Many people ask about beautiful front door on Larry Kapin’s log home. His door is just so cool looking that people want to know just how it was made.
The following is Larry’s explanation of how he made his front door:
The door is made from (4) rough-cut, Douglas fir, 4x12s (these could be considered beams, or timbers). Use well-seasoned wood or the finished door will ‘shrink’ over time and create all sorts of problems.
The 4 timbers need to be ripped so they have tongue and groove edges. Larry just used a circular saw for this.
Then they get side-drilled, with a 5/8” bit. Four evenly spaced holes should be enough, 1 at the top, 1 at the bottom and 2 more in between. Feel free to add a 5th if you want, Larry actually didn’t remember how may he did on his door.
Regarding the holes, you want to be able to lay all the timbers next to each other on a sawhorse, and have the holes line up – so that the 4 pieces of rough cut can be through bolted with all thread (from the edge of the far right timber all the way to the edge of the far left timber). Therefore it is important that the holes line up, so double-check your measurements before drilling.
You can use either 1/2″ threaded rod to side-bolt the rough cut lumber, through the 5/8” holes, or you can use 5/8″ rod for a tighter fit. The nuts, washers and threaded rod can be recessed by drilling shallow, larger diameter holes to accommodate their depth. Using large washers spreads out the pressure a bit which is a good thing. You can paint the metal pieces flat black for a wrought iron look, or if you don’t want them visible you could use ‘wood plugs’ (wooden caps) to completely hide the threaded rod, washers and nuts.
Once you have all your holes drilled, and your hardware laid out, you’re ready to assemble your door. Place the pieces of wood on sawhorses, all lined up ready to be side-bolted. Then run beads of construction adhesive inside the grooves and gently push the timbers together – remember to keep the holes aligned.
You can use pipe clamps to cinch up the timbers tight, that makes the through-bolting process easier. Once everything is clamped together, slide the all thread through the predrilled holes and bolt the 4x12s together. Be sure to get it good and tight. Let it sit for a while until the adhesive cures.
Now you have a door that is the same dimension as Larry’s, but it lacks the awesome texture. To get that texture Larry simply laid the door on the ground, and used a tool called a foot adze to gouge out some furrows in wood’s surface. A foot adze has a curved blade, and with it you can remove shallow scallops from the wood.
The next step is to sand the door so it has a smooth feeling surface, and then you can stain the door.
So as you can see Larry’s door is not that complicated of a project, and it sure yields a stout, awesome looking door. Thanks again to Larry for sharing his idea.
The topic of making your own doors (several different designs), and how to install them, is covered in depth at our log home building class.
In case you missed it, Larry’s home was the recipient of a recent ‘Log Home of the Month’ award. You can view many pictures of his log home by clicking here.