Doors for Dessert


Replacing the main beam of the Horse Garage has been hanging over my head for more than a month now. Every time I go in there I feel like Damocles and wonder if I will become buried in my work.

Last month, Brendan Gaffney, Megan Fitzpatrick and I jacked up the garage’s joists to relieve pressure on the rotted beam. Today was the day to replace the punky thing.

Lucky for me, woodworker Jeremy Hanson was in town, and I hired him to help. Jeremy is a cabinet maker, carpenter, tattoo artist and art teacher from Seattle, Wash., who is traveling around the country with his charming family in a Toyota Tacoma that is outfitted with a camper. They stopped by the open house yesterday, and Jeremy volunteered to lend a hand.


It took us about four hours of dirty work, but at about 2 p.m. we lowered the joists back on the new beam. All the pieces returned to their proper places without complaint.

Now comes the rush to button the place up before winter comes. I have a roofing company prepared to add a membrane roof. And I am starting to build the new doors tomorrow.


The doors will be lightweight pine, joined with mortise-and-tenon joints and painted for protection. After all the wacky repairs we’ve been making to the Horse Garage, doors will be a cakewalk.

Then I will be out of money – again. After I complete a couple furniture commissions I should have enough money to add electricity to the building. (And, if I’m fortunate, enough money for a mini-split as well.)

There is still a long way to go, but the Horse Garage might be in business before the end of 2017.

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site:

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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11 Responses to Doors for Dessert

  1. blefty says:

    My dad and I built my 16′ by 20′ woodworking shop in 1997. Up until last summer I would lug a window unit to my shop every spring and back to the barn in the fall. My 2nd window unit went out last summer and I had a split unit put in my shop. I wish I had done it years ago. What a difference! It is super quiet and cools my shop really well. I use it in the winter for heat only when I don’t have enough wood for the Jotul wood stove. “Highly Recommended”


  2. tpobrienjr says:

    Heck, I thought a mini-split was a little bottle of champagne. You deserve it.


  3. Michael Brady says:

    Looks great, Christopher! I haven’t see your store in person, but the photos show a place to be proud of.


  4. Look great! And I am learning from your work


  5. jbgcr says:

    Do you need 2 car size doors? Poor insulation and sound control. Got rid of big doors in my shop and have just one 48″ door – much better for my needs.


    • James Dobson says:

      I think Chris has mentioned that his building has heritage status or something like that. I don’t think he can make huge changes to the building without approval. Or maybe I’m just making things up.


  6. Good times and happy to be a part of it! Can’t wait to see those doors up!


  7. Mitch Wilson says:

    We have a Mr. Slim mini-split system with two units; one in the bedroom, the other in my wife’s office. They are wonderful. The a/c part works great and I no longer have to put a window unit in which, with my screwed up spine and age (66), is greatly appreciated. And the heating part is a welcome supplement to our main heating (hot water boiler w/radiators). It falters a little when the temperature gets below say -10°F but don’t we all. A good choice for the horse garage.


  8. At what point would it have been more cost effective and less labor intensive to just tear it down and build anew?


  9. alexpacin says:

    “After all the wacky repairs we’ve been making to the Horse Garage, doors will be a cakewalk.” And then Providence said, “Hold my beer!”


  10. Steve Winkelman says:

    I’ve enjoyed following the progress of the shop build through your blog. I have a finishing tidbit to pass along that might be useful for your new door. I recently read a Flexner blog at PW about flaking paint on an external door. A commenter suggested using CPES as a primer before painting an outdoor surface that might be susceptible to moisture or rot. If you don’t know about CPES already one source that I found is


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