How to prevent damage to unfinished cabinet doors prior to finishing
All unfinished wood products are completely unprotected from damage caused by warping of the wood and splitting from the end-grain. This warping and splitting is likely to occur with swings in relative humidity or temperature on any unfinished wood products. Here are a few tips on how to minimize or prevent these problems when the wood products cannot be properly finished upon delivery.
As soon as possible after delivery, place your new cabinet doors in a temperature controlled space away from direct sunlight. Make sure that air can circulate freely to all sides of each door.
If the doors are stacked one on top of the other, air will only circulate over the exposed surface of the top door which will allow moisture gain or loss only from that exposed surface. This will cause a moisture mismatch between the face and back of that door and will cause it to warp. If the humidity change is large, end-grain cracking is also likely to occur.
Understanding the nature of wood will help in avoiding and/or correcting problems caused by changes in humidity. For instance, if the doors were stacked and the top door warps, the direction of the warp will indicate whether the door lost, or gained, moisture.
If the top door warped in a concave direction, the exposed surface lost moisture. But, because the air circulated only on one side of the door on top of the stack, the top door warped in a concave direction.
If the warping is minor, it can sometimes be corrected by wiping the concave side of the door panel with a damp sponge, to introduce moisture back into the surface that lost moisture through evaporation.
It's best to avoid stacking the unfinished doors and instead, stand them up and lean them against another surface allowing air to circulate freely around the front and back of each door. This will allow the same level of humidity on both front and back of each door and warping will be prevented.
These precautions will minimize warping problems for a few days but for longer term protection proper sealing and finishing will be necessary.
Some cabinet door finishing tips are available at the CabinetDoors.Com blog.
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We ordered replacement doors for our 60-year-old home and were very pleased with the product. The milling was of the highest quality. The joinery was very well done, and the wood selection was obviously done by a professional who cares what the finished product looks like. It is one thing to assemble a project with technical skill, and another thing entirely to accomplish the assembly with an eye toward bringing the best out of the wood being used. Both aspects were accomplished, and at a very high level! The dimensions were absolutely perfect. Each door was correctly dimensioned to within less than 1/16 of an inch. It was very pleasing to see this attention to detail, especially since I took the time to measure my cabinets twice, making sure I had done my part. I had never worked with white birch before, and when I saw the issues with staining the wood (soft grain with blotchy absorption of the stain) I was a bit worried. I had no problems at all because the wood was of a higher quality white birch that had been properly handled at the mill and sanded to a stain-ready finish. A good sanding sealer was applied, and then the stain. The results were EXCELLENT! All-in-all, we received a great product, great advice and excellent customer service from CabinetDoors.com. We would certainly recommend them to anyone looking for cabinet doors. Nice job, everyone! Michael R.
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