Walnut Kitchen Island question

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Forum topic by Scott10 posted 02-09-2011 04:44 AM 1150 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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28 posts in 3064 days

02-09-2011 04:44 AM

This is a quick sketch of what I’m intending to do. I’m using 5/4 walnut boards planed down to 1 1/8” and ripped to 2 1/4”. I then glue them in pairs of two to make a 2.25”x2.25”x22” solid piece. Proceed from there just as if I was making an endgrain cutting board only this will be 5” thick, 20”wide and 30” long.

My question: will there be a problem using the parquet type pattern. I know there are problems with expansion if you glue grain perpendicularly but how about in this scenario. I’ll be gluing faces and edges that are all long grain but there will be rift/quarter/flat sawn edges all meeting at one point or another. I realize that wood expands at different rates along all these type cuts so is this going to be a problem?

This top will be held with standard tabletop fasteners to allow for expansion.

Here is my attempt at posting a sketchup quick sketch. Let me know if I’ll be okay with this plan. Thanks
(here is the link just in case:

-- Scott

5 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2873 days

#1 posted 02-09-2011 06:24 AM

My hunch is you’ll be ok, but that’s just a hunch. As you note, the glue joint problem usually occurs when expansion occurs against, say, a frame that won’t expand.

I’d use Titebond 2 or 3 (which I think technically allows a little creep). This will be a beautiful piece, and I’ll be curious to see the finished product and, a year down the line, how it has fared.

Where it will live, are there wide swings in relative humidity?

I’d say, leap off the cliff and stitch your parachute on the way down!

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3096 days

#2 posted 02-09-2011 07:01 AM

My hunch is that you may have a problem. Whether the cuts are rift orquarter sawn won’tmatter much. The expansion and contraction will happen mostly cross crain and will be negligible going with the grain. Every where you’ve got end grain glued to side grain is going to have some stress due to different rates of expansion. Over a peice of about 4 inches or smaller its generally not a problem but you’ll have a combined length much longer than that. My recommendation is to make a smaller trial top and stress it by leaving it outdoors overnight and then putting into a warm room during the day and repeating that a few times to see how it holds. It would be a real shame to see a finished top with a lot of expensive wood, warped badley.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3565 days

#3 posted 02-09-2011 08:55 AM

Personally, I think it will be just fine. When building end grain blocks, having the grain go against each other like this is good. Makes for a much more stable top in my opinion. As long as you glue and clamp right. I’m not sure if you’ll get 1&1/8” from 5/4, even if it’s rough. Better off going for 1” and ripping to 2”. That’s also easier to get you to 20” wide without having to cut any excess off both sides and will keep its symmetry. Good luck, a top this size is challenging to say the least….

-- Childress Woodworks

View Scott10's profile


28 posts in 3064 days

#4 posted 02-09-2011 03:05 PM

Thanks for the replies guys, kinda what I was thinking but just not sure. Though this is a gorgeous wood, I didn’t pay a great deal for it. A guy had about 1000 bf of an equal mix of clear(F&S), #1, down to what you’d call no 2 common. $1250 took it all.

Lee, I am using Titebond II. I live in northeast Pennsylvania. I know we have RH swings but I have no idea how significant they are. I’ve figured out what the wood MC should be and how that changes but still not clear on what a good/bad RH level is. I’m still learning.

Don, there wont be any end grain or cross grain joints they will all be long grain but different orientations. I know this is done with endgrain cutting boards but the individual boards are only about 1”x1”. My block will be long grain also with 2- 1”x2” blocks face glued to make a 2×2 block. They will be glued together to make the block 20”x30”.

Childress, they will end at 2×2. After face gluing the 2 blocks to make a “leg” 2.25×2.25×22” I will re-mill them to perfectly square 2×2x22. I’ll then glue 10 of those 22” “legs” together and crosscut to 5”. This will net me the first 4 rows of the top.

Thanks again. And any more input you guys can offer will be greatly appreciated.

-- Scott

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3565 days

#5 posted 02-09-2011 06:56 PM

Sounds like you got things under control. I would do the glue up’s just like you’re describing, although a little smaller cause I don’t have a 20” planer ;-). Also, if you can get titebond III that might be better as it dries dark. A lot less visible when working with walnut. Unless you have the dark titebond II...

-- Childress Woodworks

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