Tree House Update: Dutch Door

Over this past spring break I finally worked out the door for the tree house I built for my kids over the holiday break. If you missed it, you can read more about that adventure here. The design of the door is a fairly simple box frame with cross bars all made of cedar. Slightly taller on the bottom, each door should be capable of operating independently of the other. Door swing clearances need to be accounted for on both sides as well as between the doors. This door was designed to be opening into the tree house, pushed from the outside, pulled from the inside.

After measuring and cutting I laid out all the boards for the first half of the door face down. Make sure the frame is SQUARE before screwing it all together. The cross bar angles can be easily obtained by marking the vertical lines at which they intersect with the frame. For added strength, these can be pocket joined as well.

I used my nifty Kreg jig to drill pocket holes for added strength and concealed connections of the primary outer frame. Kreg makes an awesome product that can be found at any DIY center. Not cheap but high quality and worth the investment for strong seamless joints.

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On the back side I cut several boards to run the length of the frame vertically. I screwed one board down at a time using 1” metal mesh screws (there were the only I could find at 1”). I didn’t want any screws showing through the face of the door.

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Using a combination of smooth white and pink cedar boards, the visual affect achieved here is pretty nice.

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I measured and repeated this process for the second half of the door. Securing the door to the tree house was accomplished using 2 x stainless steel hinges per door. Considering these doors are fairly lightweight, these hinges should more than suffice. I put handles on the insides of the doors, since these open inward, and used a standard magnetic cabinet catch to secure when closed. Not heavy duty but works fine and isn’t too difficult for the kids to open.

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To finish, I cut some trim at 45-degrees to surround the door which also doubles as a stop on the open side.


Overall not a terribly difficult project that I feel turned out pretty well. The clock is ticking to preserve these colors which I still haven’t seen a good solution for. If you have an suggestions please drop them in the comments.



1 comment:

  1. As a young child (or perhaps even an adult) who hasn’t dreamed of living tree houses? Some people live in trees as a luxury, some to help save the environment and others out of tradition or necessity.


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