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Preventing warping

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Forum topic by njsivalj posted 01-28-2022 08:38 PM 419 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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njsivalj

7 posts in 122 days


01-28-2022 08:38 PM

Hello,

I built this cabinet/stand out of poplar and stained with a black stain that is a stain+poly in one. The piece is in a basement where summertime humidity levels are high despite my running a dehumidifier most of the time. I have noticed that the stain and poly alone do not prevent warping specifically on those cabinet doors. Are there any tips to do this better? Many thanks.
J


14 replies so far

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

3808 posts in 4097 days


#1 posted 01-28-2022 08:41 PM

Are the door panels plywood or solid wood?

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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njsivalj

7 posts in 122 days


#2 posted 01-28-2022 09:09 PM



Are the door panels plywood or solid wood?

- Ocelot


Thanks for the reply. They are all solid poplar.

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

1522 posts in 845 days


#3 posted 01-29-2022 12:14 AM

Finish will delay but not prevent warping that will happen with humidity swings. Controlling that if in a house or building will minimize the effects. Said with authority! :)

-- Darrel

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

1740 posts in 2009 days


#4 posted 01-29-2022 01:11 AM

I would think the frame on the cabinets would help prevent a bit of warping. Might try the magnetic latches to help hold the top an bottoms of the doors down tight

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

1549 posts in 2561 days


#5 posted 01-29-2022 03:09 AM

There might have been measures to take during construction. After the fact, I think the best you can do is check to see that your de-humidifier is doing the job. Maybe you need a bigger unit and a humidistat. If you can hold the humidity at a stable point, the cabinet may stabilize. However, some of it may stabilize in a warped condition. If that happens, you may have to re-make a door or two. If you do, you should allow the lumber to acclimate in your basement space before doing the re-make.

You don’t say if the cabinet is finished on the inside as well. Under the circumstances, that would be very important.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

9601 posts in 2846 days


#6 posted 01-29-2022 05:13 AM

We might need a little more information about how you constructed the doors. And maybe a close up inside and out of the warping. It looks frame and panel? How is the panel attached to the frame? Are the panels glued in? Any other parts other than the doors that are badly warped?

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View njsivalj's profile

njsivalj

7 posts in 122 days


#7 posted 01-29-2022 01:01 PM

Many thanks, everyone for the tips. Since it is winter here where I live, the doors are perfectly straight at the moment. I will take a close up picture in a few months.
J

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njsivalj

7 posts in 122 days


#8 posted 01-29-2022 01:06 PM


We might need a little more information about how you constructed the doors. And maybe a close up inside and out of the warping. It looks frame and panel? How is the panel attached to the frame? Are the panels glued in? Any other parts other than the doors that are badly warped?

- Lazyman


Thank you. The door and frame are indeed just glued together. No nails or other fasteners. Here is a prefinish view – both the inside and outside are finished the same way.

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Lazyman

9601 posts in 2846 days


#9 posted 01-29-2022 01:55 PM

If you glued the panels to the frames, that could be at least part of the problem. The usual way to do that is to house the panel in the groove but with no glue and enough space in the groove for the panel to shrink and swell with moisture changes. Some people use spaceballs so that the panels still feels tight but the balls will flex with any movement. While a finish may slow down movement caused by seasonal humidity swings, with the piece sitting in the basement where the humidity stays fairly high, wood will eventually reach an equilibrium with that high humidity and if you didn’t account for that during the build, bad things can happen. One thing that you could have done, besides not gluing the panels in, is to store the wood in the basement until it reached equilibrium with the humidity down there before you built it. Getting the wood’s moisture content close to the environment it will live in before it is built will help limit wood movement later.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Peteybadboy's profile

Peteybadboy

4840 posts in 3408 days


#10 posted 01-29-2022 01:56 PM

Since the doors have flat panels, I would hope the panel “floats” in the frame, to allow for movement. (Float not glued in the frame)

Another option since you stained black is to use ply for the panels. That would be a little better in a high humidity environment.

Also the panel could be raised, thicker wood, and have the flat side towards the front. It would be harder to bend a raised panel from humidity.

Nice looking cabinet

-- Petey

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

6183 posts in 3810 days


#11 posted 01-29-2022 02:27 PM

For solid wood doors the panels should float within the frame without glue. You can use glue only if the panels are plywood or MDF. That might have been a better choice for you in this situation. The only fix is to rebuild the doors. I see you have mitered corners as well, the panel is trying to open the miters when the humidity is high, that is causing the warp.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View njsivalj's profile

njsivalj

7 posts in 122 days


#12 posted 01-29-2022 02:31 PM

Many thanks, everyone. I have learnt something new here about doors with frames. It appears my rookie mistake was to glue the frame on without room for movement.
I much appreciate the responses.
J

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

3742 posts in 1060 days


#13 posted 01-29-2022 03:44 PM

If you rebuild the doors using solid wood I would also paint a coat on the panels prior to assembly. The same wood movement that is warping the doors now will leave unfinished gaps in that black paint that you will forever be touching up.

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njsivalj

7 posts in 122 days


#14 posted 01-29-2022 06:12 PM



If you rebuild the doors using solid wood I would also paint a coat on the panels prior to assembly. The same wood movement that is warping the doors now will leave unfinished gaps in that black paint that you will forever be touching up.

- controlfreak

Thank you, that is a great tip.

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