That’s a Three-barbarian Door


Yesterday I managed to hang my braced and ledged door for the stables at our storefront. The stables will eventually house my machinery, so I wanted the door to be nice and handmade.

So by following the instructions on these traditional doors from “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years,” I built this massive (8’ tall) door from 1-3/8”-thick yellow pine that has been seasoning in my shop for four years.

Perhaps I should have used cedar.

I’m not sure how much the door weighs, probably close to 70 or 80 pounds with all the hardware installed. And hanging it by myself in the heat was sweaty business. But now comes the fun part: Today I’m going to trim out the door, add the lock and begin making the door’s handle. I have a piece of wood I’ve been hanging onto for seven or eight years for just this purpose.

I’m eager to rip out the crappy disintegrating drywall and stud walls inside the stables and uncover the loft area above (the loft has a floor and I haven’t found a way up there – yet). But it’s just too dang hot to ask my friends to do this miserable work. So I’ll probably put it off until the heat breaks.

I’ve still got plenty to do. This week I’m installing our new front entrance to the storefront, and Nicholas Mogely is going to gild our new logo on the door. Oh, and I have to install a new fence and repair the deck before it kills someone.

At least I don’t have any bats to battle.

— Christopher Schwarz


About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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20 Responses to That’s a Three-barbarian Door

  1. KampWood says:

    I’m kind of surprised you didn’t use Douglas Fir. That is also a common species to use for exterior doors, at least in the midwest 100 years ago.

  2. What are you using for hardware? We usually have nice strap hinges, a suffolk latch and a slide bolt on that sort of door in an outbuilding. (And sometimes a modern concession of a deadbolt instead of the slide bolt if it’s the primary access door or in an urban area). I’ve had good luck with sets from Williamsburg Blacksmiths — including some that have deadbolts (From Massachusetts, not CW VA, though the guys down there also do excellent work, just a longer wait time)

  3. sjschmidtky says:

    Just guessing after the tour you gave me a few weeks back… Based on the placement of the downspout on the courtyard side, I bet the stable had a flat roof and the loft is really the original roof underpayment and topping material. Flat roofs are trouble to keep from leaking, so makes sense that a traditional roof was built over top of it. I’ll be curious to hear what you find.


  4. Greg Flora says:

    Hey Chris,

    Do you see any initial limitations on building a pair of these doors to replace a standard garage door? Kind of like carriage doors.

  5. Always loved Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. In the movie when the guys leave the diamond mine at the end of the shift, they store their tools and diamonds in a shed with a wooden door like yours above. It always bugged me that the brace on the door is backwards, opposite of yours. So glad to see you did it right and it should never sag as long as the hinges are strong enough. Good job!

  6. toolnut says:

    No bats but maybe spiders galore behind that drywall. (Watch out for Brown Recluse and other poisoness nasties.)

  7. Chris Hall says:

    Thank you for putting the door braces on in the correct orientation.

  8. admiralbumblebee says:

    Your Nicholas Moegly link is broken. It points to ‘nicholasmoegly’ and not

  9. parks2167 says:

    Two questions; 1. Did you use nails to secure the bracing or just rely on glue and joinery?
    2. How come your braces are opposite page 560 ?

    • 1. I used screws (for now). No glue. I’ll likely replace the screws with clinched nails when I can afford a hardware upgrade.

      2. The door on page 560 of “The Woodworker” is to be hinged on the right side of the jamb. Mine is hinged on the left, so the braces need to run on the opposite diagonal.

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