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View WalkerTexasRanger's profile

rail and stile cabinet doors warping

by WalkerTexasRanger
posted 02-03-2017 02:32 PM


24 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5939 posts in 3209 days


#1 posted 02-03-2017 03:34 PM

This is a common issue. Was the lumber kiln dried?
Was the lumber jointed and planed for this project, or did you buy it at finished thickness?

I mill my cabinet door parts in two phases. First I rough mill them flat and square, being careful to remove equal amounts of material from both sides of the board. For instance, if I did 75% of my planing on one face of the board, it will warp.

Stack and sticker the boards overnight, and repeat the entire process. That way the jointer will remove any warp or twist from each board. Then run them through the planer to final thickness.

I use 7/8” thick stock for cabinet doors. 3/4” is standard, but is more likely to warp. Quartersawn lumber will be naturally more stable than flatsawn. Rift sawn is also good.

I like 2” wide rails and stiles. It not only is more stable, but gives adequate width for the cup hinge holes.

Basically cabinet doors are much different than other components in the cabinet. Doors need to be flat and true on their own, since they are not glued to any other flat reference surface. I can edge a plywood shelf with a slightly bowed board successfully. However, if I used that same bowed board to make cabinet doors, I would be in trouble.

One final thing, use only enough clamping pressure to close the joints, no more. It is human nature to throw on a bunch on pipe clamps and C…R…A…N…K them down. I favor parallel clamps for door glueups, but pipe clamps can work if you go easy.

Some food for thought. Let us know how you resolve this issue.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View WalkerTexasRanger's profile

WalkerTexasRanger

29 posts in 1694 days


#2 posted 02-03-2017 03:48 PM

Thanks for your interest. I purchased 1×3 poplar at Home Depot. I selected the straightest boards (for what that is worth.) I like your joint/planing idea from 7/8; but, at this point I am stuck with the preplaned 3/4”. My first set of doors turned out pretty good. They were 36 and 48” long. However, in those doors, I had a middle rail. It ist he 20-30” doors that are giving me trouble. Do you think it would make any difference if I would clamp on both the top and bottom (front and back)?

View WalkerTexasRanger's profile

WalkerTexasRanger

29 posts in 1694 days


#3 posted 02-03-2017 04:00 PM

I just had a cabinet maker suggest that cold weather may cause them to warp. That could be my problem because my garage is heated during the day when I put them together and sometimes I leave the doors clamped (or not clamped) in my garage at night. I am sure the temp drops to 40-45. That may be my problem.

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

465 posts in 984 days


#4 posted 02-03-2017 04:43 PM

You only need two clamps on a door – top and bottom. Clamp tight enough for squeeze out, no tighter. Use clamping cauls to hold everything flat while the glue dries. Use space balls to float the panel before assembly.

Space your hinges 1/4-1/2-1/4. Center the 35mm drill 13/16” in from the edge 1/2 deep. Hold the hinge in place and center drill & pilot the #6 mounting holes. Use a #8 pilot on the jamb side.

Make sure both hinges are properly mounted and positioned. Sometimes a mismounted or misaligned will warp a door.

When in doubt, hit it with a hammer.

M

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1295 days


#5 posted 02-03-2017 06:26 PM



You only need two clamps on a door – top and bottom. Clamp tight enough for squeeze out, no tighter. Use clamping cauls to hold everything flat while the glue dries. Use space balls to float the panel before assembly.

Space your hinges 1/4-1/2-1/4. Center the 35mm drill 13/16” in from the edge 1/2 deep. Hold the hinge in place and center drill & pilot the #6 mounting holes. Use a #8 pilot on the jamb side.

Make sure both hinges are properly mounted and positioned. Sometimes a mismounted or misaligned will warp a door.

When in doubt, hit it with a hammer.

