In my own "no sympathy for stupidity" Department

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by TZH posted 07-25-2016 11:06 PM 1533 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TZH's profile


555 posts in 3285 days

07-25-2016 11:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: humor question resource cedar juniper rocky mountain red juniper douglas fir carving tool drill-driver planer scroll saw chisel drill press router clamp jointer sander tablesaw carving milling shaping finishing joining sanding arts and crafts rustic

I’m almost embarrassed to post this….almost, but not quite.

Awhile back, I posted a finished project ( in which JayT asked me about expansion with the breadboard ends. Well, as it turns out expansion and contraction did become a HUGE issue and I’m winding up having to make an entirely new tabletop for the client on this one: Hence, the “no sympathy for stupidity” title because this one’s all on me.

The reason I’m posting in this forum has to do with how I don’t want to revisit that stupidity department again. So, in that vein, I’m asking for feedback on my new plan.

There ain’t gonna be no breadboard ends on this one! Instead, I’m thinking of trimming off the sapwood from several pieces of the Rocky Mountain Red Juniper and using that for most of the width of the tabletop with Douglas Fir slabs running the full length of the table on the outside edges for contrast, and maybe even one right down the center (haven’t decided on that one yet).

Anyway, my question is with regard to using two different kinds of wood and the risks associated with whether or not they’ll expand and contract at the same rate (if that makes any sense). Kinda gun shy after the first go-round debacle, and don’t want to have any residual cracking as the result of uneven pressure due to expansion.

Feedback would be very much appreciated. I’ll be posting in my own blog on progress on this “lesson learned”.

Thanks in advance!

-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

17 replies so far

View AlaskaGuy's profile (online now)


4498 posts in 2454 days

#1 posted 07-25-2016 11:42 PM

Mistakes is how many of us learn.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Aj2's profile (online now)


1717 posts in 1942 days

#2 posted 07-25-2016 11:43 PM

Oh that’s a bummer I just looked at the table very cool and unique.
It takes alot to admit your mistake.We need more Jocks with your humility.
I’ve made a fair amount of tables one rule I follow.Is never glue flat sawn grain to quarter.I will not look good so that’s a warning from Mother Nature.
If the top has a book match outside of the tree faces out.
Douglas fir is very stable when it’s dry properly.Not sure about juniper I bet it smells nice.
If it’s texture is simalar and it holds its shape well when you mill it then that’s always a good indication of how the wood will behave.
Good luck


-- Aj

View DocSavage45's profile


8699 posts in 2987 days

#3 posted 07-25-2016 11:46 PM

Looked at the beautiful table. And the blog where you show assembly. usually breadboard ends allow for expansion and contraction. Did you pin it and use oval holes to allow for movement? It appears from the blog that it was an extremely tight fit?

There are charts on expansion and contraction and I’m not familiar with Juniper. That said due to relative humidity kiln dried wood will expand and contract as much as (i believe) 1/8 of an inch.

Then there is the factor of releasing tension as wood ages. Been rereading Krenov’s cabinet Maker’s notebook and his other books which speak to natural wood movement and allowing enough time in the workshop to acclimate and then consider the environment it will live in. I never gave it much thought but your mistake is not unusual.

As for non breadboard ends and a free moving top, my friend built a beautiful confrence table for his place of work that did a snake dance over the course of a year.

Take your time, be patient, plan it through and pray! Good luck with the next one!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 1536 days

#4 posted 07-26-2016 12:04 AM

Not sure I fully understood your description of your new plan. Sounds like you are perhaps planning a glue-up of dis-similar woods…like a plank of one wood, a strip of some width of a different one, then a plank of the first again…

I can certainly see cause for concern…but I have done this myself several times now with walnut and oak and also more recently with walnut and soft curly maple.

So far, despite the wide humidity swings here in NC, I have not had any potato-chipping or anything.

Remember, the wood-movement thing is primarily about the width of a board changing, not so much the length of it changing (very little length change expected in either type of wood, so the difference between them is also small). I think this is the reason that a dis-similar woods glue up as I’ve described above doesn’t seem to have an issue.

I would NOT expect to be so lucky if glueing pieces up with the grain going at right angles. That sounds like a bad idea and likely to cause another re-do of the project.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1091 posts in 2379 days

#5 posted 07-26-2016 12:07 AM

Let me tell you about the time I sharpened my chip breaker…...

-- Jerry

View bigblockyeti's profile


5226 posts in 1865 days

#6 posted 07-26-2016 12:14 AM

Upon reading the title of this thread I thought for sure it was going to be in some way related to customer service. Many consumer advocacy groups exist around me due to the competency of the various departments incapable of remaining solvent on a very generous tax payer funded budget that we never get to vote on including: Sewer, water, natural gas, storm water sewer, waste water treatment, road maintenance, electric company & almost every internet service provider. While one of these is elective, the rest are not and over half have gone up by 10% over the last year!

