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Old 06-13-2021, 02:41 AM   #1
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Cabinet repair help needed w/ pics

Hey all, while on our last trip, I discovered that one corner of the overhead compartments in the bedroom has a corner where the boards have started separating. I'm guessing it was one too many potholes on an Interstate somewhere.

I'm looking for thoughts/suggestions for the repair.

I initially thought of putting some heavy duty glue in the crack and jacking it back up, but then glue would be the only thing holding it - might be enough or might not. If I decide to put in a screw first from the bottom, it requires removing all of the window valances and blind - not hard but not fun either.

Here's the pics - one is of the cabinet in question and the other is the opposite as it should be. Let me know what you think.
Thanks
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Old 06-13-2021, 03:57 AM   #2
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If you can get to the back of the joint, I would use a metal strap screwing to each piece. The only thing I see is there most likely is not room to work from the back. Or maybe screw the two together using very small screws so not to crack the wood. Either way I would us glue in the seam.

Hopefully someone with great wood working experience will join in!

Good Luck
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Old 06-13-2021, 07:03 AM   #3
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When dealing with wood and trim it is always a question of how much we want to do to get it right. In this case. I suggest going the full route, taking the front panel off the cabinet so allow for the correct way. That means it does require refinishing the cabinet face but it avoids having to do it over!
Sometimes the slow way is the faster way!
I would tease and pry the face off, pull the two joints on that side apart and reglue, using clamps to get the pressure needed for the really good wood glue to work best. Once truly glued with glue that penetrates the wood, it will hold longer than the rest of the wood!
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:11 AM   #4
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Are we looking at a fixed panel or a door?
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:49 AM   #5
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Looking at the mitered joint, I think this will be the cabinet frame, rather than the door and that is part of my thinking on going big as when this joint fails it is my guess that the shelf inside is also beginning to drop, so I would want to do the entire job and get the shelf back in good shape.
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Old 06-13-2021, 01:18 PM   #6
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I agree that if you remove the door, separate the door joints, adding wood glue, and then using bar clamps is the way I would do it...

...but here's another option I never knew about. I was looking for a wrench on Harbor Freight and this strap-corner-clamp showed up in my search for only $7.

So depending on the condition of the entire door, and how much use it gets, this may be a quicker and simpler way to repair the door, since you may not have to take the door off it's hinge, but my guess is that you will to this anyway. TBD

Note: Those felt pads are there to reduce vibration to the door when you shut it. This prolongs the life of the glue-joint. So you might add some of these to all your doors or at least the ones you open most often.
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Old 06-14-2021, 01:41 AM   #7
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Gentlemen, OP here, thanks for your suggestions and my apologies for not being clear with the pics. I've added one more here w/an arrow to show the exact joint. Richard is correct in that it is a trim piece and not part of the door.

While the right way may be to remove all the trim, glue it, screw it, clamp it and reinstall it, it's not likely to happen unless it's my only choice. Woodworking is not one of my fortes, and I try to avoid disasters whenever possible.

I also believe, but can't confirm that the corner has a biscuit in it which could complicate taking it apart. I haven't yet tried to move it (close the gap), nor have I determined whether the shelf may have dropped, but I will check. Thanks for the suggestion.

If you have any further suggestions, let me know, otherwise when I start into it, I'll keep us all posted.
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Old 06-14-2021, 07:57 AM   #8
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I suggest you put some glue in the joint (Titebond is a good choice) and close the gap. The glue should hold. Use a thin stick to ensure it covers both parts of the joint. Any squeeze out can be cleaned up with a damp cloth.

Before gluing use a thin putty knife to scrape out as much of the old glue as possible. Vacuum it out afterward. The putty knife will also tell you if there's a biscuit or other type of spline.

In terms of closing the gap, try tapping it closed with a soft headed mallet or a wood block and a hammer after it's glued. If you're correct about there being a biscuit and it's intact, its friction should hold the joint closed while the glue sets.

Alternatively, you can use a vertical piece of 2" x 4" and a wooden wedge to apply some force, but don't get too aggressive, you only need enough to hold the joint closed. I'd also put a piece of 2" x 4" under the lower end of the 2" x 4" to spread the force so you don't damage your countertop. The countertop might not be very thick so use a piece log enough to span across the short dimension of the counter top so the force is transferred to the edges.

You'll be a few inches away from the joint due to the valence, but it should work. If not, you can cut a vertical board to fit inside the valence, protect the top of the valence and wedge from the bottom, again protecting your counter-top.

If you clamp the joint, you can unclamp it after the glue sets in a couple of hours.

A good glue joint should hold without screws. There's not much force here, just vibration. Hopefully, the biscuit or spline, if there is one picked up some glue in the process for a little added strength. If it does open up, there are options such as screws, pocket screws or dowels, both of which require a jig to be done correctly. All these involve a risk of splitting and shouldn't be attempted if you're a novice woodworker.
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Old 06-20-2021, 08:37 AM   #9
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I can add a little to BobC's good advise.

I would start by removing the fabric window trim. This will allow the needed room to get to the broken joint.

Using a rubber hammer carefully tap the joint closed while also pushing up by hand. If it closed tightly you are close to re-glueing it.