M

- Madmark2


I wish you would quit telling people this. 3-4 inches from the top and bottom of the door.
If you have a 48” door you don’t put the hinge 12” from the top…

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Madmark2

465 posts in 984 days


#6 posted 02-03-2017 07:54 PM

It balances the stresses on the hinges from an engineering standpoint. You can set two hinges anywhere you want but if you want the ‘correct’ spacing 1/4-1/2-1/4 is it for two hinges. 1/6-1/3-1/3-1/6 for three and so on.

What do you suggest as a rule instead?

M

View WalkerTexasRanger's profile

WalkerTexasRanger

29 posts in 1694 days


#7 posted 02-03-2017 08:01 PM

I hate to show my ignorance; but, it seems to shine through anyway. what do you mean by 1/4-1/2-1/4 spacing for two hinges? WT

View WalkerTexasRanger's profile

WalkerTexasRanger

29 posts in 1694 days


#8 posted 02-03-2017 08:03 PM

also, do you use the space balls or space rectangles on all four sides? Or, something less?. And, do you have to cut the panels slightly less when using the spacers? It seems to put a lot of stress on the clamps if I measure the panels to fit just inside the rabbeted slot and add spacers.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1295 days


#9 posted 02-03-2017 08:11 PM


It balances the stresses on the hinges from an engineering standpoint. You can set two hinges anywhere you want but if you want the correct spacing 1/4-1/2-1/4 is it for two hinges. 1/6-1/3-1/3-1/6 for three and so on.

What do you suggest as a rule instead?

M

- Madmark2

Like I said above 3-4” from the top and bottom and however many in between, depending on size of door, evenly spaced.

The engineering standpoint is irrelevant in my opinion, the hinges are made for the weight of the door. The hinge spacing I recommend helps keep the doors from warping away from the cabinet.
If you want you could show me specs that suggest what your recommending, although it won’t change my methods any.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1262 posts in 890 days


#10 posted 02-04-2017 03:14 AM

Willie is right on with his advice. Any warping in a 5 panel door is due to the material moving or possibly over tightening clamps. You must start with straight, flat stock. I always sort the material to use the quarter sawn or rift sawn pieces for rails and stiles. It’s far more stable than the plain sawn material- I save that for the panels.

I follow almost exactly the same process as Willie. I also use 2” wide door material. I very carefully select my materials. I rough cut to length and width and let sit overnight. Next day I joint a flat face on my rail and stile material, plane to thickness, square up one edge on the jointer, rip to width on the TS and clean up the cut with the jointer, then CTL on my radial arm. I then do the cope and stick cuts on the shaper.

When I do my glue ups, I assemble the door and close the joints with two pipe clamps- one on top and one on the bottom. I tighten just enough to close the joint, no more. On the back side of the door I then shoot 3 pins at each joint- about 3/16” in from the joint to catch the tenon. I work through all of my pipe clamps (20, enough for 10 doors), by the time I get to the tenth door I can pull door number 1 out of the clamps and keep going.

When I use European style cup hinges (which is most of the time for casework), my hinges are always 4” from the top and bottom. Long doors might get a third or fourth hinge in the center. The Blum documentation I have only has recommendations for the number of hinges per door based on weight and door height, but nothing about the placement of the hinge along the stile.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3183 posts in 3626 days


#11 posted 02-04-2017 03:33 AM

I only use Blum soft close Euro hinges. They are attached 3 1/2 – 4 inches from each end (except of the really short cabinet doors). No problems

I have made my own doors and bought them from a door manufacturer (Evans in Brenham, Tx).

