Dutch Door: In Progress

Do you guys know how many swear words I use every single time I have to install a door by myself? Pretty much all of them, in creative and infinite combinations.

So, as you can imagine, I was super excited to deal with this gaping hole in the donkey barn.


There were a couple of compelling reasons to tackle this though despite the fact that there was a very really chance it might incite me to stab myself in the eyeball with a shim.

For example, every time Doc escaped from the pasture in the last few weeks, he’d stroll right in this man-opening and help himself to the donkey treats.

Now that the fence is complete I think I’ve solved for escaping donkeys, however, there are still the nuggets to think off. I don’t have the attached run built on to their coop yet, so I thought that by installing a door on the barn they’d be more likely to stay in the actual barn, or at least in the donkey pasture where they’d be more protected– by both fence and donkeys– from any predators.

So this weekend, the door to the barn took precedence on my project list.

I planned to build the people-door in much the same way I built the donkey-door, which meant a base of T1-11 exterior plywood, with some trim to make it more substantial.

First, I ripped a sheet of the plywood down to length with my circular saw.


Side Note #1: Before I bought the farm I almost NEVER used a circular saw. Now it’s second only to my drill as the most-used tool in my arsenal. Go figure.

Then– because for some reason I was insistent upon building a dutch door with independently swinging top and bottom halves– I did this.


While the barn is fairly sound from a structural standpoint, it’s sure as hell not sqare or level, and the door jamb left something to be desired, so I shimmed a new piece of 1/4 in place to act as the new jamb.


Whenever I’m building in far-from-square conditions I rely more on physically fitting the pieces in place to check them than on the tape measure.


Side Note #2: About this time I also decided that expired yogurt and tortilla chips were not going to be an adequate lunch, so I headed in to actual civilization to pick up some food. I noticed people looking at me a little strange, but when you go out in public wearing a Deere hat and covered in sawdust, people look at you strange, so I didn’t think much of it.

Until I got home and couldn’t for the effing life of me find the safety glasses I’d been using earlier.



Found ’em.

Story of my life, right there.

So, while I got the panels painted and mostly-assembled on Saturday, the weather took a turn for the worse on Sunday, and pretty much everyone that lives on this farm decided working inside would be best…


There’s nothing like an audience (or seven) while you’re trying to install two doors on top of one another.


And yet, oddly, despite the fact that not a damn thing in this scenario was straight or level, the install originally went off without a hitch.


I might have bragged about it a little– given myself a high-five and did a little happy dance– and then the hardware happened…


All of the swear words I saved on the hinge installation came out while putting this damn latch in.


And somehow in that process the top and bottom door panels got out of alignment, and I spent the next hour trying to get them re-aligned, to no avail.



Despite a slight list on the top door panel…


The damn thing actually works.

I was soaked to the bone at this point, so the decorative X’s for each panel will have to wait, as will fixing the list on the upper section, touching up paint, and trimming around the door.

But either way, I think my recent barn door building adventures have made at least a small improvement to the oldest barn on this property…


And if I’m blessed with just one more weekend of decent weather, I might actually have this barn done for the winter.


15 Responses

  1. I think the door looks great! I love the shot of the donkey’s looking at you, they are sooo cute! By the way I’m usually covered in paint when I go out and I get the same looks… don’t really care anymore though 😉

  2. Totally off the subject, but I’ve been wondering for awhile what your plans are to fix the swayback in the roof ridge?

    And great door. 😉

    1. No plans for the next 5-8 years. It’s structurally sound and since the bank made me put new shingles in it, I’m getting my money out before I think of rebuilding. It’s very possible the last thing on my list for this property.

  3. Wow, you have come a long way with the place. Looks great! I keep my glasses on my head.it’s handy. I have been known to walk around with four pairs up there and frantically searc for my damn glasses. Pitiful.

  4. as always you leave me in awe.

    great job and it looks so good! as for the glasses, dont they know thats the best place to keep them!

    start a trend girl!

  5. That damn latch about caused a divorce when my husband and I were trying to install one on our gate. 150′ of privacy fence, 300′ of field fencing, and building a 14×16 shed was a breeze compared to that DAMN latch.

  6. Are the donkeys getting loud and vocal since the weather is changing? Mine do. Hardly heard them squawk all summer but they’ve sure made up for it the last two weeks! And it hasn’t even been below 40 yet!

    Have always loved Dutch doors. Yours reminds me of Mr. Ed’s barn. But you probably don’t even remember that show! (A horse is a horse, of course of course…)

  7. KC,
    I don’t recall ever watching “Mr. Ed” with my daughter. I watched it in black and white in the 60s, but was it ever shown regularly in later decades?
    Kit’s Mom

  8. The doors are a huge improvement and look awesome!

    A shim behind the 1×4 at the bottom hinge of the top part of the door, should align them back up.

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