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need some advice on cabinet doors

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Forum topic by Peter5 posted 09-13-2011 08:05 AM 1201 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Peter5

65 posts in 2269 days


09-13-2011 08:05 AM

Hey Lumber Jocks,

I need some help. I’m building an armiore and it’s going great except the doors aren’t lining up in the middle the way they should. The doors are baltic birch with Jatoba veneer and they seem to be warping, especially the door on the left near the top right corner. I tried to clamp a solid piece of wood to the inside of the door but the wood seemed to follow the contour of the door, not the other way around. Would a powerful magnet do the trick to suck the door into place when it’s closed without making it too difficult to open? I’ll take any help I can get, thanks!!

-- Pete, Long Beach, CA http://www.petedeeblefurniture.com


16 replies so far

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TopamaxSurvivor

17671 posts in 3141 days


#1 posted 09-13-2011 08:44 AM

How think is the birch?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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crank49

3981 posts in 2436 days


#2 posted 09-13-2011 02:16 PM

Is the whole cabinet racking slightly to the right? That would make the left door go down while the right door goes up. Can you push the top right side toward the left and see a difference?

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 2534 days


#3 posted 09-13-2011 03:11 PM

It looks like the left door is slightly twisted causing the top, right, corner to be inside the case. Lay it on a known flat surface (saw table) and see if it’s flat.

When I’ve had this problem, I’ve had to make a new door. None of the straightening “tricks” were permanent.

This type of cabinet is probably the least forgiving for being slightly out of square. Sometimes it’s necessary to “tweak” the doors to get the desired gaps.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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PaulJerome

57 posts in 2499 days


#4 posted 09-13-2011 05:31 PM

No need to remake! Simply spline the entire length of the stile. This can be a pain but it’s much easier than making a new door. You also get the additional strength you need to avoid this from happening in the future.
Cut the groove for the spine about 3/4 of the width of the stile.

Just noticed there are no stiles. However, the spline will still work! Just ensure that you spline the entire height of the door. Make the spline about 2” and take the time to do both doors. you will be happy.

-- Paul, Central Illinois

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Peter5

65 posts in 2269 days


#5 posted 09-13-2011 06:42 PM

The baltic birch is 3/4”. Hey Paul, what do you mean by splining exactly? I tried to clamp some solid wood to the back of the door but it did not correct the problem. Is that what you mean? It’s going to kill me to make new doors, since the veneering took me forever and I am dying to be done with this project.

-- Pete, Long Beach, CA http://www.petedeeblefurniture.com

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PaulJerome

57 posts in 2499 days


#6 posted 09-13-2011 07:38 PM

Clamping a piece of wood to the back of the door will not work because you need to relieve the pressure. By splining, I am referring to cutting a center groove along the edge of the door and filling the groove with a piece the width and length of the groove. The groove, if deep enough, should release any pressure in the material. The spline material should be made of some type of hardwood (oak, maple, etc). You can cut these thin strips on the table saw, but leave them a little thicker, then use a planer to get the exact width you need. Simply glue the material in and clamp to a flat surface such as a torsion box or flat workbench. This should take care of your problem.

-- Paul, Central Illinois

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Peter5

65 posts in 2269 days


#7 posted 09-13-2011 07:51 PM

So where would you place the spline, vertically with the grain? Maybe an inch in from the edge or so?

-- Pete, Long Beach, CA http://www.petedeeblefurniture.com

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PaulJerome

57 posts in 2499 days


#8 posted 09-13-2011 08:04 PM

The spline would run the entire height of the door(s). In your case, yes, vertically. The birch plywood you’re using doesn’t appear to be very stable and the spline will stablize. It’s acting like the layers of plywood and stabilizing the material. I know plywood is suppose to be stable but I’ve run across this same issue. The only time I ever use the stuff is on the back.

-- Paul, Central Illinois

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miles125

2180 posts in 3471 days


#9 posted 09-13-2011 08:06 PM

Put an 1/8” shim under the left front leg. If carcase flex isn’t the problem and the door is actually bowed, try using a much stronger friction catch at that location instead of a magnetic one.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

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Peter5

65 posts in 2269 days


#10 posted 09-13-2011 08:10 PM

Hey Paul, how wide would you make the spline, 1/2”? And how deep, about half (3/8”)?

-- Pete, Long Beach, CA http://www.petedeeblefurniture.com

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PaulJerome

57 posts in 2499 days


#11 posted 09-13-2011 08:20 PM

If it were me, I would make the spline 1/4” thick x 2” wide. (minimum)

Miles, the only problem I have with that is that it doesn’t actually fix the problem. Just kind of putting a bandaid on it.

-- Paul, Central Illinois

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Peter5

65 posts in 2269 days


#12 posted 09-13-2011 08:35 PM

Hey Paul, what about the location? It seems that the twist in the door is distributed throughout the entire door- if I just place one spline near the troubled edge (on both doors) will that do the trick?

-- Pete, Long Beach, CA http://www.petedeeblefurniture.com

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PaulJerome

57 posts in 2499 days


#13 posted 09-13-2011 08:49 PM

Pete, it should, but just to be safe, I would do both edges and both doors. Again, spline the entire length of the door, not just the troubled area.

This may seem like alot of work but it will pay off when a year (or 2 or 3) down the road your doors aren’t warped or twisted.

Also, please don’t cut the 2 inch groove in one pass as you don’t want the door material to pinch the blade. If you can cut the groove with a slot cutter, that may make it easier for you.

-- Paul, Central Illinois

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Peter5

65 posts in 2269 days


#14 posted 09-13-2011 08:55 PM

I was thinking I’d use a dado blade with a few passes to get to 2” wide. What’s a slot cutter? I might use a router instead, but probably a dado would be the fastest. As for running the spline on the inside edge, it would have to be at least 3 or 4 inches from the edge to avoid the hinges- is this what you have in mind?

-- Pete, Long Beach, CA http://www.petedeeblefurniture.com

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PaulJerome

57 posts in 2499 days


#15 posted 09-13-2011 09:32 PM

The spline won’t interfere with the hinges. Imagine this…a long tenon on the edge of your door panels. Fill the tenon with the spline. Clean the edges and you won’t be able to see the spline in front or back only from edges (top, bottom) right and left if you don’t cover with matching material.

-- Paul, Central Illinois

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