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bowed cabinet door10/18
I have had a callback on a year old custom kitchen job that involves a slight bow in a 5' high cabinet door. These doors are 3/4" thick hard maple with a 3" wide stile and rail and 3 separate panels with 2 intermediate 3" rails separating them. It is one of a pair of double inset, flush doors on a pantry cabinet. The left side door has stayed very straight, while the right side has developed about a 3/32" bow so there is just a slight misalignment when shut. I'm hesitant to make a new door, with no guaranties that it will stay perfectly straight in a 5' height either, plus it was a custom color pigmented finish and they have been very picky about finish issues to begin with. What type of tolerances do you guys allow for door bow in this tall of a door and any suggestions for trying to correct this bow without resorting to a new door? I had thought about a kerf on the back, top to bottom with a 1/8" thick metal flat stock epoxied in or even an angle piece. These doors have 5 hinges each, and I have tried adjusting the stops to split the difference but they are looking for something better.
I dont' recall the maximum height that we will warranty but I'm pretty sure we don't warranty anything over 5', and the client is made fully aware of it.
If you've exhausted all your other options, your best bet is the door straightening kit from somewhere like Hafele. A 3" wide stile should be plenty of room to put one in.
The ones I'm familiar with use two 35mm hinge bore holes and dado connecting them (along the approximate center of the stile). The straightening comes from adjusting the nuts on a long piece of all-thread included. They work very well. Just tedius to do.
You'll need one of your more detail oriented team members to do this, it's not a task for an apprentice to tackle.
Biggest hurdle is locating where you will dado it without interfering with the screws for the door pull.
I have inlaid a piece of 3/8" th x 1/4" wide x full length solid wood into the back that has an 'opposite' curve sawn into it. The advantage here is that you can make a piece with 1/2" bow to it, dry clamp it to the door top and bottom (after the plow) and see how it pulls the door stile straight. Increase or decrease the spline bow if needed. When you glue and clamp, be sure to have a straight edge on the exposed face of the door, just under the spline, so that it goes into a straight stile.
This is a real fix, that will pass under most 'no compromise' situations. No water or sun, no cross clamping, no butchered chickens or full moons required.
I feel your pain. When 3 doors that were somewhere around 112" tall warped on me, I dadoed a 1/2" wide slot on the edge similar to what David did with his hardwood strip, but used 1/2 x 1/2 steel bar stock bent to the opposite curve. The dado's tight enough that the bar can be pushed in and bend the door back straight, but not so tight that I couldn't get it out to get the bend just right and try again. Once it was dialed in, I shot some 5 min epoxy to keep it in place and repainted the back side. These were paint grade doors that were pretty fancy for us, and I really didn't want to remake. It's now our go-to solution when an expensive door doesn't cooperate.
A few years ago I was browsing the Conestoga Wood catalog when I came across their house doors section. They are selling interior house doors by glueing two of there cabinet doors back to back. I'd been looking for a solution to keep tall cabinet doors straight because we do a lot of them, so I decided to try it. We've done dozens of taller cabinet doors this way now and they are perfectly flat and they stay that way. Every door we do now that exceeds about 60" gets done this way. I factor the cost into my bids, but compared to the call backs and other alternatives it's the most economical solution I've found.
The regular Blum clip hinges are 3/4"-1 1/8"
In the future, you could make them thicker and use more hinges to keep it straight.
I would try the angled steel if you have room. If you do use the steel, I would put a piece on the other cabinet door as well.
I have also used All Thread rod to straighten panels. If you dado a slot into the back of the door, put a length of All Thread rod into the slot and fill the void with epoxy. I have used West System epoxy. I mix some sawdust with the epoxy to thicken it. Of course, put the door on a flat surface, clamped down.
I have done this on wooden tops. I use 1/2" All Thread. This might be a little more difficult on a 3/4" door. You would be routing most of the way through the stile.
Good luck. These things happen.
I really suggest you guys look into the door straightening hardware I mentioned above from Hafele, and I'm sure it's avail elsewhere.
The real benefit to it is that it's fully adjustable. You don't have to guess at it.
And if, for whatever whack reason, you get a call back that the door warped again, just a couple turns of a small wrench and the door is straight. We've never had a call back on one of these but it's still very adjustable if we did.
I have heard about the Hafele product and its success. I have no doubt it works.
I like a shop made fix for several reasons: It is available now, or in a few minutes, it works, it blends in and covers up so it is an invisible fix, it does not alarm the customer by being visible and 'adjustable', it is local - you do it in your shop with your ingenuity, giving rise to a higher level of craft and self-worth.
That is funny.