Front Door Swings!

A couple years ago, Cynthia mentioned to me that she has always wanted a pivot-style front door rather than a door where the hinges are mounted on the jamb. For those years, I have been trying to figure out how to make the pivots. You can buy the hardware, but I have been unable to find any in Panama. I thought of using cone bearings but it was a complicated idea with a lot of welding and fabricating. Importing ready-made pivots is expensive, and you know me, I’m always looking for the hard way to do something.

But on our last trip to the city, I came across an elegant, easy, and inexpensive solution. I was in the wheel-and-castor isle of Discovery Center and spotted these heavy-duty castors:

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At $14 each, these ball bearing castors are a great find!

They were sitting upside down just as they are in the photo above. I was fiddling with them, swiveling them back and forth, just daydreaming really, when the solution came to me. What if I removed the wheels and just used the swivel parts? I bought two.

Back home, I removed the wheels, explained the project to a puzzled-looking Aramis, and got to work. Here is the bottom pivot bolted to the floor and the door being assembled on it:

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I am sure that I have broken a law or at least voided the warranty on the castors. But if that is the price to pay, so be it!

This is a big door: five-feet wide, eight-feet tall. When the door is open, there is a free width of four-feet. A “standard” door is three-feet by six-feet eight-inches.

We used 2″x4″x1/8″ rectangular steel tubing to make the door frame, welding the corners after we had everything squared and clamped:

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Here is a photo of the door all welded and hanging on the pivots. We have also riveted angle iron door stops on the jamb:

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The front door will be glass, just like the rest of the front wall of the house.

Here you can see the door opened into the house.

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Cynthia is very happy, and I am thrilled at how it takes no effort at all to open and close the door. As it stands now, the door weighs around 75 pounds, and even with a heavy pane of glass it should still be effortless to operate. And in the future if the ball bearings get damaged from dirt and grime, it will be an inexpensive proposition to swap out the pivots with new hardware.

Kitchen counter tops are next, but that’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by.