Olde, New, and Coated Wood


We don’t recommend painting or even staining very olde wood. It would be a shame to cover up the features and style of a 250 year olde piece of historic pine that comes with a wonderful story. Newer wood is usually used for this type of application and we tend to avoid using it for a few reasons: 

Newer wood can warp or crack over time once the door has been assembled and hung in a new environment. To truly prevent this, either said new wood would have to be kiln dried or stored in a dry space for a long time before assembly. The olde wood we use has been dried over time by its very nature, and is stored in a dry enclosed space where we have allocated room for the naturally aged stock we specialize in (our Amesbury warehouse shop). 

Painting and staining does involve extra steps: A door must be fully assembled so all the pieces fit, then disassembled so that every single piece and every edge can be primed and painted or stained. Then it is put back together when everything is dry. These processes take time and space, as coated boards need to be laid out, and they will require drying time, and take up resources that other work requires for production to continue on pace. Olde boards, as well as newer ones, can change after being coated, so the process of adding paint or stain to doors may incur added expenses that may be cost prohibitive for all parties.

Newer wood and the crisply painted look often goes with a non rustic look. Sanded and smooth wood that could be coated with paints, stains and lacquers would require sanding equipment we also currently do not house. We specialize in rustic, olde boards--with cracks, with character, withstyle built in that cannot be replicated anywhere!... In fact, we here at Northshore Barn Doors, LLC don't really think a door built from new wood that has been stained or painted is really a true barn door anyway. That's just not what we do. 

We don't recommend those DYI kits either (or anyone who just uses their parts and styles to sell doors) because they certainly do not use uncommonly found aged wood, nor do their limited parts accommodate its sizes, thicknesses and style! 

Woods used are generally aged pine grades, and mostly determined by what we have in the shop at the time. Customers can supply their own wood or parts in some cases, but most projects are done using our stock, and we generally do not sell parts or wood planks or pieces separately. Some customers have expressed a keen interest in helping with the installation on location, and this can also be worked into the project as a collaborative effort. We reuse and recycle as much as possible because almost everything can have a use in any given project. 

Our wood is picked from outdoor and indoor building sources such as barns, olde houses, sheds and stacks, which are usually spaced with "sticks" between layers to allow for airflow. Most wood has been exposed to the elements for decades or even centuries and wood that was reclaimed from inside olde homes taken from flooring or walls has likely existed in a very different environment than today's closed-space interiors during this time. We use the boards to create doors to the sizes determined on our visit, but once put together with screws or iron bars, the olde wood can want to bow, shrink, expand or split in some cases. Spaces can develop between boards. To account for these natural processes, we include as part of the project in some doors some backing strips known as board and batten. The door pictured on this page shows the back side of a 5'x7' door that utilizes this functional design feature. These strips, made of the same wood as the door, would be on the back side of a door, where needed. We determine when and why it could be necessary on site. 

Our wood is not kiln dried, but it is brought to and stacked inside our Amesbury, MA warehouse shop which is very dry and heated by large Modine brand commercial gas fired units. This ensures that the wood being used to create your doors is as dry as possible during assembly. Wood that has been stacked outside and just delivered to our shop to be used for door assembly can experience expansion changes. 

Jeff Filipov