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Paint grade doors5/20
I'm looking for a source for cabinet doors where the stile and rail (or mitered) joints aren't so prone to yield hairline cracks through the paint. Is this possible? What have you guys found? Also, if you are using an mdf raised or recessed panel, are you caulking ahead of time? I prefer maple frames with mdf panels.
It's a bit cheesy and lo grade, but I have cut a frame door (for glass) out of a sheet of 3/4 mdf because it was polished high gloss and I was worried about the hairline cracking at joints. I think anything that has a glued joint will eventually if not immediately show through the paint
The cracks will develop regardless in mortise and tenon stile to rail and/or a mitered door, period, its just a fact.
I have done what Chris has done many times, but if the client is after a paint and wants mitered or stile and rail, it's gonna crack over time and it's better to explain it up front.
The only way to stop the hairline cracks is to use a 1 piece MDF door. Lots of options and styles available. Check out these guys http://www.cncwoodcraft.com/
As for the caulking of the panel to the frame, we dont caulk at all and really dont see the need, and also fear the caulk joint cracking over time.
This is only my opinion, solid MDF doors do not look real. With a frame and panel doors they look real. Yes you're going to get some hairline cracks don't forget your fighting Mother Nature if you want doors that don't crack Buy them at IKEA they're all plastic
One piece mdf doors made on the cnc. Only way to go for paint grade in my opinion.
I'm with John on this. Solid mdf doors look fake. I have used them exclusively in the past but now we do five piece with an mdf panel, which is the only way to go in my opinion. I don't use any caulk at all. Use space balls. Glue the joints and we use 5/8 brads in the back of the door to pin it.
Before you prime take 2P-10 and put a line across the joint, spray the accelerator on the glue and let it setup. Then sand it down flush. It'll keep it pretty solid.
The secret is to use 2 types of 2P-10. First apply the thin version, this will penetrate the joint, then cover it with the thick. This will now flow nicely across the wetted joint. Then spray with the accelerator.
I had to redo a kitchen that had bought doors. They only put glue on the tenons and none on the shoulder. I think a lot of them do that to lessen the chance of glue squeeze out. But it leaves the joint open to movement. Especially if they pin the back of the door in lieu of clamps.
I like to mix MDF and maple; I cut the frame with a rabbet and center panel cut out of MDF, then set the MDF center panel in it, then use maple moldings for the outside edge and stile and rail profile.
For a cheaper easier route you can leave the frame and raised panel one piece (I like to put a route in the back so that it's not just flat) and just do the applied molding for the stile and rail edge. Either way yields a door that is indistinguishable for a non-mdf door, except for the lack of joints showing through.
That's the only way I can guarantee a door the won't eventually show the frame joints because there aren't any.
In our case it depends on the customer. As I said before I personally think solid mdf is the way to go but it is ultimately up to the customer. None of them, including myself has ever thought they look fake. Granted there is no joint or gap where the panel enters the stile and rails but in my customers' minds that is a plus. If they don't want solid mdf that's fine with us. We'll build what they want. I would say about 75% pick the solid mdf door because they think it is cleaner looking and easier to wipe down.
Thanks everyone for your help! I'm glad I'm not the only one that has had this issue. I very much appreciate the different approaches outlined here and will be incorporating several of them in our paint grade work - very helpful.
I live in an northern michigan with alot of seasonal homes (aka, not heated in the winter). I have been making stile and rail doors out of mdf for years and they look as good today as when I built them. I clamp them 30 minutes with yellow glue, and I space ball the panels in the frame. Even when painted with lacquer, they still don't crack. I use plum creek mdf, two coats of primer and two top coats and the doors look great. I try to make my doors so they don't need caulk.
Gary, fake might be the wrong word for me to use. It's the rounded corners that I don't like.
Mike, on some doors I've seen I would have to agree with you. When we make one piece mdf doors on the cnc the final clean up pass in the corners of the stick profile is done with a 1/8" diam. bit. That's 1/16" radius. Unless you specifically look for that small radius it is not noticeable.
For those of you who do the recessed panel doors in one piece mdf, how to you clean up the panel well enough to look good under paint?
It's not the radius of the 1/8" bit people don't like, it's the rounded stile and rail profile at the corner that is the problem. I'm surprised there aren't smaller diameter bits for stile and rail available; they seem to be larger diameter probably for a cleaner cut at speed and for the larger flat area at the bottom for one pass machining. Compare the inside corner left behind from a typical round over stile and rail bit for mdf doors and one left by a pointed round over bit and you'll see what I'm talking about.
I haven't tried to make one piece flat panel doors for obvious finishing concerns, and the additional machining and finishing makes for a more expensive door than the raised panel variety. If I had to I would route a frame with rabbeted cut-out and drop a 1/4 or 3/8 panel in.
The reason I got away from the one piece doors was the sanding of the profiles. It was time consuming to do the sanding before finishing. The mdf panel on a five piece is simple.
I don't get it, which part of this profile don't you like?
I am doing mostly pretty high end cabinetry for kitchens and MDF is a no-no word to many of my customers. They don't want to listen to reasoning of better stability, etc. We use maple and space balls for natural and painted, glue applied to both rail and stile, panels back pinned at center point, and have had minimal crack transfers. All frames are clamped for a minimum 20 minutes. But then again, we are also getting a lot of requests for brushed finishes so they can "see the brushmarks" to which I tell them, "we will supply primed and sanded, you hire a painter for after install"!! Makes my life even easier.
Not saying my way is right and yours is wrong but I don't understand a couple of things..
Why do you sand the profiles? One reason we like mdf doors is there is no sanding. The finish off the cnc is great.
Why would flat panels be a problem? Minimal sanding with a square pad sander on the panel. High build primer and ready for paint.
Just to clarify, we do make flat panel doors the cnc. The cutter that hogs out the panel is 1 1/4" diam. so it doesn't take long. It leaves slight ridges but as I mentioned, a little sanding and high build primer fix that.
Count me as another guy going against the grain and making doors that don't develop cracks. It's a pretty extensive and top secret method that I'll share just this once. I glue them using TB1, clamp them for half an hour, and wait until the next day to sandů..oh yeah and there's the magic spell as well, but can't share that part:>0
If you turn a door and see pin holes in the backů.pretty much guaranteed to develop cracks.
Funny thing is I just started working for a new developer. Guy bought the building my old shop was in to turn into town houses. While at my shop was looking at some old doors I had lying around and asked me why they didn't have those cracks;)