No problems with doors warping.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2981 posts in 3833 days


#12 posted 02-04-2017 03:55 AM

Wood from a box store preplaned is often warped. But cut into short rails/stiles it’s usually okay. When you put your two clamps on the doors to glue them check for flatness with a straight edge and square. They always need to be squared up. If you don’t the door will be glued up warped.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View WalkerTexasRanger's profile

WalkerTexasRanger

29 posts in 1694 days


#13 posted 02-04-2017 02:34 PM

This is my favorite forum! Thanks for all the help. WTR

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117627 posts in 3972 days


#14 posted 02-04-2017 03:23 PM

Wille and others have hit most of the points I would bring up other than a fix for you warped doors.
Charles Neil has a pretty good trick to flatten out warped doors. You take your doors and run them on the table saw cutting into the edge of the stile approximately 85% through their width with an 1/8-3/16 kerf then you cut some shims to fill the kerf allowing for some glue space and glue them in place with a good hard glue like plastic resin glue. clamp doors flat which may involve shims and let dry completely. That door will stay flat.I’ve used this process and it works beautifully.

https://www.amazon.com/00203-Weldwood-Plastic-Resin-1-Pound/dp/B001003J16/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486220628&sr=8-1&keywords=plastic+resin+glue

View Robert's profile

Robert

3405 posts in 1876 days


#15 posted 02-05-2017 01:08 AM

Probably the result of either stress or moisture in the wood but a warped door can also occur during clamping especially if using pipe clamps as they tend to have non parallel force vectors. More so when doing cope and stick.

One solution is to make a deeper mortise this can prevent warping to some degree.

Jim is right about the splining trick – pretty darn slick & yes it does work. I use epoxy.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View WalkerTexasRanger's profile

WalkerTexasRanger

29 posts in 1694 days


#16 posted 02-09-2017 02:56 PM

I’m officially at my wit’s end. Someone tell me what I am doing wrong! Step by step:
1. Purchased top grade 1×3 poplar at HD. I do not plane it because I need the full 3/4 thickness.
2. Cut the rails and stiles to length
3. Layout the rails and stiles on a flat board; no problem.
4. Router the rail and stile profiles using a Rockler rail and stile two bit set.
5. Take the rails and stiles back to my flat board work station and nine times out of ten; either a rail or stile is slightly warped. (Is something happening during the routering process?)
6. The joinery looks perfect. Very tight and solid.
7. when I put them door together; naturally it is somewhat warped.
8. I do insert a 1/4” foam/rubber spacer on one side of the door panel. (Problem?) If I put spacers on both sides; it appears I have to put too much pressure on the clamps.
9. Glue the joints and place two or three brads/tacks in the joints from the back and remove the clamps holding the joints together.
10. Lay door face up on a MDF board and clamp the rails down flat to the surface.
11. Each step is inside my house, temperature controlled, except for the cutting and routing.
12. Still warping.
Someone please tell me what I am doing wrong. Thanks WTR

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5284 posts in 2704 days


#17 posted 02-09-2017 03:12 PM

For about 30 years I have put my hinges 3 1/2 inches to center from the top and bottom and whatever in between. Petty much like Jbay stated.

Go to some cabinet shop and places that sell cabinet you get a good idea Marks does it different than anyone I know.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5284 posts in 2704 days


#18 posted 02-09-2017 03:24 PM

You answer is here. Largely and change in moisture content. BTW I never known the box stores to have lumber and don’t let stock or glued up door lay flat on the bench for long periods. Keep it so air get to all sides.

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/article/why-wood-warps

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117627 posts in 3972 days


#19 posted 02-09-2017 03:30 PM

Possible problems
I don’t see where you checked the moisture content.” Purchased top grade” means nothing if the moisture content is too high.
You don’t say if you let your wood acclimate after cutting to length #3 Wood needs air flow all the way around it, stickers are better than laying wood flat on benches that means the top dries out more than the part laying flat on the bench particularly in a warm environment like inside your house. #7 “when I put them door together; naturally it is somewhat warped.”I don’t understand why it’naturally warped?
too much clamp pressure? #8 spacers are not necessary just glue the center top and bottom inch of the panel to keep in place,this still allows for wood movement. #10 same problem as #3

