I am building a cabinet with sliding doors (due to space constraints).
It is 36" high, 74" long and made from cherry plywood. I got 1/4" cherry
for the sliding doors that are to run in a sliding door track I
purchased from Rockler.
The plywood I made the doors from was the wrong choice. It started
warping and it very difficult to fit in the sliding door track. The rest
of the project is complete but I need to find a better choice for the
sliding doors (something that is stable and straight). I finished the
doors the same as the cabinet(50/50 blend of Watco natural oil and poly
followed by two coats of poly after the watco blend had fully dried)
but clearly I need to changes horses. Do you have any suggestions for me?
If I understand you correctly, you're running the 1/4 ply
directly in the track?
I don't think that will work - plywood is not rigid enough
for that sort of purpose. Usually when the door runs
directly in the track, it's tempered glass, which is very
For a wooden door, I think you're going to have to build
a frame around the panel with 3/4 solid lumber, and use
sliding door guides, like these:
When I read the reviews of the track on the Rockler website, everyone
had used 1/4" plywood directly in the track. The picture on the Rockler
website showed bypass glass doors. I think I will call Rockler on Monday
to see what they have to say. I got my plywood from a very high turnover
dealer here in eastern Mass so I assume I just made a bad choice of
wood rather than buying crappy wood. I think I will call them too to see
what they have to say. I don't have enough room in the bypass to use
3/4" plywood. I am kind of stuck with my design.
In a situation where the enclosure is complete and the thickness of
the doors has been defined as 1/4", no more, no less; I'd recommend
glass for the door material. You could have the glass frosted, smoked
or whatever, but if you insist on wood doors you have some demo to do
and some more design work.
I hope you held your plywood flat or straight up and down and clamped
when you got it.
The changes in humidity from shipping and such require something to
I have had similar problems with ply, I have been clamping all ply to a
rack vertically oriented so it won't twist ever since.
Thin ply is a tough one. I am sure the oil did not help. I am sure it is
still wet inside.
Not really, my parents had a setup like that, and it has lasted for 50
some odd years. I still have it in my shop.
I took the doors off when I put it back, but just to check, I put them
back in today. Still good.
They can last.
Not sure why you needed to buy the track, these were just grooves in the
bottom and top of the carcass.
I don't know a way to fix it.
The general consensus among members of the rec who commented is that the
plywood was too big to remain stable. Each sliding panel is 30" high
and 34" long. Even before I put a finish on it it was curved. I had
hoped (incorrectly) that the track would take out the curves which were
in one direction only - the longest one). I bought it at the end of
December and kept it in my very dry warm basement where my shop is.
Anyway, I am moving on to try 1/4" smoked acrylic sheets which should be
Did you finish both sides of the ply? If not, it WILL warp. Also, is
there a way to "frame" the plywood with something like a metal channel
(finished in oiled broze or something that doesn't stick out too much
from the cherry?)
On 3/14/2015 2:43 PM, email@example.com wrote:
I did not finish both sides but even before I finished it, the wood was
warping. I had (foolishly) hoped that the upper and lower track would
straighten things out. I just replied to another poster than I will call
Rockler on Monday to see what they have to say as well as my (excellent)
Always finish both sides of plywood panels.
While the fact that you didn't may not be the entire reason the 1/4" ply
warped so badly, it is most certainly a contributing factor not in you
What grade was the ply?
Lower grades of 1/4" plywood are notorious for turning into potato
chips, particularly if they are subjected to sunlight and wet conditions
on only one side (even on the ride home to the shop, but a plywood grade
like A-1 usually gives you a better chance.
There are some ways to solve the problem if you have enough clearance.
Might want to consider salvaging your investment by making 3/4" frame
and panel doors, with the top and bottom door rails having a 1/4" tongue
that fits in the groove.
You should be able to cut a tongue quickly and easily with a table saw,
and since it it won't be seen, it doesn't have to be pretty.
You could even make frame and panel doors 1/2" shorter in height, then
glue nail a 1/4" strip on the rails in the appropriate location as a tongue.
Be creative ...
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What if the spline(?) for the track is offset for each door? You might
have to trim any interior shelves by a little.
How much _can_ you sacrifice in shelf depth? It wouldn't take but a
1/2" thick frame or maybe even 3/8" with a rabbet to add sufficient
stiffness to the panels. Doesn't have to be a centered groove, a rear
flush rabbet'll do the same trick...
I went to a glass store today to see if they can track down smoked
Meanwhile I am thinking more about your idea. As I understand it, I
should make a frame and panel door with the 1/4" cherry as the panel.
The panel track from Rockler is 7/8" wide. This leaves just under 1/4"
for the two panels to pass each other. If I made 1/2" frames with a
rabbet on each frame edge to create a spline to slide in the track. I
would end up with something just a little wider than I have now. I worry
that the 1/2" frame with the unruly 30"x 34" plywood in it would rack a
lot but I guess it is worth making a frame to see what happens.
That's the idea, yes. What's the ply core, do you know? What's the RH
in the workroom area and where it's been stored and how was it stored?
It's possible you might be able to reduce EMC and get it to return to
more nearly the neutral stress position at time of manufacture which
will tend to cause it to go back to nearer flat. If you can do that,
and _THEN_ finish it to reduce further moisture migration you may have a
I sorta' fanned on the overall size of the panels initially; that's
pretty large. You possible could make the frame and inset panels in
somewhat like window lights instead of just one single panel...could end
up as a "design feature", perhaps... :)
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