Once in a Blue Moon: Custom Pocket Door

Like many of our custom doors, the design for this circular pocket door came from photograph inspiration. “I drew up my interpretation of the door based on the image, adding lots of ornate trim, moldings, and layers,” said H&H Woodshop Manager Dan Palmer.

Dan and H&H finish carpenter Jason Woods went back and forth with the designer, Hannes Wingate, who guided the design process, and the client to create a door that looked like a found artifact, with a fusion of Asian and European styles. Jason then created digital drawings and renderings of the proposed door.

Before beginning construction on the door, Dan had to take into account the existing site conditions and constraints. The team wanted the door piece to be a strong focal point, taking up as much of the 90″ x 128″ wall space as possible. After working out the measurements, Dan set to work building the two door pieces and wall sections.

The Doors

To make the half-circle door pieces, Dan created a circular shape using multiple faceted pieces of 8/4 poplar joined with tenons. Then he placed a full-sized template made out of 3/4″ MDS on top of it and traced the template over the poplar. He then free-handed the poplar material with a band saw,and roughed in the dimensions and shaped the poplar pieces into half-circles.
moon-door-16The circle pieces were then attached at the ends with straight boards of poplar.


Dan then coped, shaped, and glued thin munton pieces of wood into the round section using mortis and tenon joints.


After that, Dan added material around the half-circle pieces to turn them into rectangular-shaped doors. The doors needed flat and level tops and bottoms in order to be hung from the track and slide side-to-side. This allows them to function as pocket doors, and since the rectangular material is hidden inside the wall sections all you end up seeing are the circular pieces.

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Since parts of the doors will be buried inside of the wall, the team finished the doors before they were installed. Robert McAnulty, of Robert McAnulty Custom Finishes, painted the doors with a heavily distressed blue finish to echo the design’s goal of looking like a found artifact.


Wall Sections

After finishing the doors, Dan set to work on the wall sections. The wall sections are a combination of faceted material shaped into circular shapes. Dan shaped as much of it as he could in the shop, then brought the two mostly-complete pieces to the site.


Then Dan and fellow carpenter Josh Tinker installed the track into the plate at the jobsite, hung the doors from the track and ensured they were fully functioning. Then the wall sections were installed around the doors.

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Once the wall sections were in place, the team began interior carpentry work to get the sections trimmed out. Then Dan infilled four more wall sections on-site around the two built in the shop. Dan built them with the trim overlapped at all of the seams so the entire wall section looks like one piece instead of six combined sections.

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The edge pulls are salvaged hardware from Rejuvenation. They are used to open and shut the doors, but don’t lock.

Vintage Hardware Door Pull | Hammer & Hand

After installation was complete, Robert coated the wall pieces with finish consisting of shellac with aniline dye on top of a scumbled (yes, that’s a real word) and cracked tinted primer.

Custom Moon Door | Hammer & Hand

“It was a really complicated, really fun, project and I just wanted it to be awesome,” said Dan. “I had a blast making it.”

This door is just one part of a larger home remodel, we’ll be sure to share more as the project progresses!

Visit our custom windows and doors section for more about our millwork services.

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