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View bkseitz's profile


295 posts in 1455 days

#7 posted 07-26-2016 12:18 AM

Mistakes are made, stupidity is earned by not learning from these.

Webster’s “1.behavior that shows a lack of good sense or judgment”

The fact you’ve asked others for feedback on new project show both humility and learning; the fact that you included me in this bunch for advise shows you still have a lot to learn ;-) Good luck on this new one, I’m sure you’ll do great!

Repeating errors form the past expecting to get different results is stupidity or something like it. I think Einstein has a quote on that they everyone repeats

-- bkseitz, Washington "if everything is going well, you've obviously overlooked something"

View HerbC's profile


1790 posts in 3004 days

#8 posted 07-26-2016 04:32 PM

Might be nice to put a link from the comments chain of the original project to let anyone who read that project know that you had long term problems and what you did to make things right.

You do beautiful work but as JayT says, wood’s going to move!

Good Luck!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View TZH's profile


555 posts in 3285 days

#9 posted 07-26-2016 04:49 PM

DocSavage45, I did pin it but didn’t make oval holes. That right there is what caused the problem because I just glued up the breadboard ends with the dowels being very, very tight. The table actually cracked right down the middle. I’ll try to include some of those pics after I retrieve and replace.

JeffP, your analysis is correct: two dissimilar woods glued up tight along the horizontal. I ain’t gonna try breadboard ends again for this client. I may try again on another table for ourselves, but until I “learn” my lesson on how to do this, it just isn’t worth the time and the effort.

HerbC, I’m not sure what you’re asking for here with regard to the link from the comments chain. Those should be visible on the project page, itself—- unless you’re asking for a link to my own personal blog, perhaps? That’s where I detail the work as it progresses, but I haven’t had time yet to actually write blog posts to show that. The plan is to include those soon.

Thanks to everyone for your comments, suggestions, recommendations, and insights. That’s why I love this site!!!


-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


2522 posts in 1532 days

#10 posted 07-26-2016 05:34 PM

My concern with using 2 dissimilar woods is that you might get different cupping or warping of the different wood types near the ends, especially without a breadboard end to help control that (one of the purposes of a breadboard end). I don’t have enough experience with the woods you are using to provide a prediction on how bad it might be.

Another purpose of breadboard ends is to help hide the inevitable cracks that will develop at the ends between the joined boards as they expand and contract with moisture changes. The expansion and contraction is generally more pronounced at the ends, much as checks and cracks of a log or board as it dries tend to start and be worse at the ends, which I assume is why the first place you will see these joints fail on a table top is at the ends.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Bill_Steele's profile


414 posts in 1876 days

#11 posted 07-26-2016 05:45 PM

I’m certainly no expert, but I would think that dissimilar species could successfully be glued together (I’m thinking about cutting boards). I do think different species will have different rates of expansion and contraction—even the same species may have different rates depending on how it is cut from the log (flatsawn vs. quartersawn). As long as the expansion/contraction is not restricted—I would think it would be fine.

I definitely feel your pain on the damage that occurs as a result of expansion/contraction and I respect the fact that you admitted it (for others to learn) and made good with your customer.

I built a small side table for myself several years ago. The top was a frame and panel design. I sorta botched the panel fit in the frame and decided to “fix it” by routing a narrow groove between the frame and panel and gluing in an accent strip (Paduak).

The accent strip split after about 6 months. I was upset, but I learned a lesson. I ended up cutting out the panel and building another frame without the accent strip.

View HerbC's profile


1790 posts in 3004 days

#12 posted 07-26-2016 06:37 PM


I was simply recommending that you add a comment to the original project indicating that there had been difficulties with the project as originally built and linking to this forum post to provide further info. That way, anyone reading the original project and comments would be able to find this forum post without a lot of searching.

Again, not trying to slam you, just thinking about a new LJ two years from now stumbling across your original project and deciding to build the same thing without knowing the travails you’re experiencing…

Again, good luck on the rebuild and…

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View TZH's profile


555 posts in 3285 days

#13 posted 07-26-2016 07:38 PM

Thanks for the clarification, HerbC. That makes a whole lot of sense. I’ll take care of it right now.


-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

View DocSavage45's profile


8699 posts in 2987 days

#14 posted 07-26-2016 09:58 PM


Norm Abrams did a great explanation of this if you can find it. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View TZH's profile


555 posts in 3285 days

#15 posted 07-26-2016 10:04 PM


DANG! Now ya gone and done it——make me bow to the master himself (if I could find it, that is)!


-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics