Cross Grain Concerns with Interior "Sliding Barn Doors"

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Forum topic by GrizzlyBagWorks posted 06-13-2017 02:42 AM 1012 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View GrizzlyBagWorks's profile


106 posts in 2365 days

06-13-2017 02:42 AM

Hi Guys,

I was hoping to get a little feedback on a project I’m about to embark on. Some friends of ours recently asked me to make four 42”x84” interior barn doors for 2 closets in their new house. Initially I was planning on getting 6/4 ponderosa pine (their preference) and making standard floating panel doors with a final thickness of 1-3/8” for the rails and stiles.

Problem is, I can’t get 6/4” ponderosa or knotty pine anywhere. Closest thing is the “common board” at home depot which is 3/4” thick.

I’m looking on the web and their appears to be a TON of tutorials and photos of people literally gluing up a layer of vertical pieces, then gluing the “frame” right on top. Images below.

This seems to run counter to everything I’ve ever done. Gluing up a 42” wide panel and then gluing boards across the grain seems crazy and asking for warpage.

To complicate the matter further, I’m looking at professional barn door makers and it looks like they’re nailing the ‘frames’ right on top of tongue and groove. How are they getting away with this?

Can I make these doors like the method below without concern?

5 replies so far

View Rich's profile


5617 posts in 1363 days

#1 posted 06-13-2017 03:23 AM

The only way I can see doing it is to either shiplap the panels and leave a slight gap, or attach the tongue-and-groove to the frame with some room to move. Composite panels would be pretty stable, but probably aren’t the look you’re going for.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4422 days

#2 posted 06-13-2017 04:25 AM

The tongue and groove allows for movement
in a board-and-batten door. In nailing down
the boards it is important however to keep
the spacing of the boards even so the tongues
aren’t bottoming-out in the grooves.

View Woodknack's profile


13392 posts in 3154 days

#3 posted 06-13-2017 04:41 AM

Nailing and gluing are different things. Gluing fixes things together and prevents expansion and contraction. Nails are mild steel and will bend and give allowing wood to move.

-- Rick M,

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2215 days

#4 posted 06-13-2017 04:56 AM

The reason it works (attaching a T&G panel to a cross-grain rail system) is because the individual T&G boards are not glued together, but are free to expand/contract individually—the T&G joint hides the varying gap that forms with seasonal movement.

Screw or nail the T&G to the frame, but DO NOT glue the T&G boards together. Lots of barn doors done this way. Works fine.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Bumpy's profile


40 posts in 1255 days

#5 posted 06-13-2017 10:38 AM

Where are you located? In central NC, 8/4 Knotty Pine is @ $1.50 bd/ft. Most is 8-10 wide up to 16’

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