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It is warped like the picture shows, basically one of the corners moved out of the plane of the door and moved everything with it :-)

enter image description here

I am not sure if this is because the wood dried out or because I did something wrong. I carefully measured everything when I built it ..

  • Did you make this out of dimensional lumber (2x4s) or furniture grade lumber? Wood warps like this for a variety of reasons, including changing moisture content and internal stresses from cutting the boards. – Katie Kilian Jan 1 '17 at 17:43
  • It was made of poplar boards bought from Home Depot homedepot.ca/en/home/… – MiniMe Jan 1 '17 at 17:47
  • It's hard to tell from your picture, but I suspect design problems weren't the biggest factor here. It might help to post a picture of the actual project if you can get one. Then we could see if there are any obvious design problems. – Katie Kilian Jan 1 '17 at 17:59
  • I made three pairs of these, the design is simple, I just used pocket holes to join the wood pieces. Out of 6 doors is total just 2 are warped... – MiniMe Jan 1 '17 at 18:02
  • the holes were drilled int he traversal pieces of wood and these pieces were placed between the two long vertical boards – MiniMe Jan 1 '17 at 18:07
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I would guess that there are two possible sources for the problem.

First, your long board may be warping. This will be the result of grain direction or stress due to humidity/moisture changes. Search this site for other Questions dealing with warping to get more insight into how warping occurs.

Second, your screwed connection may be putting stress on the corner resulting in the lifting. Try disassembling the piece and see if the boards lay flat. If so, it may be that you have over tightened the connection and created stress.

One thing that might help is to make certain that the boards are laying flat on the work table during assembly.

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  • When I put the screws in I clamped the wood to the table, otherwise the boards would not sit square – MiniMe Jan 1 '17 at 18:26
  • how about clamping the door to a table with a piece of wood properly sized under the point where the warping begins and leaving the door clamped there for a while – MiniMe Jan 1 '17 at 19:03
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    @MiniMe I don't think that will correct the problem. The wood has is stressed into its current shape and will spring back to it when the clamps are released. – Ashlar Jan 1 '17 at 19:07
  • Then I need to see what will be the effect of removing the screws on the tightly glued rice paper (got tight after spaying it with water) I will try to release the screws a little bit to see if that attenuates the warping – MiniMe Jan 1 '17 at 19:13
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    @MiniMe If you had to clamp the board to the table before assembly to get it flat / square, it's not going to stay flat with only a couple pocket screws holding it down. Poplar boards from the big box stores are not all that great (speaking from experience here!), especially if you didn't take time to find the best boards they had available (I spent close to an hour picking out a ~dozen boards for a project a few months ago, and still wound up with some issues due to warping!). Might be best to just go buy another board for those 2 problem doors. – mmathis Jan 3 '17 at 22:31
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There's a good chance this is unfixable I'm afraid*.

The likely causes are the wood itself (HD wood being generally of mediocre or poor quality, although standards apparently vary widely across the country), a minor discrepancy in the corner joint or in the way the pocket screws were drilled for or driven home.

In the first case there's no way to fix it reliably, not in a completed frame. You can try bending the piece back to flat on the workbench using clamp pressure but that nearly never works, and it stresses glue joints so will weaken them (not just the joint at the high corner but possibly all through the structure) which is bad news for long-term stability.

In the second and third cases unless you break the joint apart and try to fix the direct cause the joint as it exists will do its best to keep the shape as it is.


*It's usually best when something like this occurs to take the thing apart and earmark the wood for future projects. And once you have it apart if the wood itself was the cause you'll see it immediately, as one or more of the boards (my money is on the stile) won't be sitting flat like it did prior to assembly.

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