Making full height wardrobe doors using MDF

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by harveyjoiner, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. harveyjoiner

    harveyjoiner New Member

    Hello chaps,
    Some customers recently have been asking for 8ft doors for built in wardrobes I've been making..
    My cheeky method is a 12mm sheet of mdf cut to door-size and then i take 80mm strips of 12mm mdf and glue/pin them onto the front to create rails and stiles. From the front it looks like a panel door and on the back it's flush.
    When they are glued and pinned i lie them on a super flat surface (a couple of fire-doors set up as a bench)
    Trouble is , the pesky things are still prone to minor warping and frankly I'm unsure why...
    Anyone got any ideas as to why this happens or has a more fool-proof method?
    Perhaps 25mm finished isn't quite enough for an 8ft door?
    Be grateful of your comments,
  2. speed

    speed New Member

    if i was doing the job id be using 18mm moisture resistant mdf doors with a 6mm MR strips glued on, mdf is hard to fill so i would'nt nail the face

    12mm rails imo would look wayyy to deep and heavy looking
  3. wuddy

    wuddy Member

    i agree with speed but still think doors that height in mdf will be prone to twisting and warping

    i would be tempted to construct then with stub mortices and use 25mm redwood and 9mm mdf for the panels
  4. Mr Mike

    Mr Mike New Member

    Hi Harvey,

    It's because you're in effect, only laminating / glueing strips to one side of the sheet, and not 'balancing' the process with glueing something to the opposite side. I've had those same problems before.

    The only way really is to do it properly, as others have said, with 22 or 25mm stiles and rails (in mdf), grooved out for 6mm or 9mm panels.

    Once you get a good system going, it should be quicker than doing it your old way.
  5. jasonb

    jasonb New Member

    Mr Mike sounds like you have been reading my reply to the same question the OP asked last week on another forum

    "The warping is likely due to the different thicknesses of MDF drying out at slightly different rates as it adjusts to the houses heated enviroment.

    I can make MDF doors quite quickly and cheaply with grooved styles & rails, MDF panel and loose tongue joints. On the bigger doors I prefer 22mm board with 9mm panels all MR MDF. "

    Or is it just that great minds think alike!!!

  6. Mr Mike

    Mr Mike New Member

    Believe me, I have no problem at all in owning up when I've plundered other people's ideas, but in this particular case I'm afraid your last comment is correct !!

    I meant to say as well, when priming and painting them, make sure your paint both sides in the same session.

    I learnt that the hard way too !

    22mm with 6mm panels works well for me, in terms of adding 9mm mouldings to the front, and still leaves a nice 6mm rebate on the inside face of the doors.
  7. harveyjoiner

    harveyjoiner New Member

    Mr Mike,
    Thanks for your great advice.
    My issue is that I'm wary, after many years exposure, of machining mdf in my workshop. It's not big enough for a proper extractor system. I can get the sheets cut to size at my timber yard and would dearly love to crack this problem without the dust isuue by sticking to my system. Do you think I'd have better results using a 12mm panel with 9mm rails/stiles glued and pinned on BOTH sides?? It would then be at least balanced right?
    Cheers fella..
  8. Mr Mike

    Mr Mike New Member

    I know the problem with extraction, I don't have a spindle moulder and just groove out the stiles and rails with a slot / groove cutter using a router and portable vac. There's still a lot of dust created when routing edges unfortunately. I thought permanent nosebleeds were completely normal ! :)

    In theory, your suggestion should work, but I've not tried it myself. If you're going to do that, I would suggest putting the pins in almost exactly the same position on both sides if possible too.

    You're also giving yourself (or the decorator) more work in getting the edges seamless.

    Some timber yards have basic milling capabilities, you may find they could groove the stiles and rails for you. That would save you a lot of faffing about........

    ......and your lungs too...... ;)
  9. Binfield Carpenter

    Binfield Carpenter New Member

    I have made loads of MDF doors over the years but now I don't bother. Reason? I've found that there are specialist makers who can do them better, without the hassle and cheaper. They will come back accurately made to the exact dimensions you give, ready finished, can be drilled if you're really lazy ....

    I use Apex for the most part (Google for "Apex Interior") but there are others around too.

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