Milling a Custom Threshold

Over Memorial Day weekend, we installed a new solid maple floor in a room in our house. More on that process here. What was left was a slight mismatch between the 130 year old narrow-strip oak flooring and the new floor. Instead of buying a threshold to match the new floor, I opted to build one that would tie the look of the old floor into the new.

The gap between the surfaces was about 5/8″ so typical 1x lumber wouldn’t leave enough thickness; so I dug into the scrap pile and found a remnant of an old barn beam I picked up and had resawn to 5/4″ thick. The grain and pores in this piece look like Chestnut; but I’m not certain. The first step was to joint, plane and square up the board into an appropriate blank; about 5/4″ x 4″ wide.

With the blank milled, I marked out the rabbet to match the floor. The depth is critical for a good fit, but the width is up to the aesthetics. I chose this size to not overpower the trim around the door and still leave a good surface to contact the original floor… it’s all eyeballing. Same goes for the taper; I think this is about 20 degrees, but I knew where I wanted it to start and end based on my own application. I set the table saw blade to match my lines and ripped away.

Using a router to round off the corners wasn’t an option, because none of the surfaces are square to each other. I used a block plane to dress the edges to my liking and sanded slightly. I keep a low angle block plane handy for quickly dressing the edges on pieces like this, and with some practice you can make a very even round-over. A quick coat of Danish Oil and Wipe On Poly and I was ready to install.

Fitting the threshold around the door frame trim took some careful measuring, but simple straight cuts using a pull saw gave a great fit. Held down with some ring-shank nails and filled the holes – and this project is done!

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Tools used in this post:


     

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