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View Purrmaster's profile

Wood movement problems

by Purrmaster
posted 11-28-2012 08:03 AM

21 replies so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3078 days

#1 posted 11-28-2012 08:12 AM

How are you storing the wood? On edge? Or laying it face down on a surface?

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2062 days

#2 posted 11-28-2012 09:13 AM

I’m storing it standing up. Same as I see it at the woodworking stores.

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3310 days

#3 posted 11-28-2012 09:26 AM

nakashima made himself a kind of coat rack
with longer arms sticking out
and stored the wood on edge standing up
that way both sides weathered and dried equally
and as on edge
they didn’t relax
and bow back to the wall
stacking then eother flat or as you have them
(if there are more than one)
only exposes the outer face
and edges
the rest talk to each other
and share moisture
so don’t dry the same

might give it a try
see how it goes

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3078 days

#4 posted 11-28-2012 09:34 AM

As David already eloquently pointed out, your board is cupping because of unequal moisture disipation in the wood. Store the wood opposite of how you got the cup in the first place. It should start moving in the opposite direction. When you store your wood in the future, try to position your wood so it receives even air flow. The stresses won’t release in a one sided manner that way. If you plane any wood, plane both sides. If you give both faces even treatment, you should encounter less cupping issues.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2921 days

#5 posted 11-28-2012 10:15 AM

When I bring wood into my basement shop, which is dry during the winter and somewhat humid in the summer (dehumidifiers in use), I sticker them. I have stickers of equal size and some red oak chunks for the top board. Have yet to have a problem with warpage. The wood stays like that until I am ready to use it. That might be a good thing for you to do to give the wood a chance to stabilize straight.

Good Luck.

-- Mike

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2920 days

#6 posted 11-28-2012 12:17 PM

Also, have you looked into purchasing hardwood from other locations? When I first started buying wood, I purchased lumber from Rockler. Then when I decided to check prices at some hardwood dealers in the area, I realized that I was paying close to double the price of wood. It’s not too bad if you need one piece of wood and it’s convenient, but if you’re buying a lot of wood, I would avoid Rockler. Good luck on your work!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2062 days

#7 posted 11-29-2012 05:30 AM

I can’t find many lumber yards in my area (Portland Metro area of Oregon) that sell hardwoods. I’ve noticed the woodworking stores are rather spendy.

As for building a coat rack… I’m not entirely sure what you’re talking about.

View DMC1903's profile


285 posts in 2296 days

#8 posted 11-29-2012 05:36 AM

Here is a link to a Hardwood supplier in PDX, a buddy of mine gets his Hardwood there.

Hope is helps, if not do a google search for suppliers.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3078 days

#9 posted 11-29-2012 05:41 AM

Purrmaster patron (David), is talking about something that insures equal air movement around your boards when you store them before use. Kind of looks like a coat rack but has arms to hold boards out at lenth when stood up vertically. When you store boards in your work area, the cupping will reduce if you don’t stack them in a way in which air can’t get to both faces equally.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2062 days

#10 posted 11-29-2012 09:18 AM

Does anyone have any pictures of this device? I could try to build one.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3078 days

#11 posted 11-29-2012 09:40 AM

I tried looking up pics of George Nakashima’s shop and do not see the device mentioned. Here is a picture of a wood rack, complete with stickers, that should give you an idea on how wood is stacked to allow air movement on both sides.

Have you tried the suggestion of switching sides for drying to even back out the cup?

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2062 days

#12 posted 11-29-2012 12:01 PM

Thank you. Yes, I did change the board around. The cup is still in the same place and, I think, getting worse. It’s happened to the hickory board too.

I eventually ended up jointing the cupped ash board. And what I ended up with was exactly what I was afraid of: A very thin board that still wasn’t perfectly straight. I had to remove so much material to get past the cupping that the board was basically toast. A few board feet of ash down the drain.

This wood movement has been a huge problem for me. It wasn’t as bad during the summer, though it did happen. But it’s cold now and the humidity is always high.

I’ll see if I have enough scrap wood to make a sticker pile. And if I have enough floor space for a sticker pile.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18686 posts in 2536 days

#13 posted 11-29-2012 12:21 PM

I’d lay the cupped board on the dirt floor, with the cup down. The moister from the floor may help bring it back.

I’d also try to store the lumber as far from the floor as you can. If you plan to do a stack like David suggest, add a layer of plastic under, but not directly under the stack.

The problem goes beyond storing your lumber. Buy an inexpensive moister meter (lowes has them for about $30) and see what the content of the board is to start with, and what your shop is. It sounds like the moisture content in your shop is high, but you should know that for sure.

