Approximately 9 months ago I built a cherry entertainment center. It has two doors on the lower center section that are approximately 3/4 x 14 x 23 inchs. One of the doors has warped by about 3/8 of an inch. This happened about two or three months after completion. The doors are stile and rail construction (3/4 x 1 1/2) with mortis & tenon joints. The panel is solid cherry 1/4″ thick. The finish is tried & true varnish oil. I tried placing the door on a flat surface with weight on it for about 6 weeks to no avail. I even place shims under 3 of the corners to try to over load the weight but it still sprung right back. Any suggestions befor I rebuild the door would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
What kind of hinges are you using? Have you tried to adjust, shim them a bit? 3/8" is alot to ask, just an idea.- JB
Given that the warpage appeared after several months, the likely cause is that one or more of the frame pieces has warped with a seasonal change in the moisture content of the wood, probably by drying out over the winter. This isn't a fault of the finish, no finish stops moisture swings, they just slow it down slightly. If you do nothing, the door may straighten out over the next few months as the weather becomes more humid, but they'll twist again next fall
The only solution is to rebuild the door. To prevent the problem in the future, only use absolutely straight grained quarter sawn wood for making door frames. If you are starting from rough sawn wood, also reject any boards that took on a twist as they dried even if the wood is quarter sawn.
You cannot be too fussy picking out the wood for door frames, a half hour spent choosing the best wood will prevent much grief later.
There is a second possible cause of your problems, the size of your framing is on the small side which makes it harder for the frame to resist racking if the door panels warp.
Also, if you do not flip flop the grain on your panel stock this will occur often. I try to keep my panel stock pieces around 3-5" and reverse the grain for this very reason. Using anything bigger is hip shooting--- (sorry couldn't resist!)
I thought my rant on choosing the best stock for the frame was enough for one posting, but you are right that you also have to give attention to keeping the panel reasonably flat also.
A fair number of woodworkers seem to think that just as long as they use a frame and panel, then wood selection isn't critical. Usually they can get away with it, but not always.
Edited 4/2/2004 1:42 pm ET by JohnW
There was a similar question on the forum a few weeks ago. One of the recommendations was to place a piece of 3/4" scrap under the warped corner and clamp the door down for a few days. I tried that on a door that had warped ~1/4" and it brought the door almost into alignment. I am going to try again to see if I can make it the rest of the way.
The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.
Nicholas Butler (1862 - 1947)
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