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Minimize warp in long narrow door

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Forum topic by je_an posted 09-27-2021 11:15 PM 505 views 0 times favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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je_an

12 posts in 156 days


09-27-2021 11:15 PM

Hello,

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.

Thank you so much for your help!

Edit:
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. :-)


37 replies so far

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

4073 posts in 3045 days


#1 posted 09-27-2021 11:34 PM

Yes there is something you can do if you want to build with flat straight wood.
Buy a jointer and planer.
This was discussed a couple weeks ago. My suggestion was and still is to sneak up to your final width and thickness. Pick wood with riftsawn grain. It’s usually attached to the edges of wide board.
Pick wood that’s dry and oversized for your project store it properly.
Last but not least say a prayer, take your vitamins and hope for the best . :)
Good Luck

-- Aj

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

7466 posts in 1836 days


#2 posted 09-27-2021 11:57 PM

I have never had a residential door I’ve built warp. The frame and panel construction makes it very stable. Take a look at my projects to see the type of doors I build if you wish.

I will say that the panel layout you’re planning is going to make glue up quite a challenge if you don’t go about it properly.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Aj2

4073 posts in 3045 days


#3 posted 09-28-2021 01:05 AM

I looked at your bifold door Rich. Thats very cool design I like it.
I’ll try to get a decent pic of my laundry’s rooms bifold doors tomorrow.
Good Luck

-- Aj

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SMP

4842 posts in 1152 days


#4 posted 09-28-2021 01:16 AM

Limited tools? Plywood or mdf panels with molding glued on and brad nailed.

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

2209 posts in 1426 days


#5 posted 09-28-2021 01:21 AM

Might want to post thickness, material, and finish.

Some suppliers can do the dimensioning for you if you don’t want to buy jointer/planer.

You could possibly use plywood for majority depending on design. Probably not easier gettting it to stay flat.

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je_an

12 posts in 156 days


#6 posted 09-28-2021 01:40 AM

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. :-)

Thanks!

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

2912 posts in 848 days


#7 posted 09-28-2021 09:37 AM

If the rails and styles are straight the panels will be fine and plywood will work well and be stable. How are you going to make the frame? The only way I know is by mortise and tenon. I am counting 40 of them assuming there are no redos. Unless you really want a challenge or have a domino I would start at the lumber yard and see what they can order for you.

View je_an's profile

je_an

12 posts in 156 days


#8 posted 09-28-2021 11:41 PM

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!

View northwoodsman's profile

northwoodsman

674 posts in 4993 days


#9 posted 09-29-2021 10:13 PM

Just an idea, but it’s one of my pet peeves on this site, list your location in your profile! Chances are that there is someone in your area that has the equipment that would help you out for a six pack or a gift card for a few cups of coffee. This door looks to be fairly heavy once completed, don’t skimp on the hardware. If you are just going to paint it, have you considered a pre-built door from one of the DIY home centers?

-- NorthWoodsMan

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je_an

12 posts in 156 days


#10 posted 09-30-2021 01:22 AM

@northwoodsman
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.

View Oughtsix's profile

Oughtsix

71 posts in 2422 days


#11 posted 09-30-2021 09:02 AM

For a painted door I think I would go with some kind of sheet good for dimensional stability and to prevent warping. Maybe MDF with wood inserts on the edges for holding hinge screws? Plywood might work. Bondo does a really nice job of filling the grain and minor voids in plywood edges then sands smooth quite easily after a few minutes of curing. We went to an open house once that had hand made doors thorugh out. Almost all of them had some warping.

I would not count on metal reenforcement to keep the door straight. I don’t see how they would fold with angle iron or the such on the back.

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Oughtsix

71 posts in 2422 days


#12 posted 09-30-2021 09:03 AM

For a painted door I think I would go with some kind of sheet good for dimensional stability and to prevent warping. Maybe MDF with wood inserts on the edges for holding hinge screws? Plywood might work. Bondo does a really nice job of filling the grain and minor voids in plywood edges then sands smooth quite easily after a few minutes of curing.

We went to an open house once that had hand made doors thorugh out. Almost all of them had some warping with the front door being the worst.

I would not count on metal reenforcement to keep the door straight. I don’t see how they would fold with angle iron or the such on the back.

If it were me I would probably laminate 3 or 4 strips of thin wood for the framing then cut them down to size after the glue has dried. I have a jointer, planer and track saw to trim the pieces down to nice straight laminated boards though.

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controlfreak

2912 posts in 848 days


#13 posted 09-30-2021 09:31 AM

My house is over 100 years old and when I moved the kitchen to another room I needed some matching doors. My local lumber yard, not a big box, had a catalogue with enough samples in it that I got very close to exact match and had options for solid or hollow. Very inexpensive and they had them in three days. That’s the route I would go before making painted bi-folds.

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je_an

12 posts in 156 days


#14 posted 09-30-2021 04:37 PM

@Oughtsix
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.

@controlfreak
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.

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controlfreak

2912 posts in 848 days


#15 posted 09-30-2021 04:52 PM

Sorry I didn’t know you had a custom size opening but you do have a limited amount of trim room if you can get close.

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