Duflex Cabinet Doors

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by stevemid, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. stevemid
    Joined: Jan 2013
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    stevemid Junior Member

    I am building/fitting out a Spirited Designs 230 power catamaran out of duflex composite panels. Does anyone have suggestions for making cabinet doors out of Duflex?

    1. Using the cutout panel, and mounting the door flush in the cut out, no matter how carefully cut and sanded still looks amateurish.
    2. Using a larger panel part to cover the opening looks better, but still very difficult to get the doors uniformly finished and sanded.
    3. Plastic doors with latches look better but are too expensive and still have "plastic" stamped on them.

    Any techniques/photo stories available?

    Thanks for your help
  2. Tungsten
    Joined: Nov 2011
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    Tungsten Senior Member

    No idea what duflex is but a 5 piece flat panel door is easy to make with a dado blade in a table saw,looks good also.Simple tongue and grove joints glue and clamp.
  3. Charly
    Joined: Dec 2009
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    Location: st simons island ga

    Charly Senior Member

    Hi Steve, why couldn't you run a light piece of trim around the doors edges to hide the seams? Do you have photos? There are a number of different ways to do it.
  4. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I don't know the Duplex boards , but foam core cabinetry , doors, floorboards are common.

    Cored doors would obviously have to be framed.

    If I have time today I will photograph a foam core boat interior detailing.
  5. stevemid
    Joined: Jan 2013
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    stevemid Junior Member

    Duflex is....

    Duflex is a manufactured composite panel consisting of a end grain balsa core covered by double bias fibreglass. These are manufactured in 4X8 sheets in different thicknesses depending on the size of the boat. I am using 10mm (1/2") thickness panels. When you cut out say a cabinet door you have to route out a 1/4" of the core all around and fill it with thickened epoxy which is then sanded smooth.

    The panel has to be painted to finish it and I don't know how you'd put a trim around it cuz you cant sand the trim without scratching the paint.

    Open to all suggestions, please.
  6. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    Make up your surround trim pieces in a U section. You don't have to remove any of the balsa along the edges because the trim pieces will have plenty of surface area and will stay put.
    I would have the legs of the U be about 1/4"and the thickness allowing for a channel (dado) of panel thickness plus at least 1/16" front and back. If the panel is 1/2" the trim pieces will be 3/4". Miter the corners.
    Use epoxy to attach the trim pieces.
    This should hide any ragged edges. Use masking tape to protect painted surfaces and wipe well until no epoxy oozes out. Use a (recommended by panel manufacturer) solvent to clean up.
    It would be a good idea to finish the wood trim afterwords. You'll want to sand the corners a bit. Good quality masking tape will protect the panels and a razor should release the tape after a couple or three coats of your favorite finish. I'd use an oil finish but you want to match the rest of the interior in any case and a UV protective urethane is a very practical choice and cheap too.
  7. stevemid
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    stevemid Junior Member

    Thanks Alan

    Thanks Alan. Well described. This is an excellent suggestion. I've got a couple other areas, around the table edges for example, where I'm going to use a thicker U channel to create a fiddle. I just hadn't thought of it here. Using the same timber, I can make up enough long sections of the U channel to cover all the doors, then paint the doors and trim them. Easy.

  8. stevemid
    Joined: Jan 2013
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    stevemid Junior Member

    Suggestion from my Designer

    Here's the technique offered by the designer of my boat, Craig Schionning of Spirited Designs
    Attached is my preferred way of producing a nice door using the Duflex cut-out. You need a steady hand and new plastic/fine jigsaw blade. To start the cut I have a multi tool (like the renovator tool) which cuts through the line to start it. Because you need a reasonable gap to avoid filling it with paint you can give each edge a light sand with a small sanding board to take any wobbles but if cut carefully it doesn’t need much at all. The system attached is based on cnc cut lockers, your system what you can do is set the router just shy of the bottom laminate skin and then fill trough as indicated. This way you at least have one skin intact to add strength to the edge of the door/cut-out. The router cut/trough doesn’t have to be pretty but as long as it is even each side of the cut-out line and around 20mm wide in total. Another tip is to mark out where your hinges and catch is going to go and backfill all at the same time.

    If you still don’t feel confident cutting yourself then I have seen a piece of 3-4mm ply laminated over the cut-out which overlaps the cut-out. I don’t think this or any other protruding door looks good and worst of all the plastic ones. So I hope you can master the Duflex process because they look really neat!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  9. Alan8100
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    Alan8100 New Member

    I'm also looking forward the ideas in this regard.Assemble it well enough so that it can withstand the waves it may experience.I read out interesting ideas.This information will be valuable for me.Thanks everyone...
  10. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Using the cut-out panel, if done properly, is nothing but amateurish. It will actually have a very professional look, with the grain matching. I have built a few boat interiors like that.
  11. stevemid
    Joined: Jan 2013
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    stevemid Junior Member

    Here is my galley cabinet which I removed to the shop floor so that it could be faired and the door openings cut out. Prior to assembly, I set the router just shy of the bottom laminate skin and routed out a 20mm (3/4") trough in the face for the doors and hinges. This was then filled with a medium density epoxy filler. (Since this is a balsa cored composite panel, all screws need to bury themselves in something more substantial (and water proof) than the balsa core.) Cutting the door out of the centre of the epoxy filler yields a fine and durable door edge.

    I'm also building in a top loading fridge which you can just see on the top right hand side of the galley cabinet. This is the least noticeable location and the site of my first cutout today. I wasn't totally happy with the result. The straight lines were OK but cutting TO the outside of the line on the corners means that any jag to the outside creates an oversized radius on the corner which is very hard to correct. Any suggestions?

    Attached Files:

    1 person likes this.
  12. groper
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    groper Senior Member

    Its a bit more time consuming to set it up, but making 2 solid edges of ~10mm width instead of a single 20mm filled area, leaving a 2mm balsa core remaining for the jigsaw blade to cut through. The blade will be "guided" between the 2 solid filled areas keeping the cut straighter.

    More details here;
  13. stevemid
    Joined: Jan 2013
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    stevemid Junior Member

    Thanks Groper

    Really good idea there. Also I noted use of the scroll saw blade. I'd been advised to use an acrylic blade which produces a smooth cut but is big, thick and doesn't go around corners very well.

    Excellent blog BTW.

  14. Steve W
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Steve W Senior Member

    Whenever i use cutouts, say, in cabin sole or berth top liftouts i use a battery powered circular saw against a straightedge clamped onto the panel to make the straight cuts and a jigsaw for the radiused corners, the battery circular saws have a very thin kerf blade of about the same thickness as the jigsaw blade so if you are very careful and use a fairly thick straightedge you can plunge the circular saw in. with a little care and skill you can do a perfect job with a nice fit, this is about the only use i have found for battery circular saw.


  15. stevemid
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    stevemid Junior Member

    Battery circular saw

    Thanks Steve, Im the same with battery saws. Duluth, eh? I lived in the twin cities before moving permanently to Sydney. I found a template works well for getting a consistent size door, with consistent radias corners, especially with several doors grouped together; even small differences stand out. A template in a temperate climate is even better. Feb in Dulute.....Brrrr..
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