Best wood to use for large cupboard style door?

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Old 11-30-16, 05:33 PM
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Best wood to use for large cupboard style door?

I'm building a wall unit with several Shaker style cabinet doors and drawers. On the left side I plan to hang a 40" wide by 6 1/2' tall door, mounted with a piano hinge. This door will conceal a sort of hidden desk area. However, I want the front of the door to look like cabinet and drawer fronts, shaker style. I only mention this because it means the door will have a little more weight on it than just its own weight.

Anyway, my question is, what kind of wood should I use for the door? Any board surface will be fine so long as it's smooth so I can paint it. 3/4" ply good enough? I want something that won't bend or warp over time. Maybe I'm over thinking it, but having had a little experience with exterior custom gate doors I know this can sometimes be an issue with doors this large.
 
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Old 11-30-16, 05:45 PM
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Is there no way to make the doors open left and right?
Either way, I wouldn't make the door 40" wide. I would try to make the door look like 2 doors with a middle astragal. This is a common look on tall cabinets like pantries.
 
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Old 12-01-16, 05:44 AM
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Handyone,

Think of it more like a secret door, not a cabinet door. The door front will have cabinet fronts, but it will just be cosmetic. Having two doors will interfere with the desk area space while a single door will just open against the wall.

I'm really not trying to get bogged down on the details of the desk. My concern is if I can get away with using 3/4" plywood as a door and if it will work well in the future.
 
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Old 12-01-16, 05:48 AM
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For aesthetics I'd consider making the sheet of plywood look like 4 doors. Assuming the door would stay closed the majority of the time you could add bracing on the back side to help prevent warping.
 
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Old 12-01-16, 06:09 AM
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Here is a chart for hinge weight. Don't think a piano hinge will hold weight. No mater what you make it out of door will be pretty heavy.
How to Choose the Right Blum Hinge for Your Cabinet Doors / Rockler How-to
There are many charts out there google
cabinet hinge weight chart
Here is a plywood weight calculator
http://theplywood.com/weight
 
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Old 12-01-16, 07:55 AM
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marksr,

I've already got the aesthetics figured out so I won't get into all that. Actually, the door will probably be open more than closed, but I get your point. I COULD do a diagonal brace on the inside like you'd see on an outside gate but besides looking ugly it might interfere with some of the mechanic of the desk which will pull out. Again, I'd rather not open that can of worms and get into a discussion about the desk and mechanics.... The real question is, would I NEED such a brace? The front of the door, using the shaker style for the fake cabinet door fronts, will essentially mean a 2" border frame will be running all around the front of the door like a picture frame. Although this is only for cosmetics, it should have some straightening and reinforcing advantage. Design is basically two side by side cabinet doors on top with one large cabinet front taking up the bottom half of the "door".
 
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Old 12-01-16, 08:15 AM
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Pugsl,

" Don't think a piano hinge will hold weight." Well, you raise a good point, but I'm not sure it will be a problem.

"Standard 24-Inch Hinge: This hinge will give you about 60 pounds of maximum weight. So, the spread of weight on this hinge is 2.5 pounds per 1-inch of the hinge."
Maximum Load Weights for Various Types of Piano Hinges | DoItYourself.com

I'd be using a 6' hinge, probably something like:
Everbilt 1-1/2 in. x 72 in. Bright Nickel Continuous Hinge-16115 - The Home Depot

Thanks to the chart you linked to, I know that a 4x8 sheet of 3/4 ply is 60 lbs. A sheet is 32 sqft. My door will be about 22sqft before the face drawer/cabinet fronts get added to the surface. I'd be surprised if that added more than another 10 lbs.

Anyway, I think I'd be fine with a piano hinge, but I could consider a gate hinge or something if necessary although I'd have to find a way to hide it.

Good chart on the weight. I don't really have any experience with MDF and was considering it. However, it's heavier and I don't think it would hold up as well as ply. Also, for all know, it's more likely to warp??
 
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Old 12-01-16, 10:27 AM
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I suspect the only way to know for sure if you can get by without a diagonal brace would be to build it and see how it does. Most shed doors I've built or been around needed that brace to prevent or limit warpage.
 
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Old 12-01-16, 12:01 PM
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I would use MDF since it's being painted. MDF is much more stable than plywood. It's used as a core for Rigid Thermofoil Doors and the doors rarely warp.

It is heavy but there are hinges that can handle it, Blum is one brand and the best IMO.
 
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Old 12-02-16, 08:55 AM
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Handyone,

I'm open to the idea of using MDF although I'd prefer a more consensus recommendation. Looks like I can get Blum hinges locally, but I'm not sure why they'd be better than a piano hinge.
 
