I just built a cabinet that has a 60"x20" ash frame and plywood panel door.
When closed the door is not even with the cabinet; it is off by about an
inch at the top.
What did I do wrong? I thought the frame pieces were flat before I
assembled them, but maybe not. How can I prevent this in the future?
Any reasonable way to untwist it now?
My first thought is did you glue the panel into the frame? I made that
mistake years ago with both panel and frame being solid walnut. One door
warped out about 3/8" out at the bottom. You should allow the panel to
"float" within the frame by slightly undersizing the panel and not gluing.
As the hardwood door components expand and contract, especially in width,
the panel should be able to go with the flow, so to speak. If not
something has to give and I wonder if the rigid panel and less rigid frames
are causing the trouble.
I was able to improve the situation by adding cabinet catches at the bottom,
even though I had self closing hinges. This controlled the 3/8" bow and
eventually it set in a little, but it is still warped.
Are you sure it's the door that is warped and not the cabinet that is out of
square/plum? Were the plywood panel inserts flat when you assembled the door
and were the rails and stiles flat - or were you banking on one or the other
to flatten the other one out?
Depending on the type of hinge used, you sometimes can shim some of that out
although I've never had occasion to try it with a 1" gap/warp. The Euro
style hinges offer the most flexibility in adjustments. I've seen others
"rack in" a door but all that really does is create cracks in the joint
which will then fail at some time in the future.
As for what went wrong with the door. Did it get finished equally on both
sides so there was no chance of one side picking up more moister than the
other? If it's unfinished and it is the door that's warped you may be able
to bring it back by dampening the concave side lightly and then laying it
concave side down and place some culls and weights on it to flatten it. May
take several attempts but worth a shot on a door that size.
You could also try a tension adjustment - (as you typically see on wooden
screen doors). Make one up from some wire and screws and each day, lightly
dampen the wood (concave side) and slightly increase the tension (convex
side) to pull it in. When you think its as flat as it's going to be - then
finish both sides. Leave the temporary tensioner on for awhile so the door
goes through the moisture variations of where you live then remove it.
Take the door off and sit it on a flat surface.
Make a couple of winder sticks by cutting up some stock that is two or
three inches wide and about twenty four inches long.
Set one along the top edge of the door and one along the bottom.
Hunker down and look at the door from the bottom edge towards the top
and see if the winders look parallel to each other.
If they look parallel, then the door is flat and your problem could be
in the hinging or in the case being out of rack.
Check your hinges first, because that's the easiest to rule out.
If the hinges are both set in from the face frame the same depth and
set evenly on the door, you probably don't have a hinge problem.
If the case is out of rack, try shimming one bottom corner to try to
take the rack out. If the case is screwed to the wall, try letting
out the screws a bit, one at a time, to see it that gives you
anything. If that works, shim behind the screw that needed adjustment
and you're done.
If the door was actually glued up twisted, or became twisted in some
fashion after assembly, you can move your lower hinge out to bring in
the top corner flush. If you move the bottom hinge out but still
don't come flush on the top corner, wet your top hinge in a bit.
If neither of these fixes works, or only works partially, add a third
hinge (if you don't already have one) and use it to make the door go
where you want it to.
If you already have a center hinge, adjust it out from the face frame
to force the door to close at the top.
If all of the above gives you no relief - put a bigass magnetic closer
on the top corner and go sit in the moaning chair.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.)
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
What? We keeping count. Why? Have you seen a professional about
your compulsive disorder?
Tom is always worth a read. He writes some incredible stories too.
ps I must be mostly minuses since I tend to be asking when it comes
to wood working
Whiskey Echo Sierra Sierra AT Gee Tee EYE EYE dot COM
If you would please direct your eyes to the end of the sentence..........;-)
Nothing derogatory and everything positive - so why are you trying to make
something out of it? Scheeeeeezzzzz...
I saw the smiley.
My son smiles when he pokes my daughter too.
Look - I'm not saying your posts, lambasting Tom, are 100% meritless.
I am saying this post was a "jab". I think you'd agree.
Anyway - the wreck is a little lighter now.
So those that wanted Tom's participation to end, have gotten what they
It was to let him know someone would be looking over his shoulder - yes.
The goal was to make some aware that, that type of conduct should not be
condoned or tolerated. I also knew it was a losing battle.
To be honest, no I did not want to drive him off but since he can't seem to
admit to making an error in judgment, threw mud when it wasn't warranted,
and continued to exhibit the same traits as the troll - then his leaving is
fine with me. That is a shame too, he's a talented individual - but just not
the man he should have been.
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