My shop has a concrete floor and a tin roof. If I store lumber on the first floor the average content is 11-12%. If I move it to the attic it drops to about 9%. Do some testing like that. See were the best spot in your shop is (if there is one)

The point is, you’ll need to plan for drastic wood movement after you’ve built your project and move it to your house (or anybodies house). Its one thing to have a piece of lumber ruined by movement, its another to have a project ruined by it.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View JAAune's profile


1788 posts in 2286 days

#14 posted 11-30-2012 04:15 AM

Keeping newly purchased wood from moving after bringing it to the shop will never be 100% successful. For this reason, I prefer to buy either in the rough or partially milled to “hit or miss” thickness. Basically, since the wood seldom stay flat, I’d rather do my own flattening right before starting the project.

If possible, buy wood from a dedicated supplier of furniture grade hardwoods. That will solve half your problems and save some money too.

-- See my work at and

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3277 days

#15 posted 11-30-2012 04:50 AM

I have a 12×20 non-insulated shed with a metal roof especially for storing my lumber. A good while back I bought a bunch of sinker cypress that was freshly milled after being underwater in the swamp for about 150 years. It had a moisture content of about 60%. I stickered it and layed it flat with a dehimidifier running. It now…about 8 months later has a moisture content around 6 to 7% and is flat and straight. A couple of the shorter boards that I stored vertically had warping.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5624 posts in 2782 days

#16 posted 11-30-2012 04:54 AM

Try buying quartersawn lumber. It just wants to stay flat and straight. It really makes a difference.
Also, I buy only rough lumber so I can mill it up for each project. That way I always have straight, square stock for my projects.
The risk with buying S3S or S4S lumber is that it may warp before you can use it. Buying thin stock is even worse. I like 5/4 best, but I buy a lot of 4/4 too.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View PRGDesigns's profile


237 posts in 2282 days

#17 posted 11-30-2012 05:02 AM

Just a couple of observations I did not see addressed in finding the root cause of the problem. The air in Rocklers is controlled by an HVAC system, so the humidity and temperature stay well within a certain range. As soon as it leaves the store, especially in this LJ’s geography, all of that stabilized temperature / humidity changes drastically, which I am fairly certain why he is having these issues. If he was able to find a hardwood lumber dealer that has a warehouse type storage area (uncontrolled and/or minimal heating/cooling) for their lumber, he can eliminate some of the issues he is having now with the Rockler lumber. I also agree with JAAune to buy 5/4 rough or hit and miss milled lumber to allow for milling just prior to usage. A planer is very affordable when you are jointing Rockler wood down to toothpicks. I have purchased and successfully stored thousands of bd ft of various species of hardwood lumber in several parts of the country and I have always stored it laying flat well off of the floor on shelving type units in garages, basements, sheds, etc. The lumber was always allowed to stabilize in the workshop environment before it was worked. The one exception was some CCA treated lumber I built a pergola out of. The quicker I worked it and secured it the better off I was. The longer I let it sit the worse the ski bends. Thanks.

-- They call me Mr. Silly

View RussellAP's profile


3103 posts in 2255 days

#18 posted 11-30-2012 05:23 AM

YOu need to lay these boards flat on stickers at least 2 ft off the ground, maybe higher in your case. Sticker them every couple feet. If you leave them sit for more than two months, turn them over on the stickers.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2062 days

#19 posted 11-30-2012 07:08 AM

I’ve tried stickering the boards. Basically I took some scrap pieces of wood and laid down some blocks on the floor and stuck the board on it. Then took some blocks and stuck another board on top and so on. It’s only 4 inches off the floor. I don’t have two feet high pieces of scrap. Or anything else. i’d say the blocks between each board are about 2-3 inches high. I tried to support the board all the way along its length.

Does anyone have a picture of the “coat rack” thingy that was referred to?

I have a jointer and a planer.

As suggested I went to Crosscut Hardwoods. Nice place. The prices were a little better than Rockler/Woodcraft. Much greater selection. They didn’t have much, if any, roughsawn lumber. Most of it is was 4/4. I found that slightly surprising but that must be what the market wants. I saw the same thing at Woodcrafters (NOT Woodcraft).

Please continue with the suggestions. And thank you.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3713 days

#20 posted 11-30-2012 01:22 PM

+1 about buying quarter sawn, rough cut wood. You are at a disadvantage for lumber yards in your area. Use to located lumber yards in your area.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2062 days

#21 posted 12-02-2012 01:01 PM

I have used Woodfinder. From what I can tell there are only 2 or three lumberyards for hardwoods in my area. Basically it looks like it’s Crosscut Hardwoods and Gilmer. The other one, Goby, from what I can tell, only sells Walnut. The Gilmer site almost seems like they only sell online.

I agree that quartersawn wood would be preferable. I saw this stuff called leopard wood that was quartersawn. It was amazing.

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