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Minimize warp in long narrow door

1855 Views 40 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  je_an

I'm about to build a set of bi-folding closet doors. Each panel will consist of 9" x 80". I'm concerned the panels might warp since they are narrow and long.

I think one post suggested letting the wood dry and plane it on both sides. Unfortunately I do not have access to planer or joiner. :(

Is there somethings I can do to minimize warping with limited tool set? Would using plywood better than wood strips for the frame? The doors will be painted and mounted using bi-fold door hardware.

Rectangle Parallel Font Symmetry Pattern

Thank you so much for your help!

Bi-fold door: This is due to space issue. Large door(s) will collide with the bedroom door. Pocket door is not an option and I don't want barn door or sliding door.
Painted: This is the look I want. I love beautiful wood furnitures, but do not like wood grains on the wall. Sorry, I hope it doesn't offend anyone. :)


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Thanks for your replies. Buying planer/joiner is not an option. No space and can't justify as a hobbyist. I wish there is a shop near me where I can rent the area by the hour. :(

@SMP, @CWWoodworking,
Would gluing multiple sheets of plywood be more stable than using dimension lumber? I am also thinking of adding some sort of metal ribbing on the backside to help it stay flat, al though I have not found such a product yet. :)

Thickness: 1 to 1.5 inches
Material: Softer wood preferred (again, due to limited tools)
Finish: paint

I don't expect this to be perfect. I just wanted to make it as best as possible with my resources. I have built 9 foot barn door, which one is showing slight bowing, but it doesn't bother me too much though. :)

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Thanks. It's the rails and styles (frame) that I was concerned about warping. Sorry, by panel I meant the actual door, not the panel inserts that go between the rails and styles.

I just stopped by at HD and I think I have some options for metal rib backing if I really need something.

I am going to use an unconventional design you guys will probably laugh at but I think it will work.

Thank you so much!
Good idea. I added my location. Hopefully someone near me will let me borrow his shop for some beer or rental fee. :) Thanks for the suggestion.
Thank you. Interesting idea. What would laminating strips of wood do instead of using solid frame? I'm guessing multiple strips neutralizes each layer's tendency to bend in certain direction? If so, can I just use plywood? Glue 2-3 strips of 1/2 plywood? One concern I have with using plywood as frame is if the edges can hold the screws. The bi-fold hardware has screws that go in the top edge of the frame and the door hangs from the rails running on the top.

Thank you. I did visit to our local lumber yard a number of times. I think it will be quite costly to custom build or have wood milled. I definitely want painted look and need bi-folds due to space issue.
Thank you. Yes, 36" is not custom, but 4 door panels to make up 36" seems custom. I am aware the measurements need to be adjusted to account for HW or whatnot. These are just basic measurements I used for design and to explore construction options. I will definitely measure the openings more accurately before delving into the actual construction part. And practice "measure 3x and cut once" mantra! Lol

Thank you everyone for all your inputs. I think I have a plan now. Hopefully all works out. Thanks again!
There was a lot of heated discussions on this post. Thanks everyone for your contributions. I thought I would post what I ended up building. It's been a year and the door panels still look pretty good. I for some reason, put the door knobs too high. I have been meaning to fix that but haven't gotten around it it yet. Other than that I am pretty happy with the results.

Wood Road surface Floor Composite material Gas
Wood Road surface Rectangle Flooring Wood stain
Door Wood Fixture Rectangle Composite material


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They look great! Am I correct in thinking you put ply over the four frames, then added molding to make them look like frame & panel? I think it worked out well!
Thank you. Yup, you are correct.
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