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Wardrobe door construction methods

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ByronBlack

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Hi

I've agreed to make some new wardrobe doors for my mothers large bedroom-width wardrobe. There are 8 sets of double doors, measuring about 70" high by 14" wide.

I've bought the timber. I'm going to construct the frames out of 18mm x 34mm pine, and will cut grooves into the frame section to accept some 6mm ply.

The question I have, is what is the best joint to use to make the frame? My first though was mortice and tenon, but then thought perhaps using dovetails to connect the rails to the verticle pieces would be better.

Some advice would be great as i'm a little unsure of the best way.

Cheers
BB
 

jasonB

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Your framing material seems way too flimsy, I would go with a minimum of 70x18, are you going to paint the doors if so MDF would be a better option as the pine will more than likely move.

Here and here are a couple of pics of the method I use for shaker type doors, glue the panels into the grooves for added strength.

Jason
 

ByronBlack

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Hi Jason,

I'm somewhat limited to the current frame size, as that is what is currently on the doors at the moment, and I need to keep them as close to the originals as I can.

I will glue the panels to the frame within the groove though so that should help a bit.

I'm assuming you just glued your frames together, did you use any other fixings, such as screws, dowls etc?
 

Steve Maskery

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Hi Byron
I second Jason - for doors this tall you need beefier material. Perhaps you could compromise by making the rails 70mm whilst keeping the stiles narrower. A 34mm bottom rail is not going to look right IMHO.

I, too, am building a wardrobe at the moment. The carcases are complete and our clothes are hanging in there. Not sure when I'll get round to the doors, but I'm probably going to make them out of veneered MDF. Heavy though. But I suspect that we both are going to have the same problem - how to keep the darned things from warping. If you can fix catches both top and bottom then you are OK, but when I tried that on an earlier wardrobe it was a nightmare trying to get both catches to operate simultaneously.

I think we both need good luck here!

Steve
 

ByronBlack

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I suppose could make the rails deeper - means another trip to B&Q ;(

Also what I was going to do to help avoid warping was to put a center-rail about half-way up, this will be 70mm (got the timber for that). So I suppose in the grand-scheme of things 70mm lower and upper rails will match.

Thanks for the warnings. The thing that worries me slightly is cutting the 6mm ply/mdf panels out of 8x4, need to be accurate with that.
 

ByronBlack

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To help you visualise of roughly what I need to build, here is a shot of the current doors:



Although the doors that i'm going to be making will not have the louvre panels, just flat panels, but with a nice router-moulding going round the inside of the frame and the central rail.
 

jasonB

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Byron, the old louvre doors were probably made from ramin, a nice straight grained stable hardwood, so can't say the same for B&Q pine :D

There are no other fixings in my doors, just glue, made loads of them from kitchen size to wardrobe size and never had a joint fail.

Steve, one way to do the veneered MDF doors is with 13mm veneered board then resaw & thickness matching hardwood to 6mm thick and glue ontop of the MDF. Like this and this. Don't bother with catches use blum hinges and the doors will self close.

Jason
 

ByronBlack

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Jason,

Do you think that if I use 6mm mdf as the panels, this will help stabilise the pine frame?

Or should I just scrap the idea of using pine altogether?
 

Steve Maskery

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HI Jason,
Hmm that's a tempting idea. They would be lighter, too.

Trouble is, the existing bedand bedside tables are figured maple, and I was going to do the wardrobe the same way[/url]. I bet I wouldn't get 3 boards of 13 MDF figured MDF from Nixon Knowles!

I will give it some thought though, the idea has plenty of other merits.
Cheers
Steve
 

jasonB

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Byron, MDF or ply will be about the same, the pine will still be too flimsy especially if its the cheap whitewood that B&Q sell and not the better quality stuff.

Jason
 

ByronBlack

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Ok, i'll scrap the pine idea - i'll take that back to B&Q.

I'm now thinking matt's idea of cutting full panel size doors and gluing on a 'faux frame' is a good idea, atleast I won't have to cut grooves.

