grain direction and allowing for expansion

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Forum topic by tooldad posted 04-21-2010 06:42 AM 1287 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View tooldad's profile


660 posts in 3911 days

04-21-2010 06:42 AM

created a simple single drawer valet for my freshman students. In the past, have done a 2 drawer version, grain runs vertical on sides, makes sense. However on the single drawer version, it would look better for grain to run horizontal. However it creates a cross grain gluing situation.

Basics of box, sides are rabbeted for the top and bottom “drawer dividers”. All grain direction is same for expansion. Additional top is attached with overhang and slight arc to the front for design

sgl drawer box overview

sgl dwr box

guess I didn’t draw in the rabbets when creating the drawing in sketchup, but the sides are rabbeted for the hidden top and bottom horizontal pieces

4 replies so far

View tooldad's profile


660 posts in 3911 days

#1 posted 04-21-2010 06:43 AM

forgot to add, any suggestions on how to get the grain to run horizontal without having a cross grain glueup situation and still keep this basic for beginners that keep asking “what do I do next?”

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3271 days

#2 posted 04-21-2010 02:54 PM

I would accept the cross grain gluing and use biscuits. This is one situation where I think biscuits can be very helpful.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3983 days

#3 posted 04-22-2010 04:54 AM

You can’t do cross grain simple.

You will have end grain on the front of the sides. Therefore you need a face frame. You will have the same situation in the back. The dividers will also have to match the side grain or be “frame” construction. Using narrow cross pieces for front and back will nullify the cross grain expansion issues. If you can accept that, you will still need to elongate screw holes for top/bottom to allow their expansion.

Despite the fact that someone’s opinion is that it would “look better” having the sides cross grained, it is bad to teach students faulty construction. To keep it simple, the sides will need to be vertical grained.

You can put it together with biscuits, kreg screws or nails, it still will not stand the test of time unless you deal with the cross grain expansion issue.

If it is made of ply, expansion issues are of no consideration, but you have to deal with end grain hiding (i.e. face frame.)



-- Go

View CaptainSkully's profile


1602 posts in 3755 days

#4 posted 04-23-2010 04:39 PM

Could you affix the front edge permanently, and let the back edge float as needed?

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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