What if one frame and panel cabinet door breaks...

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Forum topic by Lee Barker posted 09-14-2012 01:45 PM 1088 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2875 days

09-14-2012 01:45 PM

...and now you know they all will eventually?

Schniggledorf recently posted about a single incident and it led me to ponder this larger problem.

Would it make sense to develop a router frame sort of jig and relieve the center (thicker) part of the panel from the back?

It sounds brutal, but I’m wondering if you reduced that thickness to 3/8 or so if the panel would lack the heft to split the frame joints.

All speculation and explanation welcomed!



-- " 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"

8 replies so far

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2452 days

#1 posted 11-05-2012 09:00 AM

I use black rubber space balls 1/4” diameter (from Rockler) 2 to 3 balls on each side. No problems so far.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2939 days

#2 posted 11-05-2012 01:14 PM

That is a good question and I have wondered about similar things since making these raised panel doors for an old sideboard. The panels are 3/4” thick, and I did use Space Balls, however when I joined the frame the length of the panel snugged completely tight, though I had 1/16” space/expansion slot on each of the top and bottom (width). Since my tight spot/area is along the length of the panel, I am not sure if I need to worry about expansion that much or consider what you are suggesting. The entire doors are ~17” square and the panel insert is 11 1/4” wide.

Click image to enlarge

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

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#3 posted 11-05-2012 01:41 PM

It would be an elaborate and perhaps unsuccessful fix
to dish out the back in a parabolic shape. With a
CNC it would not be so difficult. Then, like a guitar
top the door might bulge outwards seasonally.

Another form of door doctoring might be to saw
all the way through the edge of stiles in order to
deepen the groove from the outside. Then a
filler strip in glued in to the stile from the
edge. Similarly, the thinner profiles section on
the back of the rails and stiles could be just split
off, the panel reduced, and the missing material
replaced with applied mouldings.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2939 days

#4 posted 11-05-2012 02:07 PM

” the door might bulge outwards seasonally….”

That is what it sounds like to me as well. And as far as attempting elaborate fixes, I would think it much easier (if/when the need were to arise) to just cut the rails and stiles OFF and re-frame the panel completely. The only challenge then would be matching stain/finish. Thanks for the input.

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

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3184 days

#5 posted 11-05-2012 02:33 PM

I would probably attempt to reinforce joints instead, either with pocket screws or a spline. I would also consider coming through the top and bottom edges as well, perhaps with countersunk screws with dowel plugs. They wouldn’t noticeable on the edge of the doors.

Heck, metal staples or corrugated wood joiners would work.

Now, if the issue is caused by too much expansion in the panel beyond the space provided by the grooves, then I can’t think of a solution for that.

-- jay,

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3366 days

#6 posted 11-05-2012 02:58 PM

two things can affect the panel lifespan

when the rails/styles are glued together
a glue glob is trapped in the inner corners
(the corners of the panel gets ‘glued in’)
what i do is clip them off before assembly
so they don’t get the glue on them
and leave the doors flat for a bit
so the glue doesn’t run down in the groove
and glue the panel anyway along its edges

the other thing that can effect the panels
is too tight a fit in the dado slot
the finish is sucked into it
and glues the panel to the rails/styles

i have seen in the corners a split in the panel edge
at the corners sometimes
where the panel is shrinking somewhat
but the corner or edge is ‘glued’ in place from this

even though they are slightly smaller than the space allowed
they can be ‘trapped in place’ by these two things

i do use spaceballs now too
but still clip the corners of the panels
and make sure the fit is slightly loose in the grove

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

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2939 days

#7 posted 11-05-2012 03:08 PM

Thanks Jay. I currently do not have an issue on anything of value, but found this topic to be thought provoking for future fixes.

I do have an old HD prefab paneled cabinet door that my mother converted(arts&crafts) to a hanging mirror frame some +30-40 years ago, that has now expanded and split at the upper stile on one side. Minor, but may try experimenting with that one for the heck of it. The split is there yet all is still solid framewise. Coming from the backside and essentially making a spline/butterfly would be easy enough, to hold things right where they currently are.

Drilling for dowels and/or screws, however, would be more difficult unless you own very long 1/4” or 3/8” drill bits.

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

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2939 days

#8 posted 11-05-2012 03:11 PM

I have never thought about clipping the corners on panels. THAT sounds like a very easy and wise thing to do. I definitely want to remember to do that from here on out. Thanks for that tip. ”+10” 8-)

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

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