Making Warped Doors (on Purpose)

Epoxy and a vacuum bag does the trick. May 10, 2005

I have a piece of furniture coming up that has a lot of compound bends and radiuses in it. There is one pair of doors that need to be placed on the bottom section, that would require two doors to have a warp in them. In other words, only one corner (in the bottom, middle of the pair) needs to be bent inwards by about two inches. I've accidentally made a few doors in my time with a warp in them, but never on purpose. Is there a way to make these doors the first time around, or do I have to do trial and error until I get it right? One pair will be poplar (painted), and the other will be an African hardwood, species not yet determined by the homeowner.

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor K:
I have done a few things like this before. I usually make the carcass first, then use it as a form to vacuum bag the panel to, then make the frame parts to fit the panel. I only use epoxy for my adhesive when vacuum bagging. It acts as a lubricant when making the bend, and it doesn't add any moisture, which causes the veneers to swell, which leads to cracks when they contract later, and you have plenty of open time to work with.

Just roll on the epoxy on whatever ply/substrate will make and hold the bend, then use some clamps and caul to hold it to the face of the carcass under vacuum until the epoxy cures, then trim it to size, and use it to scribe the curvature to the rail parts.

Cut the sticker shape next, and with the hinge stile fitted, slide the rail up to find the slant of the twist, and shave it with a block plane before cutting the cope, then do the same on the swing side.

I was able to get a hollow or semispherical shape with about 1.5" of twist in a small pair of doors on a desk that I made for Senator Hillary Clinton.