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Old 12-02-16, 11:16 AM
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A piano hinge would probably be fine. It all depends on the look you want and the weight of the door. Usually if I'm looking for a special hinge I check out Rockler to look at various methods of hanging the door.

Doing a search for pivot hinges might help also, they are designed for heavy doors.

I built a door to hold CDs years ago, it was heavy 3/4" cherry with shelving attached to the back. I used hinges similar to this:

Name:  wraphinge.JPG
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They are full wrap non-mortised.
 
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Old 12-02-16, 03:24 PM
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Handyone,

Okay, I'll think about it. Thanks for your advice. If I go with the hinge you included an image of, would two be enough or three?

Thanks again.
 
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Old 12-02-16, 04:44 PM
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4 or 5 hinges on a tall door is standard, even if the extra strength isn't needed. In your case, it is needed and more than strong enough.
 
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Old 12-02-16, 06:41 PM
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Handyone,

I'm still open to other inputs on the thread, but thanks to you for all your help.

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-08-16, 06:56 AM
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Hey, why can't I just use a pre-made slab door from home depot or lowes? They are light, hollow, and should stay true. The problem is they don't make 40" wide door that I can find. Even so, I might be able to make a 36" door work if I alter my design, or I could maybe glue/screw two slab doors together to get the extra width. There really isn't much too them, afterall. Or, I could make my own slab door complete with an interior diagonal support. Then, for hinges I could just use door hinges or just about anything. Even with the fake drawer fonts it still wouldn't weigh too much.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 12-08-16, 07:07 AM
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A typical hollow core door is 1 3/8" thick. Not sure if you could order one 40" wide or not. They are also typically 80" tall. Even with dowels I doubt gluing two doors together would be a viable option. Making your own with a 1x frame covered with luan might be an option.
 
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Old 12-08-16, 09:10 AM
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marksr,

I don't think the door thickness would be an issue. I just have to plan for it and build it into the design. I know I said 40" wide but to be precise it's actually 37 1/2". I might be able to get away with 36" door as I'm not seeing 40" readily available and it would just be so much easier to buy a pre-fab door. They aren't too expensive.

Something I didn't mention before is that the door swings out from an inside corner so I was already thinking I'd have to add some sort of short hinged piece on the inside corner to swing out and then allow the main door to swing open. Sorry, I have no idea what to call such a feature but you see them on cupboard and even SUV doors sometimes. Anyway, point is, that, along with a few tweaks in the design would shorten the overall door enough to make 36" work.

So of the three ideas.. plywood, MDF, or an actual slab door, right now I'm liking the slab door.

I'd really like more comments advising for or against one of these three options.
 
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Old 12-08-16, 09:44 AM
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If you go with a door slab you'll need to cut the height down. On a hollow core door that will leave an open space. You could remove the wood from the bottom of the cut off piece but I find it easier to rip a 2x to fit. I like to make the cut at the bottom as that way if the cut or the added wood isn't perfect - it's not as noticeable.
 
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Old 12-09-16, 08:45 AM
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marksr,
I've worked with slab doors before so I get what you're saying. Even the framework inside is pretty cheap sometimes so making my own piece is a good idea.

I'm still mulling over the problem of the door swinging open from an inside corner that will pinch it but maybe it's not a concern. Just like with a standard door, because the hinge will be on the "inside" of the cabinet area, the door can pretty much be as thick as I want it and still swing out from the right angle it will rest at. Right?
 

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Old 12-09-16, 11:04 AM
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The main reason I cut a new piece for the bottom of the door is it's quicker and less aggravating. Too much hassle to remove the door skin and glue from the section of door you cut off.

A thick door will pretty much open the same as a thin door, the stops are just set in the jamb deeper for a thicker door. Not sure what you mean by pinching the door but you do want the jamb to come away from the wall enough to give you clearance for opening the door.
 
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Old 05-18-18, 10:16 AM
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Hey, I know this is an old thread I started, but I just wanted to post back and show how things turned out. You guys are a great help and I really appreciate the advice I get here. Thanks a bunch.

I'm happy with how the project turned out. As we discussed, I did go with a stock door and a piano hinge. Kids can do their homework or play games, then I just push it all back in the wall and it looks nice for the wife. Not sure I show this in the photo, but desktop actually pulls out for more leg room once the door is open. If I had it to do again, I might consider pushing the desktop back such that I could push a chair inside the wall unit. The pushed backed desktop would allow room for the chair back. Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with the whole thing. Computer is in the wall which has access on the other side. Again, the whole idea was for me to hide the ugly I-beam while making the space more useable.

Thanks again for the help!








 

Last edited by petethebuilder; 05-18-18 at 10:33 AM.
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