Jeff’s Custom Furniture – Rolling Barn Doors

Rolling barn doors are all the rage across North America as they bring a sense of theatre to your home, not only adding charm and character to any room in your house but they’re also space saving and easy to install and use.  Designers all over the US are reclaiming cowboy culture with its links to being sexy and self-assured, and Jeff Burklow from Jeff’s Custom Furniture was looking to create some beautiful saloon doors for his new ‘barndominium’ renovation to tap into this Old Western style.  Jeff has been making things from wood since year dot including all manner of furniture and home décor, working with his customers to design individual pieces as if they were going into his own home. He wanted detailing he could easily add and quickly machine to give the project the Raw Hide touch, so let’s find out how Jeff used Design & Make clipart with VCarve to add some ‘Yee-Haw’ to these Country & Western themed rolling barn doors.

Hi Jeff, thank you for contacting us about your stunning rolling doors project. This looks like a lot of fun to make and I can see you really enjoy helping tailor people’s homes to their unique style. How did your maker journey start?

I have been a tinkerer for as long as I can remember. Then my interests turned to woodworking in my twenties and still enjoy it every day nearly forty years later. The first job I had related to making furniture was being a model maker for a brass bed company. I started making my own furniture at that point and grew from there as people would ask me to make something for them.

That’s great to hear you were able to transfer your work skills to your own furniture-making business. You’ve created so many different pieces so is there anything specific you enjoy making?

I mainly enjoy making custom furniture and built-ins and have been making a range of home décor for years. These range from coffee tables, tallboys, dressers, pews, sideboards, cabinetry and vanities, to framing and custom signs, outdoor furniture, and cutting boards. I also refurbish old furniture and even have a range of corn hole (bean bag) and arcade games so it’s an eclectic mix of projects. I only recently started making rolling barn doors as they are a big hit here in Texas.

Do you have any preferred materials or finishes that you like using?

When making furniture I love to use white oak which is also very popular in Texas. For the barn doors, I used mainly hard Maple but also a little Douglas Fir which is all the rage of late.

White oak and Douglas fir really do make stunning furniture for any style of home and they’re both very durable woods which give a great cutting finish. When did you get into CNC and what equipment do you use to support your maker business?

I got into CNC by chance really as I started reading and seeing all the videos online about it. I planned to look at building my own machine but then I met a man who was retiring from woodworking. He became a good friend and I eventually bought his ShopBot, and from that moment on I was hooked. I have a ShopBot PRS Standard with a 48”X 96” bed.

What a lucky CNC find and maker friend into the bargain.. and with Vectric software set up and ready to go!

Yes absolutely. I started using VCarve from day one with my CNC and use it for nearly all of my custom made work. I started adding Design & Make clipart to my projects two years ago and I’m working my way up to Aspire 🙂 I have used clipart elements before from Design & Make on numerous projects as the individual models and scenes are great for making the designing and processing projects much easier.

CNC is contagious and it sounds like you never turned back since!  We love the quality and sheer variety of work you are producing. What inspired you to start looking at rolling barn doors as an example of your custom work?

The story behind the barn doors is one of necessity. Rolling barn doors are really popular as they look great but also solve problems where there's little room for a door to swing open. Doors that open into narrow hallways, closets in cramped rooms, doorways you want to cover without taking up floor space – all these situations are a great place for them. We built a barndominium in Hico Texas (where everyone is someone). We knew we were going to have a game room inside where our antique pool table would be. It was built in 1912.

We always wanted rolling barn doors dividing the space between the game room and great room, so I started plans to make the Country & Western themed barn doors as I knew that I wanted them to look like old fashioned saloon doors. I found the Western Scenes Collection clip art on the store and my wife and I immediately knew that we had found what were looking for. I started using VCarve to create all the recessed areas and, using the texturing toolpath creator, carved the shape and features of the lower portion of the doors. The rivets were just circles that I created to bypass the texture and then my wife painted them silver. The total machine time for both doors front and back was 16 hours.

The finish is general finish stain and my wife again added the stain highlights on the cattle, horses, mountains and cowboy.  I do the heavy lifting she does the artistic stuff and it works out great!

Everyone has something unique to bring to their making so that sounds like the perfect partnership! Do you have any top tips or lucky mistakes you want to share?

I had one lucky mistake that I stopped before it became a disaster. I was running the back of one of the doors and the cut just did not sound right. I looked down and I had not tightened the collet enough and there was some vibration that loosened the bit. Luckily I was standing there and I am the only one who can tell where the ‘mistake’ was as I later buried it in some additional texturing! 🙂

You can see the whole video of our barndominium build here:

The barn doors look amazing and the clipart and texturing really gets that Old West saloon detailing down to a tee. Is there anything you would do differently next time?

Absolutely nothing at all. Everything was perfect.. except the only thing I would have done differently was to get someone else to pick the doors up off the CNC!

Do you have any top tips for other makers with their own woodworking hobby?

Enjoy your time in the workshop and don’t let it become a chore, as there are many folks that may not have the opportunity that we as makers / woodworkers do.


Thanks to Jeff for sharing the ins and outs of how he made these beautiful rolling barn doors. We hope this gives you inspiration to add an extra dimension to your wood projects.  Check out Jeff’s project gallery then head over to his Instagram or website to see more of his custom work!

Jeff Burklow

Jeff’s Custom Furniture


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