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Thread: Slightly bowed sides of a tall cabinet - how to install doors??

  1. #1
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    Slightly bowed sides of a tall cabinet - how to install doors??

    I built a 72"high x 36" wide cabinet for an armoire, using solid core maple plywood for the sides of the case. My intent was (and still is) to install 2 flush doors so that the armoire can be closed. I plan to use three hinges on each door. But the sides of the cabinet have bowed slightly -- the widest part of the bow is about 1/2" wider than the top and bottom. So each side is off by about 1/4". The bowing is not perfectly symmetric -- it's more pear-shaped.

    I can (with some effort) make doors that have a matching bow on their outside edge, but should I attach hinges in the normal way with the normal distances from the edge of the side and the edge of the door? Or would It be best to mount the middle hinge in a 1/4" spacer? Would that mess up the way the edge of the door closes, and if so, is there a solution to this problem?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Straight doors should pull the sides fairly straight if they are stiff enough. Even so, I would design it with some kind of a face frame.
    If you have to have a frameless look, use 5 hinges per side and make sure the door is stiff enough to not flex.

    Dan

  3. #3
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    Mike, could you cut the outer edges of the doors the same profile as the sides ? If this leaves too much of a gap between the closed doors, could you put a beaded spacer on one of the doors ?

  4. #4
    Mike, have you already tried putting the back on it? Did that pull it into plumb/square, or did that torque the case? I'm trying to find a way to help and that was the first thing that came to mind.
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  5. #5
    I would suggest a face frame of stout lumber, something like 2 1/2 wide X 1 1/2" thick with a rabbet.

  6. #6
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    What Dan said. Five hinges on the door will straighten the sides. Note: You may need to put a temporary spacer between the sides of the cabinet to get the hinges to line up when you install the doors.

    John

  7. #7
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    I would not make curved doors and three hinges.
    How hard is it to push the sides to straight? If it can be done with reasonable force then straight doors and several hinges as suggested by Dan Hahr. The doors should not be frame and panel unless the panel is plywood and glued in place. Even thin plywood will pull very bent sides to straight when closed.
    If the force to push the sides to straight is excessive then I think it would be a problem opening and closing. I would try to make the sides straight. I would be considering one or more fixed shelves. The shelves should be fixed to the sides with either the grain going front to backs or plywood shelves.

  8. #8
    Is there any way at all you could alter the design to introduce some sort of crossmember somewhere to pull/push the two sides into better alignment--maybe functioning as a shelf or closet pole (given this is an armoire)? ...It's been my experience that even high quality plywood that has been stored carefully isn't necessarily reliably flat at the dimensions you are talking about and even if the back of the carcase is straight and square, the front may be a different story.

  9. #9
    If you curve the door edges to match the cabinet sides, when you open the doors, the hinges will bind as the doors try to open.
    Lee Schierer
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  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Thanks for the suggestions. Itís quite easy to push the side in a bit to straighten them, so the idea of using additional hinges with a properly squared up set of doors makes sense. A face frame would mess up the design, but I do accept the point that it could work. Again, thank you all.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    The hinge pins need to all be on the same line or the door will bind. You will have to shim the middle hinge towards the interior. this is why cabinet doors are commonly overlapped onto the case. That overlap hides any wiggle room needed.
    Bill D

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