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Best wood for cupboard doors

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Anonymous

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I'd like to call on everyone's obvious knowledge of wood...

I'm part way through building a built-in set of painted cupboards and shelves. So far I have the frame and shelving installed. As this is all supported and fixed to the walls I haven't had to worry too much about the timber used, I've used bog standard pine for the face fames from my local builders merchant (not great but after a lot of sorting I ended up with pretty true, clean, pieces) and birch ply for the sides/shelves. I stacked these in the room for a number of weeks before starting.

Now all I have left to do is make the doors. I'm planning on making frame and panel (not raised) doors. As these will be approx 1800x500mm each I want to try to ensure they don't twist, and as it's almost impossible to find stock that doesn't start twisted from a BM I'm looking at sourcing it from a proper timber merchant (maybe even online - SL Hardwoods??).

So my question (finally) is what type of timber do you suggest for the frames? As it will end up painted I have no preference visually (as long as it takes a paint finish well) I have a planer/thicknesser so I can dimension my own stock (within reason) so sawn boards would be most economical. I was thinking of making the long frame sides about 25x80mm in cross section.

Any ideas, what about ash (just looking at SL Hardwoods for inspiration)?

Thanks,
David.
 

frank

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david what about your local w/merchant for some unsorted red wood for the frames and mdf for the panels if you are going to paint them ,tell the guys what its for and you want knot freeish wood and please go in the afternoon when its a bit quieter hope this helps .
 

jasonB

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Tulipwood also called American Poplar paint up well and is easy to work. You could also use MDF for the rails and Styles as well as the panel, I've made hundreds like this with no warp or twist provided you glue them up on a flat surface.

Jason
 

Alf

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I'd second poplar as far as hardwoods go. But beware, SLH are pretty pricey on delivery. I favour British Hardwoods, but, of course, they don't have poplar... :roll: Ash has very open grain, so unless you want that look under the paint, it's really not ideal. Dunno what you've been asking for from your builder's merchant, but as Frank mentions, "best unsorted joinery quality redwood" is the phrase I've memorised as what to ask for for decent softwood, and I actually ended up with some okay stuff, fwiw.

Cheers, Alf
 

johnelliott

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I agree with JasonB, use mdf for the frames. This is what I do, although I use ash veneered MDF as it gives a better finish than plain MDF if you are using water based paints (which is what I would recommend)
1800 is pretty tall for a door, I would be inclined to split it into 2 x 900, maybe even 3.
When you've got all the 2 rails and styles cut out, check them with a straight edge. They will ALWAYS be curving, even if only very slightly. The trick is to make sure you machine and assemble them so they are all curving in the same direction. Then, when you hang the door, do it so the bulge is outwards, and the door will fit the frame well and won't show a warp even if the wood moves a bit after installation
John
 

Aragorn

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I often make cupboards as you've described.
I'd make the doors' stiles and rails out of pine myself - just get the pieces flat and straight on the planer/thicknesser. Ply for the panels.
If you use good quality catches top and bottom the door is unlikely to twist or bow in my experience - at least, no problems yet in 12 years :?
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks for everyones suggestions, I'll try looking locally for quality redwood, failing that poplar. I don't think I'll go the MDF route (for the frame), it just seems too much like cheating, and the edge 'grain' always ends up showing through when I paint it.

John, I really want to keep to a single span top to bottom, but hopefully three or even four hinges and strong catched (thanks Aragorn) will help to keep it stable.

Thanks again for everyones help,
David.
 

tim

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David

Make sure you ask for American poplar or Tulipwood not ordinary poplar which is a soft wood. John Boddys do Tulipwood at about £17 a cube I think maybe more or less depending on quantity.

FWIW One of the very first thibgs I made was a built in wardrobe at home about 8 years ago. I didn't know about wood movement so I didn't make any provision for it. MAde the farmes out of Pine and the panel out of MDF. Glued the MDF into a rebate in the door frames (1850mm high) and put them up. 8 years later still no problem, movement or splitting. :?

Cheers

Tim
 
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Anonymous

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Well I have the wood in the back of the car. Joinery quality sawn redwood from the BM. Certainly looks better than their usual stuff, although the test will be once I've dried it out and machined it (excellent - the first proper use of my planer/thicknesser). The joinery timber was all hidden away in a hanger out back - now they tell me :roll:.

Thanks again for your help,
David.
 

frank

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david if its wet take it back dont be fobbed off with any old c**p you pick the wood you want not what they want to off load on to you .i can get some nice bits of redwood just by looking in the pile and sorting out what i want (it is unsorted but i like to sort it myself :wink: :wink: )
 
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Anonymous

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Frank,

When I said 'dry it out' I mean't dry it out to our lounge's humidity. It was stored in a large hanger/shed so its dry just not dry enough. I spent quite a while sorting through the piles they had and I think I've ended up with some pretty decent stuff. Once it's 'dry' and prepared I'll be able to tell. Hey, it all helps in my learning of how to spot good timber, if the worst comes to the worst I can always cut it down and make something smaller with this stuff.

p.s. Any guestimates as to how much thickness you would expect to loose on a sawn board when preparing it?

Thanks again,
David.
 

jasonB

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3mm either side is about average but more if you have to plane out a twist or bow. 25mm will finish about 18-19 and 50mm will finish about 44mm

Jason
 

smiffy

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I don't think I'll go the MDF route (for the frame), it just seems too much like cheating, and the edge 'grain' always ends up showing through when I paint it.
I am assuming that you are going to use real wood for the frames to avoid the hairy roughness you get on MDF edges.

I have made quite a few kitchens now with solid panel doors, and mock raised panel doors all made of MDF and with quite good results.
I use an extra large raised panel bit and it is very easy to just use the routers side guide.

My experience has led me down a path of experimentation, trying different paint finishes and treatments, from floor paint(extra hard) to ordinary emulsion.

I finally settled on a special hard version (16 X harder) of emulsion from Dulux and then 2 coats of water based varnish to give it an easy wipe surface. The edges and routered out raised panel moulding has to be treated twice with MDF sealer paint and sanded between coats.
A bit of work I know after 3 coats of emulsion and 2 coats of varnish, but I think this is easier than making solid wood frames, and you have also eliminated the twisting wood problem.

Cheers,
Raymond.
 
A

Anonymous

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Raymond,

It is partly down to the edge finish of MDF but its also how it 'weathers'. I've just spent a small fortune on re-doing our lounge and this is the final phase, I want something that'll last many years. I don't mind it when painted wood gets slightly tatty (luckily) but knocked and dented MDF just doesn't look right to me.

I've used MDF in many other places in this house so I'm being completely bloody-minded, I guess I'm just being a bit snobish with this but I've convinced myself solid wood is the way to go in this room.

Thanks for your suggestions though,
David.

By the way, here's the cupboards without doors (middle section is to remain shelves). This has turned out to be an excellent use of space and allows us to hide loads of junk (or it will once I've made the doors :oops: ).
 

tim

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David,

I think that looks great - well done - are you putting two doors per side or just one? Its difficult to gauge the scale really accurately but I would have thought two per side would balance nicely and not intrude on the room (or put too much strain on hinges and frame) too much when open.

Cheers

Tim
 
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Anonymous

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Tim,

As you suggest I've planned for two doors per side, each door two panels (possibly slightly larger panel on the bottom to lift the eye). The height is just under 6' for the doors (the ceiling is only just over 6').

David.
 

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