Twisting cabinet doors

      Only changes in moisture content cause wood to change in size or shape. 1998.

by Professor Gene Wengert

How can I keep cabinet doors from twisting after manufacture? Cherry seems to be especially difficult.

Wood (and this includes your doors) only changes size or shape for one reason--the MC changes. Therefore, you need to dry the wood to the correct MC--that is, the MC that the wood will achieve in use (6 to 7% in most of the U.S.). You need to check this MC of the incoming lumber yourself; don't rely on your supplier, because many times the supplier is not correct.

The reason the doors twist rather than cup, or warp uniformly, is that the grain is at an angle. The fact that wood has a grain angle that is not perfectly aligned with the sides of the pieces of lumber is natural--with pool cues where any warp is catastrophic, we would split the logs to figure out the grain angle and then saw parallel to the grain. But, we couldn't afford to do this for every log that is producing lumber--just for the logs producing the most expensive products.

Professor Gene Wengert is Extension Specialist in Wood Processing at the Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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