Slam-a-ba-jamma!

Yea baby, rock and roll!

Well, I get to see the sun come up and go down at the shop, well, not really, hasn’t been a bad build at all, a lot of re-sawing and gluing but coming along nicely. Today, face frames and doors, top is made, feet are made and all the material is processed. I’ve got to tell ya though, I’m cutting it super close on material. I’ll make it, but the scrap you could carry out in your pocket..there’s not much.

Monday night I hit a major snag, seems my material for the face frames and doors had bowed across the length, to the tune of about 3/8″. Had a nice arch to it, well, that wasn’t going to work and no other material to fall back on….hm….so I went into “creative mode”, a place where desperation and determination come together. Now I should have predicted the wood bowing since it was 1/4 sawn and then re-sawn. That little bit of moisture imbalance from re-sawing 8/4 to 4/4 is enough to cause some movement….and it did, but now how do I fix it?

Well, remember the spline in the MDF doors? it works here as well. I have actually used this technique to fix bowed doors before. Here is basically what I did.


I ran a saw kerf as deep as I could without cutting it in half because I didn’t want it to show on the outside and since these will be raised panels and glass panes, it won’t be seen on the inside, only possibly visible on the tops of the door sides. I then cut some splines to fit the kerf perfectly. Lightly dampened them, coated both sides with some polyurethane glue and put them in the kerfs. Placed the “up” side up and clamped them to the bench using wax paper in between. I put a 1/4″ shim under the ends so as to “overbend” a little expecting some spring back, hoped for the best and went home.


Next morning, I pulled them out of clamps, I should have taken photos but was anxious to see if all was going to be okay or if I was going to have to “punt” again. All was well, a little minor bow was still there, but very minor. A light pass over the jointer at the lowest setting and they trued up. Then I surfaced them to final thickness and you can see the result.

I was at 13/16″ when I splined them so I had a little to work with. I put the spline dead center to be sure it would be covered by the grooves when I do the doors. Had this not worked, plan “B” would have been to re-saw the pieces in half then add a 3rd piece to the center, just like you would do a laminate bend except straight. Been there and done that as well.

Common sense says get more wood and get on with it, but sometimes, to protect the look or design, you just don’t have the luxury and being creative is a necessity.

If you have made doors, then you know how easily they can distort. Fit perfectly today and in a couple of days —- OOPS!

I have had this happen and I simply do the kerf thing, usually on the middle rails – over bend it a little and when the glue dries, an edge touch up and we’re good to go. I also have never seen a door return to doing this. Once straight, they stay, that glue line is strong and as well, the cut has removed the stress. Hope you never need this, but if you do, well, now ya know.

Okay folks, I will be out of the shop tomorrow and Friday so we will chat again on Saturday.

Later ya’ll!

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9 Responses to Slam-a-ba-jamma!

  1. Interesting…is this RTA (ready to assemble) furniture using, nuts and bolts?

    -Ace-

  2. Sherri says:

    Ace, this is for the photo shoot next week and it has to be unassembled and then re-built. He has to get the crown, moldings, etc. fit so that he can build quickly during the photo shoot. Not RTA, or maybe, at this point it is!

  3. Wayne Raley says:

    Just curious…..how do you run a saw kerf down the edge of a bowed board??

  4. Ace, its actually a fender washer and a washer headed screw for a temporary stick together, later it will get the trim head screws and square pegs

    Wayne, actually its not as hard as it would seem, remove any splitter , then running with the convex ( high side), against the fence, it will track the bow pretty well, at least well enough to get the spline in it.

  5. Terry Hennessy says:

    So you made a single saw kerf, about 1/8″ wide, and made your spline out of the same wood as the frame pieces?

    Is the grain running in the same direction as the bowed pieces?

  6. Ben Birdsill says:

    This spline thing has to be one of the best secrets you’ve shared. I’ve used it a couple of times since you told me on the forum how to use it to straighten some tall glass doors I was making last fall. It works great! It also has taken some of the stress out of watching my wood move and bow as I rip it.

  7. terry..you got it..grain same direction , its in the door and drawer dvd, it will save your bacon

  8. Save my bacon will ya 🙂 …I don’t see the DVD listed on your website… am I just not looking in the correct place?

    -Ace-

  9. Ace, you looking for the Doors & Drawers DVD? Hasn’t been released on the web site yet. The release special to the subscribers ended last Tuesday and there was a huge response so we ordered the media and it arrived Monday and Tuesday, Crystal and I are working like mad women to get it produced and shipped. After that, we’ll put it in the store, but the subscribers come first and we’re gettin’ them taken care of. Hope that answers for ya. Might be a week or so before it’s available in the store. Sherri

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