Cherry Slabs Questions

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Forum topic by tealetm posted 03-09-2016 07:14 PM 626 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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97 posts in 881 days

03-09-2016 07:14 PM

I just picked up some cherry slabs for my first real project in a while.

Our first child is on the way (September) so I’ve begun to think about cribs. There are a ton of designs and discussions on them, so I won’t bore you with the same questions. I’ve already done the debate of build versus buy.

I found a local deal on cherry slabs- $3/bdft and just picked up a bunch (local lumberyard gets $8/bdft). The guy runs a tree service and three years ago came across this cherry that he just couldn’t bear to cut up for firewood. This was his first time doing it, but he brought it to a local mill, had it cut, and its been drying/stacked since in his garage. He hoped he would one day use it, but he realized he wont.

Anyway- so I picked up a variety of boards, most are just over 1.25” thick, 10’ lengths and 15” wide. I did grab one 2 7/8” thick slab just because I couldn’t pass it up. Its got a decent twist to it over its length, but if i use it for the legs it should be fine

A few questions:

-I won’t be starting this project for a few months yet, so I’ll be storing the wood in a dry barn until then (stacked for airflow.) Any other suggestions?

-I’d like to rough cut all the pieces to length and plane/joint them. The wood is pretty straight and true, but I’m thinking that shorter pieces will obviously make it easier to work with but will also be easier to true up instead of feeding full length boards through it. Correct? (I’m not talking planing to get the twists out, just to get the correct thickness)

-I have access to a small planer and jointer and have a large topped old craftsman tablesaw along with all the other hand tools I’ll need. Am I going to asking too much from a portable dewalt planer if I get the boards to the right width and length? Or is this just too much overall length of material for that little planer?

-Any other suggestions to get me going in the right direction?

Here are some photos of the wood (the only crack is at the end of the thick board, and thats the only one that has a twist in it). Ignore the prices on the tags.

3 replies so far

View WDHLT15's profile


1747 posts in 2499 days

#1 posted 03-10-2016 02:31 AM

I planed thousands of bf through a two knife Dewalt DW733. You plan sounds fine. Nice wood. Nice price, too.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5702 posts in 2836 days

#2 posted 03-10-2016 02:43 AM

If the lumber was already stacked and stickered for years, then bringing it into a barn won’t dry it any further. Bring it into your workshop to acclimate there. Cherry dries pretty easily, but if you have some box fans and a dehumidifier, put them to good use. The best thing the sawyer did was cut the cherry to 5/4. I say this because 4/4 cherry has a tendency to warp severely.

You are on the right track with rough cutting to length before milling. This will keep the stock as thick as possible, while still getting it nice and flat.

Have fun.

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

View tealetm's profile


97 posts in 881 days

#3 posted 03-10-2016 01:09 PM

Thanks guys- I needed a bit of reassurance. I’ve used the planer before on some white oak with great results, I just don’t want to beat it up since its not mine. I got a little overwhelmed last night unloading the truck- there’s a lot of wood to be processed. But, I realize I bought more than I need for this project.

Yes its been drying for 3 years- I don’t intent to try to dry it more so I guess I could just stack it regular in the barn. My workshop is the barn, which isn’t really climate controlled so moisture levels will be the same as whatever is outside at the time.

I have a good cut list to start from for the crib so like I said I’ll cut things to rough lengths so I can mill them.

So my last question: The plans I have call for using plywood for the wide pieces (for example the headboard or upper rail is about 10” wide x 54” long). I understand plywood is much more stable as far as expansion goes- is the 10” width of cherry going to expand enough for me to have a problem? If so would your vote be for cherry plywood or joint a few smaller boards to make the 10”? Here’s a page of the plans I’m going to modify and use.

Thanks again!

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