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Old 10-19-2011, 11:41 AM   #1
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Made My Own Inexpensive Wood Garage Carriage Doors

I built a new log sided garage to complement my new log home and just didn’t like the idea of painted doors on a log-sided building. Probably a year before I built the garage I found a pair of used insulated doors w/openers in the size I wanted, so bought them for less than half of new price (they were only a couple of years old). Decided I wanted them to look like carriage doors, but since the cost of ready made fake carriage doors was horrendous, set out to convert the existing doors.
I was going to use 1 x something tongue and groove for the door planks, but then found solid pine t&g panel boards in the big box stores and they were only 5/16” thick! That would save a lot of weight. Also, they came in 8’ lengths and my doors were 9 x 8, so another plus. Even managed to catch a few bundles on closeout price. Retail was about $15 per a 14 sq ft bundle.
First, I layed the door panels out in the proper order on planks and sawhorses. I bought a new 40 tooth blade for my circular saw and made a trial cut in scrap wood. Then measured the kerf and went looking for spacers of that thickness. My son in Colorado came to the rescue and told me a guy he knew that builds those doors out there uses popsicle sticks for his spacers. They turned out to be just the right thickness. Put a stick on each end and in the middle between panels, then clamped the panels down snug with a ratched strap on each end. Made sure all the panels were aligned on the ends.
Bought a bucket of outdoor carpet mastic and a notched spreader and spread an area wide enough to do one bundle. The panels went on very well. I used a brad nailer with 18 ga x 1 ¼ brads to nail it down. Tried to drive the brads at an angle so they would hold better. By putting the boards on in 8’ lengths the grain structure will flow from one panel to the next, which will help disguise the cut line when you cut the panels apart.
After the door was completely covered, I set my circular saw at 20 degrees (most any angle would work) and sawed in a direction that would allow the long point of the angle to face down on the outer surface of the board. Carefully measured and then clamped a piece of angle iron on for a fence, then sawed the panels apart at the hinge joints. After sawing I removed the popsicle sticks and reclamped the doors so they were all aligned properly.
Using the same angle on my miter saw, I cut 1 x 4’s up to make the fake frame for the carriage doors. Again, I used a single board on each side piece and angle brace so the grain would flow. One must measure carefully here so that the joint pretty much aligns with the joint in the planks. These pieces were nailed on with a finish nailer with 15 ga x 1 ½” nails. I spaced the vertical boards in the center of the door with popsicle sticks again to create the illusion of a gap between the two doors. On the outside edges of the doors I actually used a 1 x 6 and cut a kerf ½” deep with my table saw 3 ½” from the inside edge to make the illusion of a gap where the door would hinge if it were a real carriage door. Next came the stain and finish. I separated the panels so I could get stain and finish on all the edges too.
Any time you add weight to a garage door you must replace the springs with ones that are matched to the new door weight. I found a wonderful site on line to order the new springs from and their sales people are very helpful. The site was There are other sites out there, but I was very pleased with the sales people and they shipped very promptly. In order to place an order, you must know the weight of the door, right or left hand spring, radius of the track bend (12” or 15”), height of the door, and width of the door. To get the weight, I just put the track in place and stacked all the door sections as if you were installing the door. (note – the track must be set back from the door opening an amount equivalent to the added door thickness – in my case about 1”) After the sections were stacked I used a come-along to lift the door enough to set a bathroom scale under it, then lowered the door onto the scale. After you get the right springs, door installation is just standard.
Of course, a carriage door needs hinges and handles, and the ready made fake hinges and handles were a little more than I wanted to pay, and I have a good supply of iron on hand. I took some flat metal about 12 ga thickness and cut out some hinges, drilled and countersunk them for screws, and then cut some 5/8” rod up for the swivel part of the fake hinge. Welded the parts together on the back side and ground the weld flush. Primed and painted flat black. The handles were ¼” x ¾” strap iron, which is the size I happened to have, and I bent them into a shape I liked, drilled and countersunk, primed and painted, and after a few screws was all done.
I didn’t want to have a painted walk-out door so I gave it the same treatment. It had a window in it so that was a little trickier.
You will notice that I did not use that French word for fake anywhere in this article, because fake is fake and no amount of spelling changes makes it any better than fake. Yeh, I’m an old curmudgeon. Anyway, you can see the split lines at the joints on the door panels up close, but if we had a street, they would tend to disappear at that distance. Total cost of my mods: Around $120 per door, depending on whether you hit any sales or not. My cost was a little less because of sales.
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:57 AM   #2
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Here is the walk-through door.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:44 AM   #3
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Hey iffy,

I don't know if you'll get this reply since I'm bringing this back from the dead. But I had a question and I can't PM due to the new member status. What were you spacing out with the popsicle sticks after you tested the blade with? I love what you did with this and I'll be making an attempt at my doors this summer.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:27 AM   #4
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Nice work! I think. The weight of all over time would concern me but at least you did not underscale the hardware. I would worry about the framing on the hinge side of the door now, rather than later. You might want to plunk in some fatter and longer screws now?
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Old 03-31-2012, 02:07 PM   #5
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Awsome. Creative & Simply Awsome!
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