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Adjusting large cabinet doors.12/22
Working on some cabinets that are mission style with 4” wide styles and rails and are flat panel. Some of the doors are pretty large, about 25x43”. I purposely chose to go with the big doors instead of splitting them up into two because the wide styles and rails would’ve been wider than the panel in a lot of the cases. Some of these doors evidently have a little warp in them that the hinge adjustment won’t take out, it gets most of it but not quite all of it. Wondering if any of you guys have faced this and if there are any tricks to remedy this.
I can't help with the warp after the fact, or the adjustment.
The question - the problem - is doors with warp in them. Why is that?
If you have all the above covered, then the 'warp' has to happen after building. Wood warps in response to changes in the environment. It is not vodoo. It would need some pretty serious humidity swings to warp, in my opinion.
If you are buying doors, return them. If you do not plane your lumber or flatten it, then you should not do larger doors, in my opinion.
Doors made from solid wood will warp from time to time despite all of the methods described by David. To suggest otherwise, and insult you in the process, is unfair.
Unfortunately, if you have exhausted all of the tricks that the hinges provide you are left with several undesirable but unavoidable options.
-use a catch of some kind
In the future, the only sure way that we've found to mitigate warping in solid wood doors is to laminate them. You can use laminated stiles or you can even laminate 2 complete cabinet doors together back to back. We would not have used this method on a door the size that you indicated though, that's just bad luck.
Also, Hafele sells the “planofit” door straightener if all else fails
I meant no insult to Mike. He posts frequently and has reasonable expectations.
Dr Gene Wengert has stated (as have may others) that wood warps as a response to changes in the environment. It does not just decide to move out of plane to bedevil the cabinetmaker. The only exception I can think of would be a highly stressed part that is put in a door made by others, or a part that is neither ripped or planed in Mike's shop and appears flat and true, but has internal stress. The stress from a growing condition was not apparent to Mike if he did not mill the wood.
I have been a part of thousands of solid wood doors, mostly passage doors, over the years. I can think of 6 doors that have warped, twisted or bowed enough to warrant. One was customer abuse, and not warranted. One was our fault with out of square parts that twisted a Walnut door. Two had Knotty Pine wet wood stiles, and as they dried out, they bowed a bit. Two more kin Poplar were stressed wood that was 'forced' a bit to get straight and work. They moved once on site. One moved enough to crack the glass. We cut the stiles off the doors and one stile of each was ripped down the center. The stiles opened, closed, twisted and separated as they were ripped - a sure sign of internal stress.
The thrust of my previous response is that I think a cabinetmaker should make his or her own doors to prevent problems and encircle the responsibility they take on when they contract for work. Mike is a big boy and he can work any way he wants - the beauty of having your own shop. There is a reason the wood 'warps' and if you do not get in there and find out why - as he is properly asking - then you are at risk for having more troubles.
Its time to throw out the level and square.
You are now working on an old tired cabinet with warped doors.
If you have any experience doing renovation/restoration work on old int/ext doors in old houses it will be of help. Better yet, reused old doors in a new house.
If the hinges don't have enough adjustment. Adjust the hinge locations. Shim them out. Move them to the front or back.
Stand in front of the cabinet and walk backwards and figure out what catches your eye. Adjust them for looks. Not for correctness.
Are these euro or face frame cabinets?
Thanks for the comments.
Guys tend to discount it, but theoretically rip and flip should help create a flatter panel.
Pat can you elaborate on what you’re talking about “rip and flip”?
Mike, I think Pat is referring to ripping your stock that you plan to glue up for your panels, usually 3-4" wide and flipping every other piece to alternate the growth rings.
Ahh Chuck, you are probably right. I usually do that, however these were flat panel doors that I’m referring to so it’s not applicable in this case.
Wood's grain other than something like qtr sawn cedar or redwood is not balanced enough to do the rip 5 1/4" in two stiles theory.
You need to make parts straight and flat. Then remove as little material as possible for profile or decoration.
The relationship between thickness and width can become very important with different species and sizes. A tabletop that is 1 1/2" will be more stable than 3/4" over 36" width.
Likewise a 3/4" x 24" wide panel will be more stable than a 3/8" x 24" wide panel.
24" solid wood cabinet door panel can be asking for trouble. The panel could grow or shrink in width by 1/4". 1/8" per 12" is the ballpark figure used for panels.
The flip every board idea is generally ignored in most situations. I never do it. Draw what happens on a piece of paper. The panel turns into a big sine wave(snake). In the case of a table top you will see this in the end grain. The other option is glue up expecting it to cup. Then fasten it either concave or convex. (Pull the sides down or the middle).
When making door panels we match for face grain. Ignoring what the end grain tells us. If we mill all the parts dead flat/straight, then they should stay very flat, unless they are unstable.
One thing that comes to mind is leaving a panel on a work bench overnight. Its just like throwing them on the lawn. They cup due to humidity difference.