Wood movement

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Forum topic by Dusty2004 posted 06-26-2012 07:44 PM 1255 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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22 posts in 2172 days

06-26-2012 07:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chess checkerboard wood movement

I am considering making a chess / checkerboard and I was thinking about wood movement. If you alternate the grain will it still be a problem?

If I make the pieces 1/4”thick and glue it to a substrate would I still have an issue?

What should I use as a substrate if that is the correct way to go?

What about making it with no border?

Thanks for any input.


PS: I will be tied up until next week so I will not get back to see any responses until then so you know I did not just ask and not respond.

6 replies so far

View Dusty2004's profile


22 posts in 2172 days

#1 posted 06-26-2012 07:51 PM

One additional question – what making it like an end grain cutting board? Would movement be a problem then?



View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4214 days

#2 posted 06-26-2012 08:16 PM

I think end grain would work okay. I’ve also made a number of chess boards with the grain oriented all in the same direction, and I’ve never had a problem. But I would worry about alternating the grain because then you would have adjoining squares moving in different directions.

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

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2686 days

#3 posted 06-27-2012 02:20 AM

I alternated the grain direction on my parquet top dresser valet. Pieces were 1/4” thick and were glued to plywood underneath and I have had no cracking or problems to date. Mine was red oak.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2184 days

#4 posted 06-27-2012 02:42 AM

Hi Dusty2004:

The book Understanding Wood by R. Bruce Hoadley is an excellent reference for the issue of wood movement and all kinds of other issues to do with solid wood. I suspect your board is small enough overall that wood movement will not be an issue unless you allow the board to undergo significant changes in relative humidiy, unlikely if it is kept in a modern home.

One thing to keep in mind when gluing solid wood to a substrate is that it is best to balance things out by having a veneer on both sides, otherwise the thing may go out of flat. If the solid pieces are thin and the substrate is much thicker this is far less likely to happen, especially if the pieces are already in equilibrium with their environment and the relative humidity is fairly constant.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Dusty2004's profile


22 posts in 2172 days

#5 posted 07-02-2012 05:51 PM

Thanks all! I appreciate all the information. I will look up the book.


View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 3516 days

#6 posted 07-02-2012 07:11 PM

Dusty, I made a board once and even used individual pieces glued to a board underneath. For details, go look at:

Howard Ferstler

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