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Have four cabinet doors that came apart shortly after being installed some 10+ years ago.  The rest of the doors installed at the same time have offered no trouble.  All the doors were factory made and installed at the same time.  These doors came apart within 6 months of installation.

Having had mixed success in discussions with the mfg., I have decided to repair them myself and have done with it.  

The doors were held together by nails/staples and no glue.  We assume humidity is the culprit (the house is not air-conditioned).  However, only 4 out of 18-20 doors were affected.  The plan is to glue the edges of the door panels and clamp them into the frames.  However, not knowing what caused the problem on only these doors, I am concerned that the panels might expand and give me a worse repair job than before.  Should I rather sand down the edges of the panels to allow for some expansion and simply glue the frame back together?

Your wisdom would be appreciated. 

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Hi David, It sounds like the doors missed the glue up and were only tacked together which is a method done to hold the door frames together while the glue cures.  If the panels are made of a wood glue up and not plywood panels I would not suggest gluing the panels to the frames as this will definately cause joint failure.  To be assured of a good repair I would only glue the frame joints together and use a small brad or staple to hold the joints until the glue cures.  I would be not glue the panels to the frames even if the panels are made of plywood as it is not necessary and can cause cracking failure of the frame near the glue line, usually the pattern profile of the door. 

The panels width should be cut so they are 1/4"  smaller that the frame groove is wide  (1/8" on each side).  I would definately check the fit .  A good door will have what is called a "space ball" in the industry of which serves as a anti rattle for the panel to the frame.  It is a rubber ball that is 1/4" in diameter inserted into the panel grooves and serves as a shock assorbing material for both the panel expansion and normal opening and closing of the doors.  It's function is to keep the panel tight in the frame.  Sometimes these will be a small piece of rubber or foam sponge type material rather that a ball.  If these are absent, you can make some your self using a piece of material like that found in the automotive seals or home insulation strips for house doors.   Place at least two on each side of the panel one near the top and one neat the bottom about 3 to 4 inches from the ends. 

If these are plywood panels they will remain pretty much free of expansion from moisture.  It they are glue ups from wood like in raised panels they will expand and contract across the grain as moisture content of the air changes finding most of the expansion during the summer months due to high moisture content of the air and will change very little in the long grain direction.  I hope this answers some of your questions and good luck with your repairs.

Jay,

Thank you.  That pretty well handles all my questions!  ...well, one more comes to mind...

>>To be assured of a good repair I would only glue the frame joints together and use a small brad or staple to hold the joints until the glue cures.

I'm a little afraid of splitting the frame.  Is there any reason to avoid holding it together with clamps? (While the glue dries.)

Best wishes,

David

None David. the small brad or staple is simply a method used to free up clamp time and will be a great repair where or not you decide to use a staple or a brad.  What I do is use a headless pin that is a .019 dia x 1/2" long from an air nail gun.  I use titebond origional glue as my preference of glues.   
 
David Cameron said:

Jay,

Thank you.  That pretty well handles all my questions!  ...well, one more comes to mind...

>>To be assured of a good repair I would only glue the frame joints together and use a small brad or staple to hold the joints until the glue cures.

I'm a little afraid of splitting the frame.  Is there any reason to avoid holding it together with clamps? (While the glue dries.)

Best wishes,

David

OK.  Thanks...looks like I may have a honeydo scheduled for next week

Best wishes,

David


Jay Boutwell said:

None David. the small brad or staple is simply a method used to free up clamp time and will be a great repair where or not you decide to use a staple or a brad.  What I do is use a headless pin that is a .019 dia x 1/2" long from an air nail gun.  I use titebond origional glue as my preference of glues.   
 
David Cameron said:

Jay,

Thank you.  That pretty well handles all my questions!  ...well, one more comes to mind...

>>To be assured of a good repair I would only glue the frame joints together and use a small brad or staple to hold the joints until the glue cures.

I'm a little afraid of splitting the frame.  Is there any reason to avoid holding it together with clamps? (While the glue dries.)

Best wishes,

David

Here's what I love about the Kreg community - I'm gluing up some cabinet doors and want to be sure I'm doing things right.  A Google query "gluing up doors" brings me to this discussion under "gluing cabinet door pitfalls" and a respected resource, Jay Boutwell, has answered the question for another member.  Thanks for the help!

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