Radius Cabinets Photo Essay

Hanging Radius Cherry Raised Panel Doors
Content: 3 Pictures

Overview | Forming and Bending Section
Fabrication Section | Installation Section

"Perfect Miters----Fast"


Hanging Doors: #1

Picture of the backplane required of an inside radius raised panel door.
Not So Radical As You May Think

Think of a regular door with "parallel" jambs. We all backplane the striker stile 3 degrees, and most of us do the same on the hinge stile to prevent hinge bind. But on concave doors such as these, which describe a quarter circle, the jambs are exactly perpendicular to each other. That means that your striker side must be 45 degrees even before you start backplaning. But that is not really much of a problem anyhow, except maybe on doors with very narrow stiles.

The problem is in fitting and hanging the door. If the top is out on a regular door, you can cheat the top hinge in and the bottom hinge out to compensate. On these doors that technique will drastically increase the vertical reveal going up the striker stile to the top rail, cause the bottom of the door to hit the bottom face frame rail somewhere near the middle and will create a big lopsided smile in the "door to face frame" reveal up top. It looks like the door rails have been re-cut with giant cookie cutters of varying accuracy every time you try an adjustment.

Imagine you are looking at a 4" plumbing coupling standing with an little clearance between two bookshelves. Now tip it slightly forward. That's what adjusting hinges does. Now make that plumbing fitting 32 inches in diameter. Fun, fun, fun.

In addition is the fact that, as the door is closing, it is moving away from the face frame on the striker side. For every sixteenth that the outside edge of the door moves in to close once it clears the outside edge of the face frame, it's increasing its reveal by a bunch more than a 16th. And it looks like even more. Take another look at the picture above, and note the door's position relative to a square line drawn out from the pilaster. That door is hung and closes.

I had hung a bunch of radius interior doors a long time ago, but they were simple since they were convex. As they close, the striker reveal gets smaller. And they weren't a quarter circle either. Who would build doors on wine barrels?

What looks like a router burn on the inside bottom of the cabinet is the shelves, which are taped to the bottom with double sided tape. Took me a while to figure that out.


Hanging the Doors: #2

Picture of hanging cherry radius raised panel door.

Miniscule Striker Clearance

Pictures even if I had a boxful, are not that useful because they are on a plane and don't show curves well. Remember the position of the door in the first picture? This one was taken from in front of the adjacent cabinet well to the left of the pilaster, which the door barely misses. So you can see how the striker reveal increases tremendously with miniscule door movement beyond the face frame.

All right. I know what you're thinking, and you are wrong. A, That's shellac. And B, it's not my thumb anyway.

As you can see, I allowed just enough, possibly 1/32, clearance between the bead and the door edge. And I wound up with the same reveal that shows on the top. How much there is now, I have no idea. But he hasn't called to say he can't shut the doors.

The one good thing is that any swelling and shrinking that does occur, will have only half the effect (if even that, practically speaking) that regular doors have.

Notice how the concave surface accentuates the chatoyance of the panel. Learned that word from Michael Dresdner's book. Haven't had a chance to spout it off yet; well OK , maybe once or twice.



Hanging the Doors: #2

Picture of the backplane clearance on an inside radius raised panel door.

A Little Closer and We'll be Inside

And I was inside there enough already. Notice that liver spot in the forground? Now that was a good party.

I finally got the doors hung with decent reveals all the way around by going very, very slowly with a hand plane. Basically, I planed and sanded until I couldn't hear it hitting the bead when closing and then stopped. I also loosened up the screws holding one of the cabinets together, tweaked it slightly, then put the back on. Fortunately, I remembered to put the shelves in before the back went on because they wouldn't fit in there afterward.

What would I do different next time. If under duress, like the certainty of slow mutilation, I would hang the face frame on the door, and then put both on the carcass. Just trying to carry those doors is a pain, and holding them out of the way to get hinge screws in the stiles was ridiculous. Much easier to move an opening, which is mainly just a hole anyway, around them.

Besides, then I could plane the carcass edges to tweak things if necessary.

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Overview | Fabrication Section

Bending and Clamping Section

Installation Section

"Perfect Miters----Fast"