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How to Build a Plank Door

Sidney Johns

Adding a plank door to a room gives a country or old world feeling to the surrounding area. Building a door can be a complex project for a beginner, but anyone who can measure, hammer nails and use a circular saw can build a simple plank door. While the project does require some tools and space, the concept is basic.

Old planks may be used if they are flat and free from rot.

Before you begin, make sure all your planks are straight and flat. Warped or curved boards require additional work.

  1. Measure the width and the height of the door opening. Measure the width of the selected planks. Divide the width of the door by the width of the planks, and add three to get the number of planks needed for the project.

  2. Subtract a half-inch from the length measurement of the door opening to get the desired length of the planks. Cut all but three of the planks with a circular saw to this length.

  3. Lay the planks side by side on a work table or bench. Clamp the first plank to the work desk or bench. Place the next plank against the first. Use a rubber mallet to hammer along the other side of the second plank to push the first and the second plank flush together. Repeat this action with the remaining planks. Be sure to align the tops and bottoms of the planks.

  4. Subtract the width of one of the planks from the total width of the door formed from the side-by-side planks. Cut the extra three planks to to this length. These will act as the cross forms to hold the door together.

  5. Divide the length of the door by three. Measure that amount from the top of the door, and mark a line across the door. From the first mark, measure again, draw a line, and repeat the process a third time from the second point. This will divide the door equally into thirds. These are the guide marks for the cross forms.

  6. Center the three cut planks across the door at the marked spots. The horizontal planks will start halfway across the first vertical plank and end halfway across the last vertical plant. Hammer nails on both sides of each board at the center of each plank they cross.

  7. Finish the door as desired. For a rustic look, add only a clear varnish for protection. For a country look, paint the door white, country blue or red.

  8. Add the hinges. Center a hinge on each of the cross planks. Use a drill to screw in the screws through the planks.

  9. Tip

    For a more finished look, sand the edges of the planks smooth. For an old world, rustic or country appearance, leave the edges rough. For very long doors, additional cross planks might be necessary to hold the planks securely.