Author Topic: Making curved doors  (Read 2479 times)

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Offline jmdeacon

  • Posts: 13
Making curved doors
« on: May 30, 2018, 09:30 PM »
I am planning to build a corner piece for my entry way.  I would like to make a curved door with rails, stiles, panel.  I have not decided on which type of hardwood yet.  I've been doing some googling.  I found the following video showing how to use bendable plywood.

I then found another video which implied that bending plywood is not reliable and will warp, although it is essentially an advertisement for a door maker.

I did find some information about coping pieces together, although I'm not sure I have quite a handle yet on how I would use my router to smooth out the concave and convex sides, but with enough youtubing, I can probably figure out how to make the jigs

Any comments about how best to make these doors for a Hobbyist?  Bent plywood or coped solid hardwood?
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Offline Tim Raleigh

  • Posts: 3559
    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: Making curved doors
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2018, 10:07 AM »
Bendy plywood is a great way to make the panels unless you want to make a raised panel. The most reliable way to get a good smooth curve is to make a positive and negative form and use straight or pipe clamps to apply pressure over the entire surface of the panel. You can get away with one form and strap clamps but you do risk bubbles in between the areas where you don't have clamps.
You will need to create curved rails from solid stock which means either access to a band saw for cutting solid stock into strips to bend or steam bending.
Curved work is very challenging for a shop with limited tools but it can be done.

Offline Rob-GB

  • Posts: 1089
Re: Making curved doors
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2018, 03:07 AM »
I went the coopered way for this but have made a room door for an en-suite bathroom by making a curved framework then skinned it with 6mm ply.

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Making curved doors
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2018, 07:26 AM »
I have used bending plywood before with success.  If you go that route check on the different grades available.

I watched the two videos posted above.  Something bothered me about the second video when the plywood was unscrewed and then it popped up.  I guess the cabinet shop perhaps forgot some glue (see screenshot).


Offline Jesse Cloud

  • Posts: 1734
  • Festooling at the end of a dirt road in New Mexico
Re: Making curved doors
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2018, 10:10 AM »
I have made them both by gluing up strips on a form and by coopering.  No experience with bendy ply.  I suspect you would need to apply a nice veneer on top of the ply anyhow, so not sure of the value in the method.

A few notes:

Coopering is the most predictable method.  Its what Krenov used.  Heart of the matter is to cut edges into proper angle.  Surface must be well milled, any defect will show embarassingly.  Best way to get the angle with a quality edge is to adjust the fence on your jointer to the proper angle and joint the angle into the board.  Be sure to keep your pieces in the original sequence for the best appearance.

Laminations produce good results, too.  If you have a veneering pump and bag, this is definitely the way to go.
One form or two is debatable.  Two perfect forms are great, but hard to get perfect.  Remember the two radii will be different.  A loose fit between the two forms is guaranteed to produce bubbles.

I recall a nifty article in Fine Woodworking a few years back by Michael Fortune on making a curved cabinet.  Probably on Utube somewhere.

Good luck and post some pics!!

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 2280
Re: Making curved doors
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2018, 11:22 AM »
Look up Woodworker Jeff Miller, who's located here in Chicago. he does mild to wild lamination work all the time. I've taken a couple of classes with him. He uses Resin Glue, with a Dust mask to prevent any of the dry powder getting into his lungs while he's mixing up the glue since it's SO reactive to moisture[ and lungs have moisture in them..]
 I think he has given up on other glues since he's encountered cold creep from them or shifting.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 1270
Re: Making curved doors
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2018, 04:19 PM »
I suspect you would need to apply a nice veneer on top of the ply anyhow, so not sure of the value in the method.
More likely you would simply face the A side outwards and be done with it.