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Thanks and Armoire Door Question

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  • Thanks and Armoire Door Question

    First a 'Thank You' to ralphtheplumber, VAsandy and woodweavil for their help and suggestions on building the bullett reloading station. The project is on hold for a couple months because the customer has some unanticipated financial problems.

    I have a small run of cabinets to build for a mud room with an integrated armoire between two 36" cabinets. The problem is the armoire is 80" tall and 38" wide. My thoughts are to build the two doors with through mortise and tenons on the maple frames and glue in 1/4" maple plywood for the panels.

    1.) I will need at least one mid-rail for a door that size but would two be better?
    2.) Typically my cabinets have been built with 2" stiles, rails and mid-rails. Since these doors are so tall would wider rails, stiles and mid-rails help prevent warping?
    3.) If I go with wider frame pieces and glue in the panels at what point does expansion of rails and stiles become a problem?

    My preference:
    Since the drawers are inset and the drawer faces are flat, non frame and panel, I would like to build the doors that way also so that there is a continuous flat appearance across the entire run, but I don't know how to do it. I could use maple plywood for the entire doors and edge band the plywood with a tongue and groove or "V" groove, (I don't like the looks of iron-on edge banding) but my concern is that plywood doors that size will still warp and also may be too heavy for the euro style hinges. Soooo... How can I build a light, flat panel door 80x19 so that it won't warp?



  • #2
    Re: Thanks and Armoire Door Question

    Wow...that is a big honkin piece of built-in!!! I'm wondering, aesthetically speaking, if that expanse of flat is a good idea? I'm no designer, for sure, but that does seem like a huge flat space. If it's a mudroom, it's going to be relatively focal to the home. Maybe not to visitors, depending on entry, but it will be to the family. One idea may be to use the edge-banding to create some visual break in the facade. Using a thicker piece there would also give you something to strengthen the panel. I don't have the level of experience to speak to the warping factor of plywood, but I'm thinking that with only 19" of lateral run, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. I know the grain needs to run vertical on that 80" height, but it might work out (if you're going to paint it) to run the grain horizontal. 1/4" ply doesn't have a lot of structural abilities no matter how you turn it, though!

    1/2" ply with a decent edge band might work out best, considering the 80" of vertical expanse. I'll probably get shot down on my theories....which is fine. It's one way I learn!

    By the way, if this is where they're planning on storing their winter coats and such, you might want to think about doubling the panel on the inside. Moisture from raincoats, melting snow, etc is going to play havoc with the wood anyway. High moisture content on the inside, low on the outside (especially in winter with heaters running) will tend to try to pull the moisture out. It would be a good idea to allow that moisture to easily move out of the armoire by leaving an air gap around the back of the door. In other words, don't fit the doors real tight to the frame. Use some rubber door-guards on the back side to give the doors a very thin air gap.

    Anyway...just my .0002cents worth. I certainly hope I've been of some help. Hopefully someone with some *actual* knowlege will come along and straighten us out!
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.


    • #3
      Re: Thanks and Armoire Door Question

      Some ideas to get the discussion started:
      For the doors, if you go the frame and panel route, you can use hard wood quarter-sawn lumber for the rails and stiles. They will have less tendency to warp than plane-sawn (also known as flat-sawn). If you can let the wood acclimatize in your shop for a couple weeks to show any warping before you final mill it, you may avoid some surprises.
      If you go with 2 1/2" rails and styles, and rabbet (or rebate for Her Majesty's subjects) in 1/2"w x 1/4"deep on the front, you can glue in 1/4" ply for the flat look without adding a lot of weight. You will need more hinges because of the height, but the doors will only be 18" wide, so you shouldn't have a lot of sagging problems.
      Another option for a long flat surfaced door like that is to make it a torsion box design. Sandwich some 1/4" to 3/8" thick by 1" wide strips between 2 outside layers of 1/4 ply. If you rabbet in to solid pieces for the edges, you won't have to edge band. Keep the hinge stile at least 2" wide to allow setting in the Euro-hinge. The difficulty in this approach is getting a large enough flat surface to glue it up on (if it isn't flat when its glued it never will be) and ensuring you have pressure across all the internal cross pieces.
      Rather than doing this yourself, you may be able to find some solid-face sliding closet door sections of the right width that are already assembled. With this approach you probably won't be able to use euro-hinges as the edge pieces won't be solid far enough into the door.

      Just some thoughts

      Practicing at practical wood working