May 7, 2014

A Barn Door for the Chicken Coop

Continued from here.


A barn door is so practical. It slides open and closed, stays put, and is never in the way. But have you ever priced the hardware for one? Way too expensive to be practical! Never one to be deterred, Dan decided to make his own.
Hardware for a DIY barn door

This is the project Dan worked on while I whitewashed the inside of the coop. For the hardware he bought:
  • 3, 4 ft. strips of flat bar, .25" x .75"
  • 2 garage door pulleys 
  • 2 mending plates
  • 2 door stops
  • 1 pressure treated 1x6

He made the track by cutting a groove into the long edge of the 1x6 and fitting the flat bar into it. The pulleys ride on top. The mending plates are bolted to the pulleys and also the door as you see in the two photos below.

The mending plates were bolted to the pulleys,

and screwed onto the door.

The door itself was made from scrap plywood and lumber. 

Stop and guide

A doorstop was added and a guide made with a block of wood. This keeps the door from swinging away from the wall. Long metal pins hold it in place. Another flat bar attached to the bottom of the door makes for no wear and easy gliding.

The last things to add were a door pull and latch. The leather strap tying the eye bolt to the door pull keeps Yours Truly from losing it. I used a similar set-up on the stable door between the storage area and the coop. The door works very well, looks good, and I love it!

Only a few things are left to finish the chicken coop project: expand the chicken yard, set the feed room in order, and level the "patio" area under the overhang in front of the barn door. Then it's chicken moving day!


Next up, "New Chicken Coop: Feed & Storage Room."

UPDATE November 2016: I've had folks ask how well this door has stood up. I have to say that we've had no problems with it and it still functions beautifully. To see the larger barn door we made for the little goat barn, click here.

28 comments:

  1. I do like that barn door, I dont think its something that is so popular out here, well i havent seen any, but then I havent spent time looking at doors, I could be missing out on a good thing there. I am sure similare hardware would be available. How fox proof would it be.

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  2. Wow, wow, wow! I'm impressed! 1000 kudos to Dan! I love his solution so much that I'm saving these instructions so that I can build my own barn door in the future.

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  3. {genuflects to Dan}

    Very impressive, well done that man! A barn door will also never suddenly get caught in a gust of wind and smash into the back of your head .... (you can imagine how I know that)

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  4. That man of yours has blood worth bottling (as my nan use to say). Pretty gruesome thought really, but i guess they didnt bother wasting materials and labour bottling anything bad, now did they. Think of how many skills the two of you have gained on your adventures. I almost called it a farm but im not sure how you refer to your property in the states. We would call it a "hobby farm".

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  5. Dawn, these are very popular doors here and have lately become a home decor item. I think that's why the hardware has gotten so expensive. They are just as critter proof as any other door, which is contingent on keeping it shut!

    Su Ba, thanks! I'm sure there are other DIY barn doors out there!

    Jayne, oh no! We get wind gusts slamming doors too, a real nuisance.

    Lynda, now there's a saying I never heard before! LOL. It's true, we have learned a lot in these past five years, all very much on the job!

    We call our place a homestead. We think of a farm as having the purpose of making a living at, well, farming. A hobby farm is a hobby, i.e. something one supports for the fun and pleasure of it. A homestead then, has the connotation of a way of life of trying to meet one's own needs through one's own efforts with the land (without necessarily trying to make money from it). That's why I use the terms self-sufficient, self-reliant, and self-sustaining. Not that we rule out trying to make a living from the land, but ironically, for all we've learned, we really don't know how to be farmers in today's world, where farming is geared toward a high-tech, industrial approach. Does that make sense?

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  6. Ooh, AH! The only thing I would add, and this is just a clumsy girl/animal protector over the door stop--like a rounded piece of 2 x 2 that would keep me from ripping my long summer dresses on the hook. Maybe it would only happen to me!

    I LOVE the alternative hardware!

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  7. I'm going to use this on my new haybarn!!

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  8. Does Dan enjoy these projects? Because I could see these skills becoming popular for him to barter with in an alternate economy.

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  9. Now THAT is awesome. We may have to copy your DIY door, I LOVE barn doors, but like you said, WAY too expensive for our tastes (or budget, more like it).

    Chicken coop is going to have the neighborhood chickens green with envy. I know that I would stay in there....even if I wasn't a chicken!

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  10. Looks good! I've done similar when building small doors with tracks close to the ground. On higher tracks, I don't because I'm having to get ladders to clear the tracks from bird nests and droppings. There you have to build a shield to protect the tracks.

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  11. The whole barn looks great! It will last a long, long time. I can only see the amount of time you both have worked on it has paid off with something so beautiful and practical.

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  12. Your door looks a lot like one my friend made for her laundry room http://www.epbot.com/2013/03/make-your-own-sliding-barn-door-for.html

    I know that she is very happy with hers. :D

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  13. Awesome! Sometimes here you can find hardware on Craigslist, but it's still not cheap! Barn Doors are very popular here, as the wind is also blowing most of the time, and they're efficient for getting equipment and people in and out quickly!

    I'm redesigning my rabbit/bird shelters (moving them, really), and might just have to incorporate a sliding door wide enough for my mucking equipment to get in!!

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  14. Wow. That looks great. Dan is a genius!

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  15. Leigh,

    Beautifully done!! Yes I've priced the mechanical piece for the sliding barn door and they're not cheap at all. Good thing your husband made his own.

    My vacation home is ready, woooohooo time to back a bag :-)

    Teasing!!! The best looking chicken coop I've seen!!!

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  16. Dan is the man!!! Nice guy to have around the place! Beautifully done, a project to be very proud of. I'm so happy for you both!

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  17. Very nice! A well thought out, new solution to an old problem. You'll enjoy that for years.

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  18. Brilliant alternative to conventional barn door hardware. Will have to keep it in mind for future reference. The chicken coop is looking great!

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  19. This is brilliant! Definitely saving this so I can have it for future reference. Tell your hubby he is a genius!

    http://caffeinatedhomestead.weebly.com/blog.html

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  20. Very nifty solution! That hardware IS very costly. I've always gone for regular doors, because in the stables where I've had to open and close the hanging doors, they always seemed to be hard to get started, but that's just me being winpy. Anyway, I love Dan's method!

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  21. How much weight do you think that hardware could hold? I have a 7ft H x 6.5ft W opening.

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    1. Ana, I have no idea. You could put three or four wheels on the door for extra measure.

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  22. Best alternative hardware I've seen! Is it noisy?

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    1. Doris, thank! It makes noise when opening or closing, but I wouldn't call it noisy. I mean it doesn't screech or squeal when moved on the tracks. And it's still working well. Dan did say that if he were to do it again (maybe the goat barn when we get to it) he would use larger pulley wheels.

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  23. What did he use to - or how did he - cut that groove in the board? Great idea. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. SKenneyGIrl, he used the table saw to cut the groove. He used the saw guard as a guide. The actual groove is a little narrower than the flat bar, so the metal is pressed into the groove - no glue needed. Hope that helps!

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  24. Where did you find the pieces used for the door stops? What were they called? I've been looking for these for a long time, but have yet to find them.

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    1. Jess, Dan bought them at Tractor Supply Co. They carry all kinds of hardware for things like barn doors. I think these were actually called "door stops."

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