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Cupboard door expands but no fault showing. How?

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Jimmei

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We had a three door solid oak sideboard unit delivered from a well known high street store in January past. The doors are of the usual frame and panel construction, two vertical rails with top and bottom rails running between and a solid panel 'infill'. When delivered all door edges were flush and level.

Over the next few months the top and bottom rails slowly moved outwards until there was a 3 mm step between them and the ends of the vertical rails. This happened on all three doors. A replacement unit was delivered and, surprise, surprise, this has now developed an identical fault. Despite much pulling and pushing all joints appear to be sound with no gaps or movement showing and the door edges are still parallel.

I can work out the probable cause of most woodworking problems but this has got me beaten. Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.
 

John Brown

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Do you mean that the top rail moved upwards, and the bottom rail moved downwards, releative to the the vertical stiles?

What is the orientation of the grain on the panels?
 

Jimmei

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Sorry Woodmonkey, no modern camera so can not post photo.

John Brown - yes, the top rail moved upwards and the bottom rail downwards relative to the vertical stiles, about equal movement top and bottom. The panel grain is vertical. Forgot to say the unit is in a c/h double glazed room dining room when the temp is around 18C all year with no source of dampness around.
 

Phil Pascoe

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The humidity has caused the wood to move. The joints have stopped it moving in both directions, which is why it's gone up at the top and down at the bottom. It's what wood does, unfortunately.
P.S. ours is 93% at the moment. It plays havoc with everything.
 

Jimmei

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Assessor was out. He is confused but thought that as the furniture was manufactured in the Far East, the timber had been seasoned for that climate, ie very hot and dry and therefore a low moisture content. On arrival in the UK, it moisture % increase causing expansion. What he couldn't understand was the lack of other complaints.
In passing I asked what was the most common complaint. Beds! He and his partner visit at least 25 cases per week where folk think their new bed will 'feel' exactly the same as the one they had for years.

Thanks for the posts on my problem.
 

dzj

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Is the panel flat or is it raised?
If flat, perhaps the veneer is glued to a solid wood core that's doing the expanding.
 

rafezetter

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dzj":3svxdc55 said:
Is the panel flat or is it raised?
If flat, perhaps the veneer is glued to a solid wood core that's doing the expanding.
djz - Panel could be a reversed raised with blockwood that they are so well known for orientated differently to the display veneered face

If the grain direction on the panel is vertical, yet the movement has been top and bottom, then this would be my guess as well, and being close to the coast is obviously not helping. Is the sideboard nearer to an outside door than a source of heating - or source of humid air like the kitchen or bathroom?

If so, try moving it to a different location or maybe even place of of those dessicant dehumidifier trays nearby / underneath it.
 

ED65

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Jimmei":3mmidd3m said:
Assessor was out. He is confused but thought that as the furniture was manufactured in the Far East, the timber had been seasoned for that climate, ie very hot and dry and therefore a low moisture content.
:? Mr. Assessor must not have holidayed in the same Far East I know!

A lot of Asia is hot and wet, not hot and dry, and the further south you go generally the wetter it becomes. 'Dry' season around the South China Sea the average humidity is 70-80% at a mean temperature well above 28°C so the moisture level of the air is, ah, on the high side.
 

ED65

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Just to check, your doors look something like either of these:



And this is the movement you've experienced?

 

Jimmei

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Hi ED65

Yes that's it. Unit is going to be replaced, again. No spare doors available. Hopefully third time lucky.
 

Neil S

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Thinking way off field here. Have you actually measured the doors are expanding. Is it possible that the rest of the unit has shrunk instead?

Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
 

AndyT

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Assuming you still like the overall design of the piece, despite these problems, wouldn't it be easier to remove the doors, plane or sand them down until they fit, touch up the finish and put them back on?
Less hassle than swapping the whole thing for another one which would probably have the identical issue.

If you are talking to an assessor about it you should be able to negotiate a cash refund of enough money to pay a professional to do the work.
 

Jimmei

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We thought about that but with the amount of movement we are worried that the joints may fail some time in the future with no replacements available so will go for a 'swop' and see what happens.
 

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