Cabinet door question/advice needed

Folks,
I'm going to be rebuilding cabinet doors in the not so distant future.
SWMBO says that they must be "flat" -- that is, no raised panel, recessed panel, etc -- no place to catch gunk. Also, they are to be wood, so no painted MDF (although she would go for the vinyl-clad MDF if we must).
So, I've thought of three options:
* solid wood * solid ply, with edges angled in * ply center with solid edge banding
I'm not hot on the solid ply option, with the edges showing -- looks quite old fashioned, and I'm hoping to avoid that look.
Solid wood concerns me with warping and shrinkage being in the kitchen (wood would most likely be white or red oak). These doors will NOT be recessed into the cabinets, so perhaps the shrinkage would be ok? 16" wide, what should I expect in total movement?
Is the ply center with solid banding a reasonable door look (3/4 ply, mind you, not recessed panel, which is quite normal)? I see such a door on www.decore.net, but I'm not real hot on the look either. I'm considering staining the "rail/stile"s so that they're a different shade than the panel. Has anyone done this, and have pictures to show?
Thanks! --randy
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says...

This bit at Lee Valley, for Shaker style doors, might help you out.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?pageE095&category=1,46168,46178 &abspage=1&ccurrency=2&SID The flat side of the panel faces out, with the field facing the interior of the cabinet. Even though I just built a media cabinet for a client using slab Birch doors (they are putting a faux finish on it themselves), I don't recommend plywood doors in the kitchen. If you do go the plywood route, use top grade stuff and edge/finish it as fast as you can to keep the doors flat.
Kim
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OK, about 14 years ago I gutted the kitchen and started over. I used Cabinet quality Oak plywood and trimmed that with 2" wide solid Oak to hide the edges of the plywood for the doors. I did however cut a 1/16"x1/16" rabbet around the outside top perimeter of the plywood panel to give a slightly decorative effect between the plywood and the 2" wide solid oak edges.

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That sounds exactly like what I was thinking. Do you have any pictures by any chance? Has it held square? I'm having a hard time with this "plywood will warp" theory as (a) some of the cabinet doors in my house are plywood and they're not warped -- UNLIKE the wood ones in the kitchen (*), (b) my cousin's house has 20+ y/o plywood doors as well, (c) so does B-I-L's garage and kitchen. Cabinet grade, many layers, and well finished, of course.
Thanks! --randy
(*) my current doors are crap. *mitred* corners with those corrugated metal fasteners to help hold them, with a 1/16" or so back-panel (panelling, i think) stapled on. They are warped like crazy, less than 1/2 close properly now.

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I'll post 4 pics on a.b.p.w. Look under Kitchen Pics, and I can send to you through e-mail if you like.
I have had no warp at all and some of the doors are large for a kitchen. I used biscuits to join the edge pieces to the plywood panels and there has been marginal shrinkage over the years that shows up at the butt joints. BUTT,,,,you have to look or feel for the differences to know that they are there.
That said, the house is centrally heated and cooled so the humidity is pretty much a constant in Houston, TX. Also I stained and varnished every square inch front and back.

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Has it held square? I'm having a hard time with this "plywood

I made new doors for a kitchen out of 11-layer veneer Birch, and the client failed to paint them immediately. . .Not only did they warp, causing me to have to replace about three doors, the veneer blistered in 3-4 locations! As I said in my post, finish them as fast as you can! The same, of course, holds true for wood doors. Plywood can and will warp just like wood: gee, it is wood! ;~)
Kim
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Nothing will go near my kitchen without a nice good layer (or more) of poly on it. Not with the way the kids are in there :-)
Any issues with ply warping after finish?
Thanks! --randy

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says...

I have seen my share of old, warped plywood doors. But, hey, nothing is perfect. With the cabinet grade plywood being moisture acclimated, finished properly, you've done all you can do!
Kim
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I have cabinets that have 3/4" oak ply, w/edge banding, slab doors. 3 coats of water based (which was a bit of a concern for a while but has proven ok) poly. I'm not a big fan of a/c and for a number of reasons the humidity varies from a nice a/c'd environment to a bit humid (DC in summer). 8+ years and no problems yet. Only the (euro style) hinges need periodic adjustment as they tend to loosen.
Solid wood seems a lot more unstable than ply.
Renata
On Tue, 09 Sep 2003 13:59:14 GMT, "Randy Chapman"

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On Mon, 08 Sep 2003 13:59:05 GMT, "Randy Chapman"

Too much time gluing up and getting flat. Also unstable unless you use battens on the back with slotted holes to allow for wood movement and that adds too much time.

Anathema.
OK but still too much time and effort.
This is really an education issue. SWMBO must be made to see that this is a perfect job for MDF. It's cheap ($0.51 per square foot this morning at my supplier), it's stable (with the proviso that you coat all surfaces equally), it takes a great paint finish (the edges will have to be sanded to 220-320, double primed with a high solids primer and sanded again before spraying the whole panel).
There is no laminated panel product that will give you the same flat surface, without irregularities that will show up as you build the gloss of the finish.
Sell her on the MDF. You won't regret it.
It might be worth mentioning to her that small time outfits like the Smithsonian Institution and the Franklin Institute insist on MDF for their painted displays. They use Medite, which is not what you get from the Borg but they could order it for you.
Regards, Tom. Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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