View WalkerTexasRanger's profile

WalkerTexasRanger

29 posts in 1694 days


#20 posted 02-09-2017 03:45 PM

Jim; thanks.
1. I do not check the moisture content. How would I do so?
2. I do not let the wood acclimate after cutting to length. So, after cutting to length; should I bring them back into my house and let them sit for “x” days? Leave them in my garage? Approx. 50 degrees. What would you suggest?
3. I said that the doors are “naturally warped” because when I laid the cut pieces flat on a piece of MDF, either a stile or rail is already not flat and is “rocking”
Let me ask this question: Once I staple/tack the joints, you are saying don’t clamp them down by the rails on a flat surface? Rather, Let them “cure” where air will flow all the way around them?
Thanks WTR

View bonesbr549's profile

bonesbr549

1581 posts in 3462 days


#21 posted 02-09-2017 03:55 PM

I’ll add my 2cw to the conversation.

First starting with big box finished dimension lumber is prob 1. Reach out in your area via lumberfinder.com or searchtempest.com to get lumber. Second, rails and stiles should be made with Quarter sawn lumber.

It heads off numerous problems and if save money by just getting flatsawn and you have to remake one door, you lost any savings. It’s just not worth it. if you don’t want to pay for QS then get wide flatsawn i.e. 10” or greater and rip the sides off those will usually be QS and be wide enough to get your R&S and use the center cuts for other purposes where QS is not needed.

Mill your lumber in stages. I start with rough and partial mill and let it rest to aclamate (after letting it sit in the shop for at least a week). Let it set partial then go to finished dimension. I don’t glue right away do your cuts for your joints and let sit over night. If it moves chuck it and do over.

Finally glue and you don’t need to put 2 tons of pressure on the clamps.

Accept the oopsies and just recover your panels and redo. Crap happens.

Good materials up front saves the head aches. Good luck we’ve been there

Cheers.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1295 days


#22 posted 02-09-2017 03:58 PM

Do you have a picture of a door in clamps,
I would like to see the clamps your using, and how they sit as they are drying.

I use bar clamps. I sit two clamps on the table, on the tabs of the clamps so that both clamps are level.
I glue the door put it in the clamps (making sure the door is sitting all the way down on the bars)
Then let them dry. I get the occasional warp, but nothing not usable.
How bad are they warped, do you have a pic of one?

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117627 posts in 3972 days


#23 posted 02-09-2017 06:21 PM

WtR
The best way to check moisture content is with a moister meter,I don’t have much recent experience with low cost units but amazon has some good reviews for some around $20,even if there not as acurate as the more expensive units it should get you close to weather your wood is close to the correct moister content ( 8-12%).
Bones makes another good point about using 1/4 sawn wood for stiles and rails.
Letting wood acclimate is better done in the area you’re working in, in my opinion.
If your wood is already bowed that could be due to intertension in the wood or the problem of laying wood flat on tables. you could try wiping down the convex side of the wood with a damp sponge and see what happens,other wise it’s best to just replace the bowed piece of wood before gluing it together.
I really question your joinery if your stapling it together but usually when clamping wood together it is raised up on clamps and after the glue is dry ether sticker the door off the table or just stand them on edge on the floor but not directly on top of a concrete floor.

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

430 posts in 1055 days


#24 posted 02-10-2017 03:32 PM

When I build cabinet doors I always buy the lumber in an S4S 2” wide for the stiles and rails and 3” S4S on the panels. I very rarely have need for using my jointer. The material that I use is always 13/16” thick which is the industry standard in my area. I think that the OP’s problem lies in either the stock having too much moisture or the clamping.

I always buy my lumber kiln dried. I never leave the doors in a clamp once I shoot the 5/8” brads along the joints. Bessy parallel clamps work best but I use Bessy 1/2” pipe clamps with a 24” pipe for most of mine. Check for square during glueup and shoot some 5/8” brads once the door is square. I always give 24 hours for the glue to set, then I run my doors through the drum sander on both sides. The drum sander makes them flat on both sides.

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