Doors twisting - but why?

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Forum topic by AdamNah posted 02-12-2015 02:45 AM 1182 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1439 days

02-12-2015 02:45 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question maple joining

When I fitted the doors for this entertainment center they were flush with the face frame. after a few days moving it from the cold Michigan shop to inside the doors twisted slightly. It seems like every week they are twisted in slightly different amounts.

I realize that bringing it inside could have an effect due to relative humidity but I wouldn’t expect continual movement since it has been inside for a month. Maybe the problem is having a large(ish) door without a panel or glass to help stop the twist?

The current overall twist is about 3/16.
Mortise and tenon joints
Wood for doors is maple and well seasoned.


7 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3950 days

#1 posted 02-12-2015 03:05 AM

Change in temperature and humidity are big reasons for wood to move. I suspect its more the humidity change that is the problem. Was the shop below freezing when you weren’t working in there?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Aj2's profile


1950 posts in 2036 days

#2 posted 02-12-2015 04:32 AM

Was the maple flat sawn,If so rift or quarter sawn would have been a better choice.Since wood is both mysterious and amazing.Could be the change in temp and moisture.sorry if I come across snarky I like the the look of your piece kinda industrial and highly functional .Good job!

-- Aj

View LeTurbo's profile


234 posts in 1823 days

#3 posted 02-12-2015 05:24 AM

It’s not uncommon, I think, and it’s sure to happen to everyone. The usual remedy is just to wet the door slightly, twist it the opposite direction and clamp it in place, then leave it for a few days (or place a heat source close by to speed things up). All that needs to be done before painting though.

View bobro's profile


320 posts in 1548 days

#4 posted 02-12-2015 06:14 AM

No panel giving rigidity, thin stock, and I bet the stiles have end grain exposed while the stiles don’t.

A lap joint in this application is superior to a floating tenon (domino, biscuit, dowel) or m+t because it exposed end grain evenly, and a miter of course is best in this regard as it closes the end grain.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

View albachippie's profile


773 posts in 3273 days

#5 posted 02-12-2015 11:02 AM

Welcome to LJs AdamNah. That’s a great looking unit. I have been doing this for over twenty years now, and, as Aj2 said above, wood remains the most mysterious and amazing material, so making it unpredictable. When doing home projects, it helps to rough cut the timber and take it to acclimatise in the area it will finally be situated. Leave it there as long as you can before machining. This will mean the timber is close to its final dimension and move/shrink/split/warp as much as it’s going to. No guarantee, but it definitely helps. With regards to your current project being finished, you either live with it, or you could maybe fit some slip bolts to the offending door to pull out the twist when closed. Or, as a last resort, remake the doors. In my experience once wood twists, there aint much you can do to remove it I’m afraid. You’re trying to fight nature, and nature rarely loses!

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland

View AdamNah's profile


2 posts in 1439 days

#6 posted 02-12-2015 10:41 PM

Thanks for the advice! The shop was below freezing and the wood is flat sawn.

I am currently reading Understanding Wood which has been a real eye opener.

View rwe2156's profile


3230 posts in 1718 days

#7 posted 03-04-2015 07:46 PM

If they don’t stabilize check this out:

There is a technique called splining where you plow a very deep groove the length of the rail and insert a wood spline of the same species. Normal you do it from the panel side, but it would work fine on assembled doors if painted.

Glue with stiff drying glue like Tightbond III and glue up flat.

As you probably now know, rift sawn wood not the best for door rails.

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

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