I do built-in's, trim work, and custom cabinetry. I work independently and don't have a big company. I recent too a job where the owner wants double level (8'high) built-in's on the main floor and an entertainment center/aquarium holder in the basement. Both sections are 12' long.
They have agreed to let me use hardwood for the carcasses but the doors and drawers are the problem. They want to use antique barn wood for the faces. I need to know how to work with this wood and retain the grey, worn-out finish on the faces of the drawers and the cabinet doors.
I’m thinking of planing just one side for thickness, running them through the joiner for square, and then biscuiting/glueing them to make panels wide enough for doors and drawers because the boards they are looking at are only 6"-8" wide. The backs would then lose their grey color, but the faces are the main concern anyway. The other option I am thinking about it to tongue and groove with my router.
They don't want raised panel and they don't want mission style and or flat panel. They just want simple, ragged looking doors. Does anyone have any suggestions about this?
From contributor J:
If they want the ragged look, just cut the lumber for the doors to length, butt them together, and use a Z pattern rail on the back side. Pre-drill holes through the Z rail and screw the lumber on and you’re done.
Contributor T's suggestion of battening the backsides is right on target. Why do it? Because it keeps the boards straight, and when each board is screwed/attached - only along its center, then both left and right sides will swell/shrink equally and overall the door width is therefore well maintained.
You will have cut ends and places that will not be grayed. For these, I would suggest using Liquid Nightmare. Take equal parts of water and vinegar, and soak some rusty steel in it for a few days. The resulting liquid reacts with the tannins in the wood to create a gray, aged effect. You can lessen its effect by cutting it with water, or intensify its effect by using a tannic acid solution on the wood before treatment.