Thanks for all the input fella's. I was considering just building them, but I think you've saved me a lot of hassle today.
 

tim

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The very first cupboards I ever built were in a spare room at home. Floor to ceiling, pine frame (about 45x18) with no central rail. The only thing that has kept them from warping is the mirrors that fill the entire panel. I tried using catches top and bottom (the kind of push/ push locks) to stop some minor twisting. Absolute nightmare to open because the door flexes slightly and stops them locking/ unlocking simultaneously (is that the same as you Steve?).

Since then I have done exactly what Jason does with MDF or if I'm using tulipwood, I generally M&T. Also concealed sprung hinges are the way ahead (again as Jason says - I've noted that if he responds to a post first then there's not much else that needs to be said, except agree!)

I've just finished a job in pine for a client (i'll post some pics soon) and I swear its the last time I use it. It was their request. So much wastage that it would have been about the same price in beech!

Byron - I know that you say that you want to keep a similar style to the doors in the photo, but are you not replacing all the doors in the wardrobe? If so, then you can pick what you like - it'll look fine in wider.

Cheers

Tim
 

Steve Maskery

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tim":1unfqv0k said:
(is that the same as you Steve?).
Absolutely. Looks great, as there are no handles to destroy the symmetry (I have 5 doors, 2x2 +1 :) ) but as you say, getting them to work properly is a nightmare. I gave up in the end and just used them at the top.

Now if you went to Cheltenham this year, you may have noticed that was a wardrobe there with these catches (the black ones from Hafele) and they worked PERFECTLY. I was green. BUT his doors were very narrow (350mm?) and very thick (25mm). There was no flex in them at all, which is why it was a success. Try doing that with my 2.1m x 540mm doors and the whole thing would collapse on me if I opened all the doors at once, I should think.

Incidentally, my dad made a wardrobe when they first got married ('56) and he used that new-fangled stuff called chipboard. It was veneered OK and lipped with mouldings and whatnot, so it looked fine, but it weighed a ton. As the rest of the carcase was made from light, thin ply, the wardrobe did actually topple forward if you opened both doors at once when it was empty!

Now where is my stock of nice light MDF?

Cheers
Steve
 

ByronBlack

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Just out of curiosity. If I do a similar job in the future, what is a good hardwood replacement for mdf/pine/ply ec.. And by good, I mean as in relatively sturdy, and cost effective.

One of the problems of being a newb is not really knowing what materials are availble, their cost and how/when you should use them.
 

Steve Maskery

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Poplar/tulipwood/canary whitewood - all the same. Cheap, stable, takes a finish well. It's a hardwood, but it's not very hard, and is easy to work.

S
 

ByronBlack

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Thanks for the advice there steve. I'll chat to my local hardwood supplier tomorrow to get some prices.

I dont know if you would know, but what would be an average price for said hardwoods (i'm unsure about industry standard pricing, is it done by 'board-foot' ?)
 

tim

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Steve":2anfqn9b said:
Now if you went to Cheltenham this year, you may have noticed that was a wardrobe there with these catches (the black ones from Hafele) and they worked PERFECTLY. I was green. BUT his doors were very narrow (350mm?) and very thick (25mm). There was no flex in them at all, which is why it was a success. Try doing that with my 2.1m x 540mm doors and the whole thing would collapse on me if I opened all the doors at once, I should think.
And IMO they looked absolutely b***dy awful. A really attractive sycamore cabinet with huge black plastic catches. Even the concealed hinges he used were the wrong size for that thickness of door. Very much a case of function over form there I think.

ByronBlack":2anfqn9b said:
I dont know if you would know, but what would be an average price for said hardwoods (i'm unsure about industry standard pricing, is it done by 'board-foot' ?)

Normally done by cubic foot and I would reckon you would pay between £18 and £20 per cube for 25mm sawn stock.

Cheers

Tim
 

jasonB

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Byron, as steve says tulipwood etc is probably your best choice if it,s going to be painted.

If I recall you don't have a planer/thicknesser so this may give you a better Idea of costs, just enter the timber of your choice.

http://www.slhardwoods.co.uk/looseboards.asp note the sizes are nominal, reduce them by say 6mm to arrive at the size you need ie 25mm will be 19mm finished size.

Jason
 
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