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rail and stile cabinet doors warping

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Forum topic by WalkerTexasRanger posted 02-03-2017 02:32 PM 1100 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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WalkerTexasRanger

27 posts in 1138 days


02-03-2017 02:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am a woodworking hobbyist. I am making rail and stile doors with 1/4” panel inserts in my kitchen using the Rockler stile/rail bits. When I made the longer doors say -36 and 48 inches long; everything went well. However, on the shorter cabinets say 20-30” long, after I clamp and glue, I noticed that my doors are warped. I tried releasing the pressure on the side clamps and clamping down the doors to a flat panel. However, I am still getting some warping. Any ideas? Or, any where I look for answers?


24 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5468 posts in 2653 days


#1 posted 02-03-2017 03:34 PM

This is a common issue. Was the lumber kiln dried?
Was the lumber jointed and planed for this project, or did you buy it at finished thickness?

I mill my cabinet door parts in two phases. First I rough mill them flat and square, being careful to remove equal amounts of material from both sides of the board. For instance, if I did 75% of my planing on one face of the board, it will warp.

Stack and sticker the boards overnight, and repeat the entire process. That way the jointer will remove any warp or twist from each board. Then run them through the planer to final thickness.

I use 7/8” thick stock for cabinet doors. 3/4” is standard, but is more likely to warp. Quartersawn lumber will be naturally more stable than flatsawn. Rift sawn is also good.

I like 2” wide rails and stiles. It not only is more stable, but gives adequate width for the cup hinge holes.

Basically cabinet doors are much different than other components in the cabinet. Doors need to be flat and true on their own, since they are not glued to any other flat reference surface. I can edge a plywood shelf with a slightly bowed board successfully. However, if I used that same bowed board to make cabinet doors, I would be in trouble.

One final thing, use only enough clamping pressure to close the joints, no more. It is human nature to throw on a bunch on pipe clamps and C…R…A…N…K them down. I favor parallel clamps for door glueups, but pipe clamps can work if you go easy.

Some food for thought. Let us know how you resolve this issue.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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WalkerTexasRanger

27 posts in 1138 days


#2 posted 02-03-2017 03:48 PM

Thanks for your interest. I purchased 1×3 poplar at Home Depot. I selected the straightest boards (for what that is worth.) I like your joint/planing idea from 7/8; but, at this point I am stuck with the preplaned 3/4”. My first set of doors turned out pretty good. They were 36 and 48” long. However, in those doors, I had a middle rail. It ist he 20-30” doors that are giving me trouble. Do you think it would make any difference if I would clamp on both the top and bottom (front and back)?

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WalkerTexasRanger

27 posts in 1138 days


#3 posted 02-03-2017 04:00 PM

I just had a cabinet maker suggest that cold weather may cause them to warp. That could be my problem because my garage is heated during the day when I put them together and sometimes I leave the doors clamped (or not clamped) in my garage at night. I am sure the temp drops to 40-45. That may be my problem.

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

373 posts in 428 days


#4 posted 02-03-2017 04:43 PM

You only need two clamps on a door – top and bottom. Clamp tight enough for squeeze out, no tighter. Use clamping cauls to hold everything flat while the glue dries. Use space balls to float the panel before assembly.

Space your hinges 1/4-1/2-1/4. Center the 35mm drill 13/16” in from the edge 1/2 deep. Hold the hinge in place and center drill & pilot the #6 mounting holes. Use a #8 pilot on the jamb side.

Make sure both hinges are properly mounted and positioned. Sometimes a mismounted or misaligned will warp a door.

When in doubt, hit it with a hammer.

M

View jbay's profile

jbay

1861 posts in 739 days


#5 posted 02-03-2017 06:26 PM



You only need two clamps on a door – top and bottom. Clamp tight enough for squeeze out, no tighter. Use clamping cauls to hold everything flat while the glue dries. Use space balls to float the panel before assembly.

Space your hinges 1/4-1/2-1/4. Center the 35mm drill 13/16” in from the edge 1/2 deep. Hold the hinge in place and center drill & pilot the #6 mounting holes. Use a #8 pilot on the jamb side.

Make sure both hinges are properly mounted and positioned. Sometimes a mismounted or misaligned will warp a door.

When in doubt, hit it with a hammer.

M

- Madmark2


I wish you would quit telling people this. 3-4 inches from the top and bottom of the door.
If you have a 48” door you don’t put the hinge 12” from the top…

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

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Madmark2

373 posts in 428 days


#6 posted 02-03-2017 07:54 PM

It balances the stresses on the hinges from an engineering standpoint. You can set two hinges anywhere you want but if you want the ‘correct’ spacing 1/4-1/2-1/4 is it for two hinges. 1/6-1/3-1/3-1/6 for three and so on.

