Help Im Shinking - Wood Contracting 6mm

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Forum topic by JackInGalway posted 04-28-2011 03:25 PM 1495 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JackInGalway's profile


31 posts in 2795 days

04-28-2011 03:25 PM

Hi To All
I buy only rough wood cuz I make so many mistakes that it would be 2x embarrassing to miscut decent wood.
This is White Spruce, I got in a few months ago, made the flower troughs from it.
I put the troughs out in the sun for a few days to paint them and noticed like 6mm gap between boards that I swear wasn’t there when I screwed them together.

What am I missing? I know it’s something fundamental.
Could the wood have been so moist when purchased that this is naturally occurring?

The end result is – next trough I don’t want the gap, so what do I do and why has this happened.


Thank Ya` in advance Jack

11 replies so far

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2949 days

#1 posted 04-28-2011 03:36 PM

Appears like wood wasn’t completely dry. However you will still have this problem with it being outside. The wood will move side to side evrytime it gets wet and drys out.
My suggestion would be a “ships lap” joint.

-- Life is good.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3141 days

#2 posted 04-28-2011 03:54 PM

its the woodmice that eats it …lol
sorry just have to kidden you a litte
you have to lieve with it as Howie say its woodmovement do to the moistre in it
and you have to plane for it when you building things
and since its flowerstands …then let them bee as they are
no one will ever notice

take care

View swirt's profile


2782 posts in 2998 days

#3 posted 04-28-2011 04:41 PM

even kiln dried wood breathes, but rough non-kiln dried wood will breath a lot more. Planning for it with a joint that can move, as Howie suggests is a good idea. Tongue in Groove is a little stronger than ship-lap, but it has the drawback of not really allowing the water out, once it gets into the joint, so it may not hold up as long. The ship lap can get wet and will typically dry better, leading to less rot.

I haven’t looked closely at the design of your planter boxes, so I am not sure if this would work in your situation. Many times if you really only have one joint that needs to be tight, you can secure the location of that joint to whatever other structure you have with screw, nail or peg, but then give the far side of it even more room to move by putting the fastener in an elongated hole or slot.

Another option, but not a great one, is to leave the wood in the sun and let it get to its driest, then put it all back together tight. The idea being that the wood should only be able to get larger from that point, but not likely shrink more. The reason this is not a great solution is that now the wood can only swell and it has the potential to bust a tight joint apart. Wood moves, the more you try to confine it, the more likely it is to fail.

-- Galootish log blog,

View JackInGalway's profile


31 posts in 2795 days

#4 posted 04-29-2011 12:49 AM

Hi 2 All
Howie, what is a ship joint? Looked on Google images but Im not sure if Im looking at what you are referring to.

Dennis, my wife said the same thing, she added that it a plus for the drainage.

swirt, never thought of “elongated hole or slot.” I will havta look at the design again myself to figure where I could plug that idea in.

I reckon now that I definitally know why the joints opened up, I will plan in advance and adjust with a little trim or design change.
Thank You all again, I will put your advise to work… jack

View a1Jim's profile


117119 posts in 3603 days

#5 posted 04-29-2011 01:39 AM

wood is hygroscopic Here’s what’s going on.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2693 days

#6 posted 04-29-2011 05:40 AM

You should have listened to your wife

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View swirt's profile


2782 posts in 2998 days

#7 posted 04-30-2011 06:36 AM

shiplap is like to mating rabbets (not the furry kind leading to more of them)

It allows the joint to shrink or grow without creating an opening that goes all the way through.

-- Galootish log blog,

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3950 days

#8 posted 04-30-2011 06:47 AM

Yea I would use an out door wood like red wood, ceder or cypress let is sit outside for a week or so before you build and finish right away and seal the end gran.

View JackInGalway's profile


31 posts in 2795 days

#9 posted 05-09-2011 01:00 AM

Thanks to you all, I now have just about all the answers to my current mystery.
The two troughs that I made are still standing, but I now know why I also see abit of warping.
Anyways, it is raining torrents here in Ireland at the moment so I will place the remaining wood outdoors, sun permitting, before next use.
Im looking at swirt’s image (thank u) and Im thinking… I would take the circular saw and cut 1/2 inch on the wide side of the wood – but what tool to use to cut the narrow end? Chisel? I don’t have a table saw.

Thank you sandhill and a1Jim, I read the whole article and downloaded it.


View HerbC's profile


1764 posts in 2885 days

#10 posted 05-09-2011 01:44 AM

If you have a router you could use a rabbiting bit to make the rebate for the shiplap joint…

Or find an old rabbiting hand plane…

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


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

View JackInGalway's profile


31 posts in 2795 days

#11 posted 05-12-2011 03:25 AM

Thanks HerbC
The wood Im using is only 1 inch thick, so I can get the loan of a router but I don’t know if would work well.
I might end up with splits or broken pieces of wood. If I can get it to come out looking fairly ok I will post an image of the result.

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