Wood movement on a small scale

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Forum topic by hairy posted 08-16-2010 10:56 PM 1442 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2701 posts in 3528 days

08-16-2010 10:56 PM

I’m kicking around the idea of making another cane. I would like to inlay a dark colored wood into a light colored wood for the handle. Such as:

This is just a mockup made from scraps.

The dark wood will be face grain, inlayed into the end grain of the light wood.It is essentially a mortise and tenon joint.

The mockup in the picture is a 1 and 3/4” insert, in a 2 and 1/4” handle.

Is this doomed to crack? I was reading some about wood movement, one rule of thumb I saw is 1/16” per foot.
My inlay piece will be less than 2”. I’m not a math whiz, but in this case it doesn’t work out to zero.

I realize it is a cross grain glue up, and should probably stay away from it.

The problem I’m trying to fix is, the face grain of my light wood is attractive but the end grain isn’t. The end grain will be the top of the handle, and I want to dress it up a little.

Any comments are appreciated. Thanks!

-- My reality check bounced...

8 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#1 posted 08-17-2010 02:41 AM

Good question :-)) I’m interested too.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View helluvawreck's profile


31044 posts in 2862 days

#2 posted 08-17-2010 01:58 PM

Hairy, your way over my head when talking about a project like this but it all sounds very interesting and I hope everything works out well on it. I hope that I can find the time to get into some turnings. I have actually done very little with my lathes and have certainly not made any canes.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4214 days

#3 posted 08-17-2010 06:59 PM

The only input I can give you is that I pretty much ignore wood movement in small projects, and I have never had an issue. Now I’ve only been woodworking 5 or 6 years, so take that for what it’s worth. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Builder_Bob's profile


161 posts in 3055 days

#4 posted 08-17-2010 07:35 PM

Here’s something from another forum by an unidentified contributor.

“A long time ago I’d shown my guys how to pre-glue end grain, but no one until now had any reason to test it. I don’t think they actually believed it worked; they probably thought the old man from the old school was crazy, but they did it anyway to humor me. They believe it now, and the others have run their own tests with pretty much the same results.

Lightly dampen the end grain with a damp cloth/rag, spread on a thin layer of glue and let it sit for a minute or two. Then glue as normal and assemble. The problem is that the end grain absorbs the glue and starves the joint, robbing it of any real strength. By pre-gluing the end grain, you’re essentially blocking the flow away from the joint; the glue pretty much has to stay put.”

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

View Dchip's profile


271 posts in 3248 days

#5 posted 08-17-2010 08:00 PM

A dark end-grain wouldn’t work visually (like the cross-section of a large dowel)?. They would expand at a more even rate (though I imagine there would be variation between wood species), and there would be long-grain to long-grain glue contact the length of the hollowed-out cylinder walls. I’ve also seen some pretty interesting end-grain patterns in cutting boards and such. As Charlie said, though, I generally ignore this in small projects as well, so i may not be the best giver of advice.

-- Dan Chiappetta, NYC,

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3111 days

#6 posted 08-17-2010 08:21 PM

hello Hairy
not that I think its a big isue on small things but
have you looked at Mathiase site
he has somewhere in there something about woodmoovement
and I think a page where he has calculated them out on a list


View hairy's profile


2701 posts in 3528 days

#7 posted 08-17-2010 10:25 PM

Thanks for the input.

I think I’ll do it and find out.

Dennis, that link eventually took me to this. Everything I wanted to know, but was afraid to ask.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3111 days

#8 posted 08-17-2010 10:59 PM

that was a serius pdf file :-) that was one I hadn´t seen thank´s

no I was thinking of this one
and one of his latest where here use a cheap Voltmeter to messure the moistier in the wood

Edit : down on the site there is a link to (how to calculate shrinkage)

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