The best and strongest repair would be to add a screw from the bottom up. This take a a little skill, a drill, correct drill bits, flathead screw and a little bar soap and yes some Titebond wood glue. At this point you might want a cabinet maker to fasten the joint because splitting the face frame is very possible if not done correctly.

Holding the joint tightly closed drill the first hole only as deep as the bottom half of the miter. The drill bit must be just a little larger than the screw (thread) diameter. Then the next drill bit must be a little smaller than the threads on the screw. Using the smaller bit drill up as deep as the screw is long. Gently tap the miter back open, clean out and wood chips, glue and screw BY HAND to close. The soap is used to lub the screw threads, just drag the threads across the bar of soap. Clean up and extra glue and let sit overnight.

A lot can go wrong when drilling so if you are not comfortable hire it done. If biscuits were used extra thought should go into the placement of the screw.

If near the Ozarks I am happy to fix it for ya. (free) LOL
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Old 06-21-2021, 01:56 AM   #10
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Conclusion of project w/pics

OP here, thanks for all of the suggestions, and after due consideration, I went with (essentially) BobC's idea. Thanks Bob.

I decided there is a difference in fixing it "right" v. "right now" and in this case, the pieces in question are cabinet trim (only) and not structural in any way. Like the rest of us, I have a list of things to do to the RV and the sooner I can check one off, the better. If this doesn't hold, I will go back, take the window valances off and glue/screw it together. Hopefully that won't be necessary.

In the process of the repair, I noticed that the vertical piece of the trim was "loose" from the cabinet, and figuring that this couldn't possible help the situation, I secured it with a L bracket. Also, I put down a couple pieces of plastic covered place mat to keep from getting glue on the wall and valance - worked like a champ.

I'm happy with the end result and only time and miles will tell if it holds.

Thanks for the help
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Old 06-21-2021, 12:09 PM   #11
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Looks like professional job, well done
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Old 06-23-2021, 04:07 PM   #12
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Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

Great demonstration Sir!
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:09 PM   #13
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Yup must be fairly common had to do the same thing. Good job!
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by be happy View Post
If you can get to the back of the joint, I would use a metal strap screwing to each piece. The only thing I see is there most likely is not room to work from the back. Or maybe screw the two together using very small screws so not to crack the wood. Either way I would us glue in the seam.

Hopefully someone with great wood working experience will join in!

Good Luck
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:35 PM   #15
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We have he same problem, been living with in for several years. I like the OP's angle bracket solution. I will try that.
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Old 06-23-2021, 06:09 PM   #16
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Pretty much how I would have done it, good advice BobC. Dennis
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Old 06-23-2021, 06:13 PM   #17
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Maybe Winnies' aren't as good as they use to be but I love my 2004 Minnie Winni RV. Quality build throughout. Still looks like and drives like brand new. Dennis
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Old 06-23-2021, 07:26 PM   #18
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Nice work! The next time someone comes up with a similar problem, you can be the expert.

Nice idea of gently using the jack.
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Old 06-25-2021, 05:02 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Upinsmoke View Post
OP here, thanks for all of the suggestions, and after due consideration, I went with (essentially) BobC's idea. Thanks Bob.

I decided there is a difference in fixing it "right" v. "right now" and in this case, the pieces in question are cabinet trim (only) and not structural in any way. Like the rest of us, I have a list of things to do to the RV and the sooner I can check one off, the better. If this doesn't hold, I will go back, take the window valances off and glue/screw it together. Hopefully that won't be necessary.

In the process of the repair, I noticed that the vertical piece of the trim was "loose" from the cabinet, and figuring that this couldn't possible help the situation, I secured it with a L bracket. Also, I put down a couple pieces of plastic covered place mat to keep from getting glue on the wall and valance - worked like a champ.

I'm happy with the end result and only time and miles will tell if it holds.

Thanks for the help

In a properly built cabinet those are not called trim but rather Face Frames which are part of the hanging structure of the cabinet to hang the doors or door supports from and provide extra support to the bottom shelf. Having a mitered joint instead of a milled stile and rail joint on the face frame is considered by us cabinet makers as shoddy and prone to failure. Often when a mitered face frame opens like that there is also a failure of the connection between the bottom of the cabinet and the side however in this case since there is no side panel to support the bottom of the cabinet then potentially its where the cabinet bottom is fastened to the side wall of the coach above the valance that has failed or if the perish the thought if they used the valance to help support the bottom of the cabinet the valance has also dropped.

In any event the structure has failed that supports the bottom of the cabinet which the use of a mitered faced frame contributed too.

Note that the spring loaded supports for the flapper doors put a lot of stress on those face frames especially as they rotate and go from pushing down and in on the frames to keep the door raised to pushing down and out on the frames to keep the door closed however when the failure is due to the door support rods the opened joint will be at the top or with the frame pushed a bit inward or outward of its original location.

Fixing this correctly often also involves taking the top of the hollow bottom shelf inside the cabinet off (yes this can be difficult due to the cement coated staples often used to attach the false bottom) to expose the cleat screwed to the wall so it can also be secured in its original location and additional fasteners added along with the original ones tightened. They are commonly built this way, like hollow doors, to keep the weight of the cabinetry especially near the roof line as light as possible.

I'm a cabinet maker (in the factory and now mostly at home), carpenter and some time luthier who has a reputation for building things that don't come apart easy.
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