How to make your own doors

Ooookay. So this post has been a long while coming and I guess the only reason why I am putting it down now is that I am seriously procrastinating on my uni studies!

I think this is pretty important for me to share. In terms of Our Bus this has been the story of every single little thing.

Here’s how it went. Early on in the building process, probably a week after we’d set to building, Henry went out and bought two doors, they were 50mm deep doors, much too high and (it turned out) just a few cms too narrow for our needs on the bus. The idea was that we could saw these down, which we did, only to find that we could actually make the door frames just that fraction wider, meaning these doors were too narrow. In the end Henry was pretty glad about that because it meant he could make his own doors and save 25mm in depth. In a bus every mm counts and if we can squeeze a few of these precious things out of a door or two then that is that.

Building the doors turned out to be pretty straightforward. The first was slightly less than perfect and the design was changed. The second was a pretty good rendition of the second design and the third was a perfect turn out of the perfect second design.

However, the doors have been in the bus for, oh, well over six months now, and they are actually getting a little marked (not too badly mind you, but it grates on the mind of the maker). Perfection never lasts long it seems.

Bus Doors Low Res001 Bus Doors Low Res002

So we  managed to recycle the aluminum which had been used in the walls of the previous bus fit-out. We simply glued these in place onto a sheet of the ubiquitous (in this bus!) Alucobond (or Aluwell, which is the brand we are using – it is basically aluminum bonded to a plastic core). We then filled the space with a foam which we had managed to get from our local tip shop.Bus Doors Low Res004

It was most crucial to glue every join and bend – to add strength to these potential weak spots.Bus Doors Low Res005

We have mostly used Sikaflex 252 or 221 or marine grade glue throughout our bus.Bus Doors Low Res006

After scratching up the aluminum and cleaning it with Methylated spirits (and letting it dry – Metho is basically the only thing which can remove this glue), we sikaflexed the aluminum, ready to fold the door over.Bus Doors Low Res007

You can see above where Henry has routed in the grooves in order to bend the door over. We were a little unsure as to how the door would bend and whether it would bend square, but it did like a charm, it was surprisingly easy actually. Henry also cut grooves into the aluminum for the door runner to sit. This was entirely his department and I just had to look impressed once he’d finished…which I did – and I was!Bus Doors Low Res008

Glued over. We left the back end of the door uncovered. There was really no need to cover here. One door used one sheet of Aluwell perfectly and the tail end would be hidden in the wall anyway. Sometimes it’s not worth getting into a tizz about something that will never been seen or noticed at all.Bus Doors Low Res009

And done! How neat is that fold!

Installing the doors was another effort, particularly as our bus is sitting on a slope and sort of leaning sideways as well. It is all kinds of not square! I left that, again, to Henry’s genius. He has them now sitting inside our walls, entirely hidden as the mechanism to open is a push-to-lock/push-to-open, all of our doors and drawers use this mechanism – makes sense really. No one wants to be walking into handles, something which is made more likely when squeezing through tight spaces.



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