Crafting Elegance: The Art of Building a Custom Mortise and Tenon Barn Door


Barn doors are not just a functional element of farmhouse chic; they have evolved into a stylish statement piece for any interior design. Amidst this trend, Terry Sheridan’s custom barn door build stands out, embodying craftsmanship and elegance. His latest project, a stunning mortise and tenon style barn door, features two beautifully crafted floating panels set against a backdrop of decorative diagonal cross pieces. This design not only promises durability and stability but also adds a timeless aesthetic to any room. Join us as we delve into the making of this exquisite piece, from conception to installation.

Design Inspiration and Concept

The inception of Terry Sheridan’s barn door project was rooted in a blend of functionality and artistic vision. Inspired by the rustic charm of traditional farmhouses and the sleek lines of modern design, Terry aimed to create a door that pays homage to classic woodworking techniques while fitting seamlessly into contemporary interiors. The choice of a mortise and tenon style, known for its strength and aesthetic simplicity, serves as the cornerstone of this vision.

3D Rendering for the Barn Door

Mortise and tenon joinery, one of the oldest woodworking methods, involves fitting a tenon (a projection on the end of a piece of wood) into a mortise (a corresponding cavity) to form a secure, interlocking joint. This technique not only enhances the structural integrity of the door but also adds to its visual appeal, creating clean lines and a cohesive look. The incorporation of floating panels allows for wood movement with changes in humidity, ensuring the door’s longevity, while the decorative diagonal cross pieces offer a nod to traditional barn door designs, adding character and visual interest.

Through this project, Terry Sheridan not only seeks to showcase the beauty and reliability of classic woodworking techniques but also to inspire homeowners to embrace custom, handcrafted elements in their home décor. The result is a door that is not just a functional object, but a piece of art that enriches the living space.

Barn Door Video about this Build

This barn door guide but in video form

Materials and Tools Required

To bring this vision to life, a carefully selected list of materials and tools was essential. The project utilized:

The choice of materials was guided by considerations of aesthetics, durability, and environmental sustainability, ensuring the door not only looks beautiful but also stands the test of time without compromising the planet.

Step-by-Step Construction Process

The construction of the Terry Sheridan barn door involved a meticulous process, broken down into the following key steps:

  1. Design and Measurements: The first step involved detailed planning and measurement to ensure that the door would fit perfectly in the intended space. This included drafting a design that specified the dimensions of each component.
  2. Cutting and Shaping Wood: Using the table saw and miter saw, each piece of wood was cut to the precise dimensions needed. Special attention was given to the tenons and mortises, ensuring a snug, secure fit.
  3. Assembling the Frame: The frame of the door was assembled using the mortise and tenon joints, glued and clamped together to ensure a strong bond.
  4. Inserting the Floating Panels: The panels were carefully measured and cut before being inserted into the frame. These panels were designed to “float” within the frame to accommodate wood expansion and contraction.
  5. Adding the Decorative Cross Pieces: The diagonal cross pieces, cut to fit precisely, were then added, enhancing the door’s aesthetic appeal and providing additional structural support.
  6. Finishing Touches: Once assembled, the door was sanded to a smooth finish. Depending on the desired look, it could then be stained or painted, further enhancing its beauty and providing protection from wear and tear.
  7. Installation: Finally, the door was ready to be hung. This involved the careful selection and installation of barn door hardware, ensuring smooth operation and a seamless fit within the home.

Finishing Touches and Installation

The beauty of a custom barn door lies in its final touches and how it integrates into the space it adorns. For the Terry Sheridan barn door, the finishing process was as follows:

  • Sanding: Every surface of the door was meticulously sanded to remove any roughness, ensuring a smooth, tactile finish.
  • Painting or Staining: Depending on the desired aesthetic, the door was either painted in a color that complements the room’s palette or stained to highlight the natural beauty of the wood.
  • Hardware Installation: High-quality barn door hardware was selected for its functionality and design, complementing the door’s style and ensuring smooth, reliable operation.

The installation process emphasized precision and attention to detail, ensuring that the door not only looked beautiful but also functioned flawlessly within the space.


The barn door project exemplifies the beauty of combining traditional woodworking techniques with modern design. The meticulous construction process, from the careful selection of materials to the detailed craftsmanship of the mortise and tenon joints, results in a door that is not just a functional element but a centerpiece of home decor. It stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of handcrafted, custom-designed pieces that bring warmth, character, and timeless style to any home.

Call to Action

Are you inspired to bring a unique touch to your home with a custom barn door? Visit to explore more of Terry Sheridan’s work or to inquire about your own custom woodworking project. Let us help you transform your space with the beauty of handcrafted wood.


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