Repairing a sequenced MDF door

      reverse the terminal warp of a sequenced MDF/cherry door. 1998.

by Professor Gene Wengert

Our firm has completed a conference room that included a sequenced cherry veneer on 3/4" MDF and one of the doors has warped. There isn't or doesn't seem to be any twist in the door, just a warp that has caused one of the corners (the one that doesn't have a touch-latch on it) to protrude out from the adjacent flush panel. It is too much for the euro hinges to adjust to.

Replacing the door would be the last resort--it being part of a 14' sequenced wall. The door is 55" tall x 18" wide. The total warp is about an 1/8" to 3/16" in the middle when placed face-side down on a flat surface. The finish is stained with lacquer topcoats.

Any suggestions of options available to us would be appreciated.

It is probably impossible to permanently remove the warp.

However, you can try the following--add steam to the short side (or region) of the door which will swell this side (or region). The heat will also likely make the swelling more permanent than if you used cold water. Apply until the door is slightly past straight. Then hold the door a little more than flat for several days while the moisture leaves. (Hold it a little more than flat, as when you release the pressure, it will spring a little.)

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

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