Stuck Panels On Doors Cracking


From original questioner:

10 years ago, when I was first starting out, I built 2 armoire doors. They're Poplar, about 6'H x 20"W x 1" thick with 3 raised panels. They're painted white.

I was probably too generous with the glue, and a couple of the panels are not floating as they should, and therefore they crack due to seasonal changes. I've "fixed" them a few times, including trying to break the panels free, filled the cracks and resprayed the doors.

I suppose I could build new ones, but they're otherwise nice doors with arched tops. (And besides, I'm cheap.) Anyone have any suggestions for how to break the panels loose without trashing the doors? Remember, they're paint grade, so I can patch/fill/repaint to cover up any sins committed in the act of fixing them.


From contributor Ro

Rout the panel free from the back, knock the panel out and stop the panel back in, without glue this time.

From contributor Le

Knock the panel with a hammer going with the grain. It should be able to break the glue free unless you used an epoxy which could be very hard to dislodge. If it was yellow glue then you should be able to knock them free.

From contributor Je

The glue is likely just in the corners. Remove a small amount of the back of the stick cut to reveal the panel corner and break it loose.

From contributor Pa

Thanks for the replies, guys.
I'm thinking about plunging into the corner (from the back, of course) with a Multimaster and then bondo it up and repaint.

From contributor da

Don't do it!! Just make new doors. If there is one thing I have learned in 40 years of woodworking, it is to not try to save a penny. Know when to punt.

From contributor Ji

If they are your doors, sounds like they are, go ahead and experiment on them. I would try Leo's suggestion first. If that doesn't work, go in for surgery.

From contributor Ji

Whether these are yours or for a customer just replace them. Continuously fixing and repairing something that is failing is a waste of time and materials. Poplar is an inexpensive wood and two doors even in this size would the same time to build than to try to route the panels out and replace them.

From contributor Ji

Same time to build is extremely doubtful. Did you read the OP? The doors are arch tops with raised panels.

From contributor Le

And then finishing on top of that. Probably 4-5 hours of time vs 10-15 minutes for knocking it around.

From contributor Do

Nobody mentioned but ,how much "play " did you allow the panel ? If there is no Play then knocking it around is futile , but if you allowed sufficient play then definetly try jarring it loose . Should just be in corners where glue gushed out.

From contributor Pa

Good thought, Doni. I don't recall how much float I gave the panels, but since I was just starting out, I was going pretty much by the book.

I think if I didn't provide enough float, the expansion of the solid panels would crack the door frame, and that hasn't happened. I'll be attempting my fix next week, but it may be hard to tell if it works or not. May have to wait until the next seasonal cycle to see. Stay tuned!