Ideas for what to use 3/8" to 5/8" wood for?

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Forum topic by andrewsco posted 05-18-2016 03:59 AM 521 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 160 days

05-18-2016 03:59 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hardwood flooring ideas

Hi all,

This is my first forum post – I have followed a lot of projects and blogs on here but never got around to signing up!

I have been given quite a lot of brand new solid hardwood flooring for free and am in the process of ripping the boards down to size. In particular, I have been removing the tongue and groove bit, planing the bottom of the board flat and for any of the prefinished boards I have been removing that finish on the table saw as I don’t own a band saw (some boards were unfinished which is WAY easier!)

This post is more for some ideas than anything as to what to use all this wood for? I am fairly new to woodworking although have been into collecting hand tools for quite some time (just never seem to have the time to actually use them that much ;-). I have all sorts of different lengths / widths (some as narrow as 2” other at around 3.5”) and have got some walnut, oak, maple, ash, cherry and jarrah.

Boxes and chopping boards are probably a given but in particular i’m looking for furniture pieces I could have a go at that could accommodate such thin stock. I would like to practice hand joinery and the like. I was wondering about building the Paul Sellers tool cabinet that he has recently released a video series about, just not sure whether the stock is too thin or not.

Anyway, thanks in advance, look forward to hearing a few responses.

9 replies so far

View Kelly's profile


1051 posts in 2365 days

#1 posted 05-18-2016 04:55 AM

I’m getting ready to laminate three layers of hardwoods to make walking sticks. Then I’ll turn it ninety degrees and add some more wood, until I can get a 1-1/2” dowel to work with.

I’ve made one walking stick from fir laminated to a koa core, but these will be from pieces of wood too short for other than boxes, turnings (back to that lamination thing), picture frames and so on.

View rwe2156's profile


2117 posts in 902 days

#2 posted 05-18-2016 11:59 AM

Laminate (face glue) them together to whatever thickness board you need for example, a table leg.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2343 days

#3 posted 05-18-2016 12:52 PM

I have used 3/8” wood to make small boxes that sell very well and also to make canes

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View jdmaher's profile


381 posts in 2000 days

#4 posted 05-18-2016 01:17 PM

First thing I think of is drawer sides (1/2” to 5/8”), drawer bottoms (1/4” to 3/8”) and cabinet backs (1/4” to 5/8”).

But hold up there!

Why not USE the tongue and groove to glue up panels and just cut off one excess tongue and one excess groove on the completed panel? You’d get a bit more yield, simplify glue up and reduce the number of operations.

For drawer bottoms, 12” wide ”stock” would be nice to have, and you could plane the bottoms of the completed panel. For cabinet backs, you could glue up 12” panels, plane the bottoms, then glue 2 or three panels together and rip off the excess t & g.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View andrewsco's profile


4 posts in 160 days

#5 posted 05-18-2016 02:35 PM

Thanks for the responses. I had considered using the tongue and groove to yield larger stock but the t+g that I tried (and granted it is only a smallish sample) didn’t exactly fit together that cleanly – certainly not as cleanly as if edge jointed together. I could probably tidy up those T+G’s but not sure it is worth the hassle tbh!

I am thinking predominantly drawers for the thin stock. In your opinion would 1/2” stock be too thin to build a wall hanging tool cabinet with? I will definitely have enough wood and could joint pieces together to get the width, it is just whether the cabinet would be sturdy enough (I haven’t really built too many pieces of furniture so am not sure of the correct size to use for strength).


View andrewsco's profile


4 posts in 160 days

#6 posted 05-18-2016 02:36 PM

I have used 3/8” wood to make small boxes that sell very well and also to make canes

- Jim Finn

I love the ribbon on that box, looks great!

View jdh122's profile


878 posts in 2239 days

#7 posted 05-18-2016 02:50 PM

5/8 inch hardwood (maple or oak, the most common floor woods) is plenty strong enough for just about any regular project you want to make. I’ve bought new wood before that I had to joint and plane down to 5/8 to get the twist, warp or cup out and made regular furniture out of it. It’s more of a visual issue than anything, as a tabletop that thin will likely look too thin.
I haven’t seen the Paul Sellers video you mentioned, but 5/8 hardwood for the sides of a tool chest should be plenty, and the 3/8 would work for drawer assemblies and dividers.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View andrewsco's profile


4 posts in 160 days

#8 posted 05-18-2016 03:02 PM

It looks kind of like this:

I think that’s what I will start with as my garage looks a right mess at the moment!!!


View bigblockyeti's profile


3573 posts in 1142 days

#9 posted 05-18-2016 04:26 PM

I would recommend not ripping off the tongue and groove without having a plan for the wood as you might need it for the project at hand, I would only remove it after the project I had in mind certainly would not need the tongue and groove. In the mean time it can serve as additional protection from getting banged up during handling.

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