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Old 01-01-2013, 05:45 PM   #1
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Repair Raised Panel Cabinet Doors

Our 86 Airstream has the beautiful hickory cabinetry. The cabinet doors have "raised panels" in them. It appears Airstream devised a plastic extrustion that wedges the raised panel tight to the frame. Maybe they used an adhesive also.

Well, after 25 years and I don't know how many miles, the plastic details are hard and brittle. The panels are falling out of their frames. See my pictures below.

I talked to our local cabinet maker and he had no idea what the plastic wedge was or where to get more material like that. He did not have any ideas to attach the panel to the frame. I have repaired some of them with epoxy, but it doesn't seem like the best solution.

What is the best repair method for these raised panel cabinet doors?

David


1. Front of cabinet door 2. Back of cabinet door showing the missing plastic "wedge" that holds the center panel tight in place.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:32 PM   #2
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Very strange- Usually raised panel doors have grooves in the rails and stiles that completely capture the outside edges of the panel. And they are usually made completely differently, without mitered joints...No wonder your local cabinetmaker was scratching his head. They also don't look like any hickory I've ever seen, maybe it's the stain or the lighting in your fotos.
At any rate- if you're intent on using these doors rather than having your cabinet maker do up some new ones for you, you could try cutting some metal "shims" that fit in whatever slot the plastic stuff fits in, and then fasten them to the panel with very small screws. 4 of them should be enough. Center the panel in the frame before you put in the screws. There's probably other ways to keep your panels in there, like with small cleats across the back, or possibly with some kind of sealant/caulk.. Use your imagination, try stuff untill something works. Good luck.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:43 PM   #3
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They appear to be reversible panels. Take out the plastic holders, flip the panel, reinstall the plastic holders. Raised panel vs flat panel. Change the look of the cabinets with out spending any money.Now to address your problem, I would check with airstream or maybe andy at inlandRV to see if new plastic holders are available.
Or
Window glazing push points followed by a tiny bead of removable caulk.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:52 PM   #4
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Yep, gotta agree with tphan, that's some strange construction there. Gonna have to be creative to fix 'em.

They look like oak. Maybe investigate having some new ones made. They are not difficult for the folks in the trade, shouldn't be too expensive.

Good luck.

John
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:09 AM   #5
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Thanks folks for taking a look at this cabinet door dilema for me. I understood Airstream used hickory for its high end cabinets back in 86. The cabinets are made of a hard wood.

I can imagine there are other Airstreamers out there that have solved the problem of raised panels falling apart.

David
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiger View Post
They appear to be reversible panels. Take out the plastic holders, flip the panel, reinstall the plastic holders. Raised panel vs flat panel. Change the look of the cabinets with out spending any money.Now to address your problem, I would check with airstream or maybe andy at inlandRV to see if new plastic holders are available.
Or
Window glazing push points followed by a tiny bead of removable caulk.
I think you are right - the panels are reversible. I've seen a few later ones where you could reverse panels between "mirror" and "woodgrain". If you're on the east coast, Out of Doors Mart might also be a good place to source the plastic shims.

Paula
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:04 AM   #7
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Photo of Plastic Extrusion for Raised Panel Cabinet Doors

Here are photos of the plastic extrusion Airstream used to hold the raised panel centers in the cabinet door frames. I don't know the material, but now it is brittle. I can break it like a piece of un-cooked pasta.

I've got to figure out some way to wedge the raised panel in the door frame and then retain it.

David
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:56 AM   #8
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Who Else Has Cabinet Doors Like These?

I agree that these cabinet doors are made silly. The mitered frames have a 3/16 by 3/8 deep groove milled in them all the way around. And the raised panels have a flat "tongue" all the way around them. It appears the raised panel was suppose to be captured by the frame. But the raised panel tongue is way too short as you can see from the photos above.

I can't imagine why Airstream would have designed fancy cabinet doors that rely on a plastic keeper to hold them together. It would not be practical to "reverse" the panels. The plastic shim is glued to them.

I wonder if the Airstream supplier made a mistake on a bunch of raised panel segments by cutting them too small, and then they devised this plastic "filler" to make the parts useable.

Look at the photos above. Does anyone else have cabinet doors like mine?

David
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:26 AM   #9
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Let me try to explain this another way so you can put your mind at ease, then move on to repairing them.
They are reversible. I have seen this design a few times before in home use. The European have been using them for years. I believe since the 80's.
They have found it less expensive to mass produce that style. If the customer wants raised they install them with the raised out. If they want flat.....

If your cabinet doors are original, I would assume Airstream installed some raised in some campers and flat in some. They may have decided to put a beed of glue in because of the bouncing down the road.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:40 AM   #10
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They look like oak to me. The easiest least expensive and least time consuming would be to have new doors made. Approximately 35.oo per sq foot. I've owned and operated an Architectural Millwork firm for 35 yrs and have never seen construction like this. But we only work in 8 states or so.
Paul
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:49 AM   #11
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What about using glass retainer clips? I like the metal ones... Like this

Rockler - Glass Retainer Clips For Cabinet Doors
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:19 PM   #12
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Repair Raised Panel Cabinet Doors

The kitchen cabinets in my home (completed December 23, 1973) have identical construction . . . the panels can reversed to change from arched raised panels to flat panels. My mother liked the raised panels so they have never been reversed. I found a label with the following mark: NKCA Kitchens. I don't know whether this would be of any help in finding replacement splines . . . . the cabinets were sourced from our local Associated Lumber Company.

Good luck with your search!

Kevin
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:27 PM   #13
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What about glueing tightly fitting rope/cord into the grooves?

Bob
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:37 PM   #14
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Rockler Glass Retainer Clips

Shelly,

Great idea! Rockler is 10 miles from here. I have such clips on the china cabinet in the dining room. I should have thouight of that as a retaining method. I'm going to order some and see if they will work.

And it is comforting to know there was actually a reversible panel cabinet construction method. But the Airstream plastic wedges were glued down, so I don't think they had reversing in mind.

Does anyone else have a mid 80s Classic Airstream with this type of cabinet door construction? Misery loves company!

David
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