleum satin black.
We could not decide on a stain "color" for the plywood surface inside of the door; they were all too warm.  We decided to try this white-wash "pickling" stain.  It worked like a charm.  
We then sealed the surface with a water-based polycrylic thinned with Flood's Floetrol.
Close-up of the plywood finish.
The ash floor planks still had some of the finish on them, even after planing.  It took a pass with a 4" belt sander fitted with #80 grit, as well as several passes of a 6" orbital sander, with the final pass of #220 grit.  We then oiled the ash wood with linseed oil.

The finished ash.

The angle iron was clamped to the sides with tie-down straps until the screws were set in place.  
Close-up of the hardware mounted on the door.

Handle added.

The color of the plywood finish came out great!

One detail we did not mention was the floor-mounted guide, placed on the floor at the right-side door jam.  We had to enlarge the groove already cut into the flooring to a depth of about 1".  We planned the door so that this "natural" grove was on the bottom for this purpose.  Our neighbor, Pete, came by to help get the doors up out of the basement.  He also hung around and helped us with the router cut and the actually hanging of the door, which now weighs close to 150lbs.

Although it is tough to see, we had 2" square pieces of the extra flat track cut to mount against the drywall to provide a larger surface area with which to distribute the torque load of the lag bolts through the spacers.
Here I am installing the other tracks, adding in the 2" square flat iron along with the spacer.  Now all three tracks are installed; two await the fabrication of the doors.