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Split Joints in Door Panel

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Forum topic by Henry Mowry posted 46 days ago 506 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Henry Mowry

237 posts in 1701 days


46 days ago

My son just bought a new house, and the front door has a problem.

Two of the raised panels in the door are having glue failures … the joints are splitting in the narrow area of the panel closest to the stiles of the door frame. The splits – 5 in one panel, 2 in another – are large enough you can see daylight through the splits.

My question: how do I repair those panels? I don’t know what kind of wood the door is made from … the home is located in the desert of Southern California. Any perspective on how to fill those cracks, and perhaps end the splitting?

Thanks!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA, http://www.MowryJournal.com


14 replies so far

View mrjinx007's profile

mrjinx007

1374 posts in 402 days


#1 posted 46 days ago

Hmm, I am not sure exactly what you are talking about… Some pictures sure can sum up what you mean… I built this bathroom door from 2×6’s from a lumber yard 24 years or so ago because of the unusual size. I didn’t experience much shrinkage except in one panel, here is a picture of it:

Regardless, I think I can remedy your problem if I could see the end result… Please PM me as I usually don’t check my previous responses to every post.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View Henry Mowry's profile

Henry Mowry

237 posts in 1701 days


#2 posted 45 days ago

Here are a couple of shots of the door. There are about 7 tiny splits in the glue-ups for the raised panels.

All suggestions & help will be appreciated!!

http://i1300.photobucket.com/albums/ag96/Henry_Mowry/IMG_20140715_100938_362_zpsbfe9322a.jpg!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA, http://www.MowryJournal.com

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mrjinx007

1374 posts in 402 days


#3 posted 45 days ago

Hi,
You can few options,
1- cut a wedge from same color wood and insert it in the crack with glue.
2- Tape around the crack, coat the inside of the crack with fiberglass rosin using a small brush and fill the gap with bondo. Sand smooth and use oil based coloring pencils or water based (depending on the finish) and clear coat it.
3- Same as 2 except use glue mixed with sawdust.

The bondo advantage id that bondo can flex with the movement of the wood and you can match the grain colors with different color pencils.
Nice looking door.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View bonesbr549's profile

bonesbr549

174 posts in 1701 days


#4 posted 45 days ago

From the view it appears the panel was glued in to the frame and could not move and shrank and split. Unless you want to completely refinish the door, you may have to live with it. I cannot tell if your location has seasons and great swings in humidity. If it’s relatively stable, you could fill with epoxy (color). I would not try a wood filler as I don’t see it holding up. Just my two cents worth.

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Henry Mowry

237 posts in 1701 days


#5 posted 45 days ago

Humidity is not the issue here: the home in question is in the high desert climate near Lancaster, CA. The panels were glued up with strips about 2-1/2” wide, and the panel is splitting on every single seam.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA, http://www.MowryJournal.com

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mrjinx007

1374 posts in 402 days


#6 posted 44 days ago

I wonder if the door was a “recent” purchase from another location. It almost look like an old church door.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1270 posts in 1004 days


#7 posted 44 days ago

Still sounds like humidty-related. Perhaps the door was purchased and/or made from wood in a more humid area. Once it was installed, the wood shrank, and then split. The fact that it’s happening on every single seam indicates that the wood is moving, or at least was as it acclimated, and being restricted. If it were one or two occurrences, maybe that would be poor craftsmanship in the joint.

I like the bondo idea.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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mrjinx007

1374 posts in 402 days


#8 posted 44 days ago

If the panel are splitting along the seams, then the best option may be to take it somewhere and have it dipped and reassemble it with good glue. Normally panels aren’t glued-in.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View waho6o9's profile (online now)

waho6o9

4842 posts in 1211 days


#9 posted 43 days ago

Bondo

Marks a lot

Done

View mudflap4869's profile

mudflap4869

289 posts in 93 days


#10 posted 43 days ago

The high desert has rapid temp changes. If the panels are solidly glued in they cannot expand and contract at the same rate as the thicker wood and tent to split. I saw that the split is at the thinest part of the panel and that is common with this application. As long as the panels are firmly glued to the stronger parts this will continue to occur. The panels must be able to float.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

706 posts in 1592 days


#11 posted 43 days ago

Wood movement is almost always due to moisture movement. A solid wood door will have constant issues with the sun on one side and a home environment on the other; a desert environment will make it worse. I can’t think of a way to stop it, but a covered entryway that blocks the sun from directly hitting it would be a good idea if one isn’t in place already. That is a beautiful door, sure wish I could help you better. Best of luck with it. As far as repairing it, I’d go with epoxy as well.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

518 posts in 670 days


#12 posted 43 days ago

I think the guys have nailed it, Henry.
Woodworkers must understand that their medium, as a rule, tends to move with temperature and moisture – specifically the relative humidity of the climate. As the relative humidity changes, so changes the wood. The general rule of thumb is that you must accommodate for a possible 1/4” of movement for every 12” of tangential grain. See this for a very concise explanation:
http://workshopcompanion.com/KnowHow/Design/Nature_of_Wood/2_Wood_Movement/2_Wood_Movement.htm

When door are made, typically this kind of movement is planned for and accommodated, by making the grooves in the stiles and rails deeper by 3/16”-1/4” than the tongue on the panel. Usually in cabinets at least, there are rubber space balls placed in the grooves to help keep the panel centered but still accommodate movement.

If a woodworker glues or nails the panels into the stile and rail frame, then he has not accommodated the wood for it’s innate tendency to move. Consequently something has to give… It’s usually the weakest point, the joints between the rails and stiles being the common one, but I could see the thinnest part of the panel being the other.

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Underdog

518 posts in 670 days


#13 posted 43 days ago

It’s interesting to me that this comes up at this juncture…
I work in a cabinet shop and we currently have a job in the shop in which the homeowner apparently wanted solid mahogany horizontal grain slab doors and end panels. At first they wanted all end panels, including the 96” tall panels, to be solid wood until someone sat the designer and the new boss down and told them it was a “BAD IDEA”. So, only the doors will be solid wood.

But on a frameless set of cabinets with 1/8” reveals, what do you think is going to happen with 36” tall horizontal grain doors hinged on one side? 3/4” worth of seasonal movement, captured in two places on one side with only 1/4” of space to go?

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Henry Mowry

237 posts in 1701 days


#14 posted 43 days ago

Great information. Thanks to the forum for looking at this problem from a few angles.

The house is in a Spanish hacienda style, with the interior door protected under a large overhang. It’s protected from direct sunlight much of the day. There is a similar courtyard entry door that is totally exposed to the elements, and it has suffered from not being protected. It’s in urgent need of finish & varnish … but that’s a problem for another day.

I’m going to go with some epoxy and magic marker to fix the inner door’s failures, I believe. That should cover up the problem well enough that sunlight isn’t visible through the cracks … which is really the biggest problem. The cracks are very thin; it’s really a nominal problem for insulation/dust. Still, filling the cracks will solve all problems (unless they keep going!).

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA, http://www.MowryJournal.com

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