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Door gap for painted kitchen cabinets?

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Door gap for painted kitchen cabinets?

Postby Chems » 17 Dec 2016, 17:36

I'm just in the process of trimming doors for face frames units. I was wondering what the consensus was on how much of a gap to leave around the door. The units will be sprayed with morells primer and colour coat. I did make up some 1.5mm spacers to put all around the door but though it looked to big. I settled on 1mm but the door is already catching on the frame without any paint. Doors are made from beech so expecting them to be stable.

TIA for your thoughts.
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Re: Door gap for painted kitchen cabinets?

Postby Mike G » 17 Dec 2016, 19:45

Yeah this drives me nuts Chems. It's so important. I did 2mm on my kitchen, (hand-painted, 3 coats Bedec Multi-Surface Paint) and where it slipped to 2.5mm, it looks too big. Where it might have varied under that a tad, it needed trimming and repainting to keep the sight lines. I don't think that you'll make it work with 1.5mm. Seriously, it's such an important detail that I woke up in the night worrying about it when I was building my kitchen.
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Re: Door gap for painted kitchen cabinets?

Postby Chems » 17 Dec 2016, 21:10

So 2mm all around.

Here is the first unit with door fitted with a 1mm gap.

Image
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Re: Door gap for painted kitchen cabinets?

Postby RogerS » 17 Dec 2016, 23:03

I think that 1mm is too tight for "proper" wood. Man-made stuff it's fine.
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Re: Door gap for painted kitchen cabinets?

Postby Mike G » 18 Dec 2016, 08:29

It's not what the unpainted door-and-frame look like. The problem is with the build-up of paint. How thick is that going to be? Until that is mocked up you're whistling in the dark. My 3 layers of brushed on paint (on both the door and the frame) are probably a very different thickness to a primer & topcoat sprayed on as you propose. I presumed you were asking about the pre-paint gap. Essentially, you've got to decide on your preferred gap, then work out the thickness of 4 coats of paint and add that to the gap. I had to allow for 6 coats of quite a thick paint. If you start with a 1mm gap and then add 2 coats to the frame, and 2 coats to the door, I'm certain you'll get binding somewhere.

As a matter of interest, how are you skimming off the last fraction to get to the finished size?
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Re: Door gap for painted kitchen cabinets?

Postby meccarroll » 18 Dec 2016, 10:07

Hi Chems,

Chems, one of the first things you could to try to do before deciding on your door gap is have the wood at the correct moisture content for the environment it will finally reside in?

Have you taken any measures to control your workshop environment?

First thing you said when you asked the question was, "you fit your test door with a 1mm gap and now it's catching without any paint".

What is that telling you :?:

The answer is the wood has swollen :(

Why has this happened, well it's taken in moisture from environmental changes and swollen to fill the original 1mm gap.

You first need to try to stabilise the door and frame. If you have no heating in your workshop and it's open to environmental changes (draughty with maybe open doors/windows) then you need to take some steps to cure this. You need to control your workshop environment to some extent to stand a chance of maintaining the correct gap in your door.

Some people take a sample moisture reading from a piece of wood in the location where the final piece will reside using a moisture meter, in your case a test reading from a piece of wood in the kitchen. They then use this reading to condition the wood they are working on to the same moisture content as the final environment (kitchen in your case). If you can control this process then there is far less chance of end product movement when it is installed in it's final location.

Here is a web link to a description of moisture meters:

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/ameri ... ure-meters


So my advice would be to try to control your workshop environment to bring some control over the moisture content of the wood you are working on and condition the wood to the correct moisture content for the final environment, then take it from there.

Hope this makes some sense.

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Re: Door gap for painted kitchen cabinets?

Postby Harv-53 » 18 Dec 2016, 12:37

Many years ago I knew an old carpenter who used 2p coins as spacers, he used to Say I'm leaving 2peneth for the painter.
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Re: Door gap for painted kitchen cabinets?

Postby chataigner » 21 Dec 2016, 08:14

Make the gap a tad on the generous side and add extra coats of paint if needed to close it up ?

More seriously, your design has quite a wide stile and so a good part of the door width is subject to dimension changes with humidity - doors with narrow stiles are much more stable. Need to know the humidity of the kitchen relative to that of the workshop as has been said. Also dont forget to chamfer back the inside edge which is effectively on the diagonal when the door is open by just its own thickness.
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