Sassafras and oak headboard?

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Forum topic by alittleoff posted 01-29-2017 01:06 AM 337 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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447 posts in 1116 days

01-29-2017 01:06 AM

I’m building a new bed out of oak and black walnut trim. While looking through my lumber I found 5 peices of 1×12 and 1×16 in sassafras 12 ft. Long. The boards have been dryed and milled, and are striaght. I really like the look of the wood and was wanting to use them for the foot and headboard. The question is, would you rip them smaller or use them as is. I don’t want them to bow later. These boards has some nice figuring and I’d love to incorporate them into the bed if possibel. I’m also going to have walnut inlays in the wood and thought this might cause them to bow later on if left the full 12 inches.

3 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1275 posts in 759 days

#1 posted 01-29-2017 06:33 PM


Even though the sassafras lumber may look flat and straight, it may have a slight cup, bow, or twist. In an abundance of caution, my approach would be to mill one face flat, and then run the sassafras through the planer along with the rest of the project lumber to the same thickness. Doing so would help the project come together with fewer problems by ensuring straight and flat lumber.

There is no workshop information posted with your profile, so I assume you use a jointer to flatten your lumber and that your jointer width is 6” or 8”. Therefore, ripping the sassafras narrow enough so that it could be milled flat on the jointer seems to me to be the good approach.

If you are a hand plane woodworker, I see no reason why the wide boards could not be used without ripping. I fail to see any particular advantage in ripping a wide board in half and then re-gluing back together. I remain largely unconvinced that alternating growth rings during a glue-up offers any benefit if the wood is handled and finished properly. But bear in mind, I have not built projects using wide format lumber. I use narrower (6” – 8” as the widest) boards due to availability and cost.

My comments presuppose the all the project lumber is dry, acclimated to the shop, and stickered after milling. I also assume that all exposed surfaces and edges will be planed, sanded, and finished the same.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4766 posts in 2333 days

#2 posted 01-29-2017 09:27 PM

It’s a question that seems to have proponents on both sides, so it kind of flip a coin. If I fear warping/twisting, I have no problem ripping a board down and re-gluing it. It’s always worked for me, but whether I had to do it is anyone’s guess. I’m not done a few times, and also not had problems. Part of what might persuade me one way it the other is the oversize in the finished project….smaller (to me) seems to have less chance of problems, and I might not rip. Whatever your choice is, I’m fairly certain that roughly 1/2 of us would agree with you.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View alittleoff's profile


447 posts in 1116 days

#3 posted 01-29-2017 11:58 PM

I have a 12 in. Planer and only a 6in. Joiner, looking for an 8 but haven’t found one yet. This lumber came from a lumber co. That shut down. I bought quite a bit of black walnut, oak and the sassafras all were wide boards. The boards looked so good or the grain did I just hated to rip them if I didn’t have to.
Thanks for the answers, well see what happens.

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