green wood for drawers

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Blog entry by jwmalone posted 09-08-2016 12:51 AM 1053 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello lady’s and Gentlemen. I posted a question about using wood with a 15% mc to make drawer boxes to see if they would dry to equilibrium without warping. A few people understood the theory and wanted to know the results…. so I am going to start posting pics weekly and adding new boxes of different sawn wood so that we may observe what happens. Now this theory is not of my own making but rather something I read years ago in a very old book. The reason they done this was while waiting on the wood to dry in the tobacco barn down to a level they could use for rails, styles and other pieces that cannot afford unnecessary movement. They would make drawer boxes and panels. The panels they would stack and sticker to dry flat, the drawer boxes being made with dovetails would dry and only shrink in height. With this all drying it was off to other projects. This being before electricity, plenty of work to do. When the wood was all dry and ready to work, Panels we already glued up just needed trimming. Drawer boxes were already made (time saver). Now there was a mention of full drawers being made and dried in the same manner. A full drawer being one with 3 sides and a front like most of you would generally make, but cant remember exactly what was said. Now…... This blog is simply to observe and understand some of the lost techniques that were made obsolete during the industrial revolution and especially after WW2. It is not to prove any contemporary knowledge, technique, practices or wood workers in general wrong (that’s impossible). As I have the utmost respect for all these. Also to see if a dovetail joint will hold. So if you would like to follow the experiment id be delighted. If you would like to post stupid comments to piss me off please don’t, if the experiment is an utter failure and you would like to post “I told you so” be my guest. Now the first pic is quarter sawn oak 15%, I found a couple pieces I didn’t know were in that stack. With qs I don’t really see a problem, it being the most stable of lumbers. Its ALL red oak by the way. the next day or so I will post more made with flat sawn as time to make them permits. So here goes nothing, hold on to ya beers and lets watch this shit. (hopefully this one doesn’t end at the E.R.)

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

8 comments so far

View EarlS's profile


602 posts in 2185 days

#1 posted 09-08-2016 01:07 AM

Interesting concept. The theory seems reasonable. Are you going to try to make one that isn’t glued up and try to take it apart? Also, are you keeping track of the length and width of the box as well as the height? Might be interesting to see if the middle dimension stays the same while the corners might draw in slightly (1/32?)

I’m an engineer so this kind of experimentation is like candy to a baby – draws me in every time. I’ve never really given wood movement much thought but the desk I’m working on will have breadboard ends and I would rather not have it destroy itself because I didn’t do a good job accounting for movement.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View jwmalone's profile


769 posts in 539 days

#2 posted 09-08-2016 01:13 AM

EarlS, I just started This blog and it will be an ongoing experiment. Now that you mention it I will document and add measurements for dimensions and such. As far as you’re desk goes I do not recommend this technique, as its an experiment, id go with the contemporary wisdom. Thanks for the interest. But ive noticed over the years Engineers are suckers for the “hey what if we do this topic ” :) Good idea about the no glue, hell why not ill try any thing once.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5592 posts in 3031 days

#3 posted 09-09-2016 05:44 AM


This should be an interesting experiment…..Some wood movement will happen…we don’t know just how much…

-- My grandpa used to say: "Y'all come back when you can....come after dinner, and leave before supper.."

View jwmalone's profile


769 posts in 539 days

#4 posted 09-09-2016 02:02 PM

Rick, hopefully not enough to blow the smokeys off their foundations…...... we gona find out.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View jimmy J's profile

jimmy J

229 posts in 2216 days

#5 posted 09-09-2016 02:50 PM

Not gluing unrealistic, and makes repeat measurements more error prone.

View jwmalone's profile


769 posts in 539 days

#6 posted 09-09-2016 03:00 PM

Good point Jimmy. My dovetail skills as of yet still need some work.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Grumpymike's profile


2173 posts in 2152 days

#7 posted 09-11-2016 06:25 PM

Interesting concept … I will watch this thread with great interest.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View jwmalone's profile


769 posts in 539 days

#8 posted 09-14-2016 10:50 PM

Well guys no changes in shape or dimensions so far. It was still at 12-13% mc, so I baked it in the oven at 170 degrees for about an hour to speed it up some. Now I’m familiar with case hardening and all that. Now the mc is reading 10% or so. I’ve got some flat sawn oak planed down to 1/2 inch for the real test, as soon as my dovetail saw from wood craft gets here ill make those up for us. I’m using this to practice my dovetail technique also. As a side note tightbond original seems to hold up very well under high temps.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

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