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View jtrill's profile

doors breaking

by jtrill
posted 06-14-2013 01:57 AM

16 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3075 posts in 2283 days

#1 posted 06-14-2013 02:06 AM

We need more info:
1. What wood species?
2. Is it flat sawn or quartered?
3. What is the width of the panels?
4. What was the moisture content of the panels when you made the doors? At least what was the relative humidity when you made them?
5. Did they go from a dry climate (desert SW) to a humid climate (south Florida)?
6. Are the doors located next to the dishwasher by chance?
7. Any additional info you can provide?

-- Art

View bondogaposis's profile


4767 posts in 2378 days

#2 posted 06-14-2013 02:16 AM

Which has come apart, the rails from the styles or did the panel split?

-- Bondo Gaposis

View jtrill's profile


17 posts in 1884 days

#3 posted 06-14-2013 11:17 AM

the doors are red oak and flat sawn. I am not sure of the moisture but I bought the lumber from the same sawmill that I have in the past, but it was kiln dried. THe panels are different widths from six inches to eighteen inches or so. They are breaking where the stile and rail meet. The panels are fine. The only thing that I have done different was added an insert similar to space balls. Some doors were made in the winter and some in early spring so I am not sure if the humidity could be involved.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2099 days

#4 posted 06-14-2013 01:25 PM

IMO it leads to the spacer and expansion. Is the break at the stile/rail joint clean?? that would be a glue/gluing issue, or is the wood splitting at the joint, that would lead to expansion problem.

-- Who is John Galt?

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#5 posted 06-14-2013 01:54 PM

Using fresh glue?

If kids hang on cabinet doors with rail and stile
joints it can break them.

View skipj's profile


97 posts in 2299 days

#6 posted 06-14-2013 02:20 PM

It could be a number of things. I use space balls and have 3/16 in. all around. I have seen rased panel
doors shrink 1/8 in kitchens the winter and go back in summer. It could go the other way depending on
alot on the other the 1/8 in could be a factor.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3335 days

#7 posted 06-14-2013 02:27 PM

“The only thing that I have done different was added an insert similar to space balls.”
If it has not happened before then the insert similar to the space balls would seem to be the culprit…

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2940 days

#8 posted 06-14-2013 03:04 PM

I have more questions than answers, but am very interested in how this pans out. For me, I have only built two projects thus far that have panels, a blanket chest and raised panel doors on a sideboard.

Just as @jtrill has done, I have used 1/8in at the most on my panels. No problems thus far. I understand that that is no guarantee for the future.

My questions would be with regards to the environmental conditions where these joints have/are failing:
  • Are they in a constantly changing temp?
  • Are they in constantly changing humidity + – ?
  • Did it occur in a particular Season?
  • What type of heating/AC was utilized in those home environments?

I do NOT expect you to answer all questions in detail, but just wanted to suggest another direction to look into and/or research.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3603 days

#9 posted 06-14-2013 03:12 PM

What kind of joinery did you use for the stiles and rails ?

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2099 days

#10 posted 06-14-2013 03:20 PM

Something just dawned on me. On raised panel expansion doesn’t matter if the panel rise starts to soon. If you didn’t leave enough “flat” before what ever profile you used, it will bind in the mortise and push to door apart. Often times it will crack at this point, but oak could be strong enough to break the joint first. Pics of the failure would be helpful, but this would explain it. 1/8” should be plenty for expansion…. unless it is not actually 1/8” because it is binding on the panel profile, front or back.

-- Who is John Galt?

View AandCstyle's profile


3075 posts in 2283 days

#11 posted 06-14-2013 11:38 PM

The Shrinkulator indicates that a 6” tangential red oak panel will move 0.14” as the relative humidity goes from 30% to 70%. This seems to be a reasonable range to me given the seasonal humidity change. Leaving 0.125” for expansion and included spaceballs would appear to be inadequate.

-- Art

View jtrill's profile


17 posts in 1884 days

#12 posted 06-15-2013 12:31 AM

I layout the door to figure the size of the panel and then I subtract an 1/8 inch in width and length. I have not used the rubber inserts until the last couple of kitchen jobs. I was always taught 1/8 inch but we didn’t use the inserts before. Anyone have an idea on how to fix or do I need to tear apart the doors, cut the panels down and make new stile and rails? Any help would be appreciated.

View patron's profile


13607 posts in 3367 days

#13 posted 06-15-2013 01:10 AM

i leave 1/8” both sides when i use the ‘spaceballs’

the other way we did it for years was to make the panel exact
to the slot dimensions
and them trim of bot sides 1/8”
1/16” top and bottom
(so the profile is centered still)
and when the rails and stiles are glued up
move the panel to center
and pin nail it top and bottom
with short pins
so it can move one half the panel expansion
to each side yet still be centered
a dab of glue in the center of the top and bottom rails grove will do the same
just need to move the panel fast
before the glue sets

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3573 days

#14 posted 06-15-2013 02:12 AM

we use spaceballs, we allow 1/8” per side which would mean a 1/4” deduction for width and height. Never any real issues.

You might be able to re-glue, clamp and then pin the back side of the joint with a 18g 5/8” brad. I somehow doubt it will work because I think your panel is simply too large with using the spaceballs. If you have to remove the panel that could turn into quite the job. Especially if you are dealing with stain or paint grade finish.

-- .

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2099 days

#15 posted 06-15-2013 02:39 PM

I am with the others. I also use spaceballs, and use 1/8” each side, not total. Pics would be helpful to determine repair, but if you only have an expansion of 1/16” each side I would re-make. Also you didn’t answer about if the profile of the panel might be binding on the stile and rail. this would be something to check, depending on the panel profile. However we all need a little more info to help. Still don’t know if the wood cracked or the joint failed. To help determine if it is a glue failure, expansion failure, or both.

-- Who is John Galt?

View jtrill's profile


17 posts in 1884 days

#16 posted 06-17-2013 01:31 AM

I would say that the joint failed because most of them have pushed the joint apart. I have re-glued the doors and put a pin nail in it. If I have to remake the doors, I can. Most of the cabinets are for people that I know and they would understand. Interesting fact is that most of the doors that have come apart are a long double vertical panel door.

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