What do you suggest as a rule instead?

M

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WalkerTexasRanger

27 posts in 1138 days


#7 posted 02-03-2017 08:01 PM

I hate to show my ignorance; but, it seems to shine through anyway. what do you mean by 1/4-1/2-1/4 spacing for two hinges? WT

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WalkerTexasRanger

27 posts in 1138 days


#8 posted 02-03-2017 08:03 PM

also, do you use the space balls or space rectangles on all four sides? Or, something less?. And, do you have to cut the panels slightly less when using the spacers? It seems to put a lot of stress on the clamps if I measure the panels to fit just inside the rabbeted slot and add spacers.

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jbay

1861 posts in 739 days


#9 posted 02-03-2017 08:11 PM


It balances the stresses on the hinges from an engineering standpoint. You can set two hinges anywhere you want but if you want the correct spacing 1/4-1/2-1/4 is it for two hinges. 1/6-1/3-1/3-1/6 for three and so on.

What do you suggest as a rule instead?

M

- Madmark2

Like I said above 3-4” from the top and bottom and however many in between, depending on size of door, evenly spaced.

The engineering standpoint is irrelevant in my opinion, the hinges are made for the weight of the door. The hinge spacing I recommend helps keep the doors from warping away from the cabinet.
If you want you could show me specs that suggest what your recommending, although it won’t change my methods any.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

748 posts in 335 days


#10 posted 02-04-2017 03:14 AM

Willie is right on with his advice. Any warping in a 5 panel door is due to the material moving or possibly over tightening clamps. You must start with straight, flat stock. I always sort the material to use the quarter sawn or rift sawn pieces for rails and stiles. It’s far more stable than the plain sawn material- I save that for the panels.

I follow almost exactly the same process as Willie. I also use 2” wide door material. I very carefully select my materials. I rough cut to length and width and let sit overnight. Next day I joint a flat face on my rail and stile material, plane to thickness, square up one edge on the jointer, rip to width on the TS and clean up the cut with the jointer, then CTL on my radial arm. I then do the cope and stick cuts on the shaper.

When I do my glue ups, I assemble the door and close the joints with two pipe clamps- one on top and one on the bottom. I tighten just enough to close the joint, no more. On the back side of the door I then shoot 3 pins at each joint- about 3/16” in from the joint to catch the tenon. I work through all of my pipe clamps (20, enough for 10 doors), by the time I get to the tenth door I can pull door number 1 out of the clamps and keep going.

When I use European style cup hinges (which is most of the time for casework), my hinges are always 4” from the top and bottom. Long doors might get a third or fourth hinge in the center. The Blum documentation I have only has recommendations for the number of hinges per door based on weight and door height, but nothing about the placement of the hinge along the stile.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3116 posts in 3071 days


#11 posted 02-04-2017 03:33 AM

I only use Blum soft close Euro hinges. They are attached 3 1/2 – 4 inches from each end (except of the really short cabinet doors). No problems

I have made my own doors and bought them from a door manufacturer (Evans in Brenham, Tx).

No problems with doors warping.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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Craftsman on the lake

2708 posts in 3277 days


#12 posted 02-04-2017 03:55 AM

Wood from a box store preplaned is often warped. But cut into short rails/stiles it’s usually okay. When you put your two clamps on the doors to glue them check for flatness with a straight edge and square. They always need to be squared up. If you don’t the door will be glued up warped.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View WalkerTexasRanger's profile

WalkerTexasRanger

27 posts in 1138 days


#13 posted 02-04-2017 02:34 PM

This is my favorite forum! Thanks for all the help. WTR

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

116592 posts in 3417 days


#14 posted 02-04-2017 03:23 PM

Wille and others have hit most of the points I would bring up other than a fix for you warped doors.
Charles Neil has a pretty good trick to flatten out warped doors. You take your doors and run them on the table saw cutting into the edge of the stile approximately 85% through their width with an 1/8-3/16 kerf then you cut some shims to fill the kerf allowing for some glue space and glue them in place with a good hard glue like plastic resin glue. clamp doors flat which may involve shims and let dry completely. That door will stay flat.I’ve used this process and it works beautifully.

https://www.amazon.com/00203-Weldwood-Plastic-Resin-1-Pound/dp/B001003J16/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486220628&sr=8-1&keywords=plastic+resin+glue

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2716 posts in 1320 days


#15 posted 02-05-2017 01:08 AM

Probably the result of either stress or moisture in the wood but a warped door can also occur during clamping especially if using pipe clamps as they tend to have non parallel force vectors. More so when doing cope and stick.

One solution is to make a deeper mortise this can prevent warping to some degree.

Jim is right about the splining trick – pretty darn slick & yes it does work. I use epoxy.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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