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Help! Getting the twist out of a cabinet door?

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Forum topic by mikewhite posted 05-16-2012 01:19 PM 2419 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mikewhite

25 posts in 966 days


05-16-2012 01:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I glued together my cabinet door frame last night (my very first project using all hand tools – hooray for me!) and found that my carefully layed out bridle joints had created a twist in the resulting door frame – i.e. laying flat the top left and bottom right corners were slightly elevated by just shy of a quarter inch causing the door frame to rock. The frame is square in the x/y axis.

Normally I would try to force a rigid panel into the rabbetted opening to straighten everything up but this is going to be a divided light door. I found a simple technique for piecing together the muntins – I guess you could describe it as “stick-building” the muntins; I believe it was from a FWW video.

I’m considering suspending the frame by two corners over a couple of saw benches and hanging a weight between the other two corners to try to pull everything back into one plane. Not my favorite idea but I can’t think of anything else. I briefly considered trying to plane out some of the twist but there is a little too much material involved. I’m open to other suggestions…


9 replies so far

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2698 posts in 2038 days


#1 posted 05-16-2012 02:27 PM

In the past I have laid the door flat on a bench, placed blocks under the corners that are touching, then c-clamp the raised corners down to the bench. I would over do the clamping some (gently-you could damage the joint) Leave for maybe a couple of days. It hasn’t always worked, but I have had some success. In principal this is similar to your idea.

Good luck

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View Bernie's profile

Bernie

414 posts in 1589 days


#2 posted 05-16-2012 04:15 PM

Same problem happened to me last summer, but I wasn’t able to straighten out my mistake. But I did learn from our fellow LS’s that my mistake wasn’t the wood warping. I had applied too much pressure on the clamps which caused the door to buckle.

If your problem is the wood rather then your workmanship (like mine), and your or Kent’s solution doesn’t work, try taking your door outside on a hot summer day. Find a flat piece of turf, wet it good, and lay your work the same way Kent did on his bench with a couple of weights on the high corners. Allow some time for the moister to be steamed out of the ground and into your wood and let dry flat.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1602 days


#3 posted 05-16-2012 05:43 PM

Kent’s system has worked for me as well. The quicker you can get to this after the glueup, the more likely it will be successful. I use multiple laminate samples as the shims, and generally force it, gently, to twice the error to allow for springback.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View DS's profile

DS

2132 posts in 1172 days


#4 posted 05-16-2012 08:30 PM

When all else fails, be prepared to remake the door. (Before you’ve divided the lights)

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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DS

2132 posts in 1172 days


#5 posted 05-16-2012 08:37 PM

Tips to avoid this issue:

Always glue up on a flat reference table.
Don’t overtighten your clamps.
Check for square and true before and after clamp tightening.
Use stable, straight stock that has aclimated in your shop before milling.
Ensure the joinery is true and square – small errors in a corner get multiplied the further away from the corner you go.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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DS

2132 posts in 1172 days


#6 posted 05-18-2012 04:25 PM

Mike, please let us know what you end up doing with the door.
It’s always good to benefit from another’s experience.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1867 days


#7 posted 05-18-2012 04:42 PM

charles neil show one way to do it in one of his many vidios on his site and on the youtube

Dennis

View mikewhite's profile

mikewhite

25 posts in 966 days


#8 posted 05-21-2012 05:49 PM

Thanks for all of the responses. Using the method Kent proposed I was able to straighten out most of the twist. I have to say that while his suggestion was very similar to my initial impulse, using clamps turned out to be far more practical and easy to adjust than my weight method. Thanks Kent!

As I was gluing in the muntins I tried to keep the joints fairly tight to help reinforce the new-found flatness.

Once the cabinets are done I’ll be sure to post some pictures. I’m off to build my first scratch stock so I can make some molding for the panes.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2698 posts in 2038 days


#9 posted 05-22-2012 05:36 PM

Glad it helped. We make several hundred doors a week, and rarely have one warp. We are careful in the glue-up to make sure they are flat as they set up in the clamps, however in dealing with wood, it often has a mind of it’s own.

The last time (years ago) I was called out on a warped door, I took it back to the shop and laid it on my table saw. It was perfect! As it turned out, the cabinet itself was twisted.

I look forward to your finished project.

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

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