Ledged (or Batten) Doors for Workshop Renovation

This spring I have been at work renovating my backyard shed workshop. Its exterior was in sore shape and I have been working to re-side the entire building as well as repair rotten framing. As part of this work, I needed build a window sash and a pair of batten doors. While I have leaned on a number of references for door and sash joinery, my primary one has been Doormaking and Window-Making, a reprint of a British publication done by Lost Art Press. A couple of articles in the recent Lost Art Press release, The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years, have also aided, especially the illustrations.

The doors I built for the shed are traditional board and batten (also know as ledged door) construction. Materials for the doors included tongue and groove pine, pine for the battens and braces, and 6d cut nails. I was fortunate that by buying two sizes of tongue and groove boards I was able to create a door nearly the size I needed. I started by placing the boards face down on my saw benches.  I used a wooden mallet to align the boards and clamped them steady using bar clamps. Next I laid the battens 5” from the top and bottom.  Following instructions in Doormaking and Window-Making, a screw was put through each batten into the outer boards and a nail was driven into the center board. The clamps were removed and the doors were flipped. Two pilot holes were drilled in each board at each batten with an offset to reduce splitting. Cut nails were clinched by placing a piece of 1/4” plate steel under each hole when the nail was driven. The braces were laid out and sawn and the notches in the each batten were chopped with a chisel. Braces were secured using clinched nails.

The door bottom was sawn square and to length. I planed each side of the door to achieve the correct width. Got pretty close with initial work but had to “fine-tune” the second door once the first was hung. The doors are a huge improvement over the warped plywood that they replaced. They are very solid and give the opening a nice new look (and function).

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