Wood swelling

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Forum topic by agallant posted 08-14-2012 01:17 PM 783 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View agallant's profile


551 posts in 2912 days

08-14-2012 01:17 PM

I know I should post pictures with this but I am at work and did not take any. I made a coffee table last year, The center is 3/4 lacewood then I wrapped it with ebony and Babinga mitering the corners. All of the corners appear to have pulled apart over night. There is like 1/16 gap in each one. So I have a few questions

1. Is there a way to stabalize wood so it does not expand and contract as much
2. On projects like this should I go with a solid plywood core with for example 1/16 resawed vineer on top instead?

Any tips,tricks advice would be appreciated. I am just puzzled that it was fine then it pulled apart. Honestly I never really liked the way that the top came out so I am looking forward to building a new top.


3 replies so far

View woodenwarrior's profile


231 posts in 2220 days

#1 posted 08-14-2012 01:24 PM

I have become wary of using mitered corners around solid wood panels without using any reinforcment like a keyed miter. If you wanted to use the same woods again I would try slotting the miters and gluing in a couple of keys from the same speices wood. I have had very good experiences using this technique in the past.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4244 days

#2 posted 08-14-2012 01:39 PM

Any time you wrap a mitered frame around a solid wood panel, you are playing Russian roulette.

If the panel is sealed on both sides, that will limit moisture absorption and thus reduce movement. If the piece is kept in a temperature and humidity controlled environment, that will also decrease the chance of problems. Miter keys, as woodenwarrior suggested will also prevent the corners from separating sometimes.

But none of those will guarantee you won’t have a problem. That’s why your option #2 is the go-to solution when you want the framed-panel look.

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

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 2912 days

#3 posted 08-14-2012 02:26 PM

OK this all makes sense now. I should have at least sealed the core before wraping it and reinforced the corners with keys but best practiace would have been to use a solid core with vineere.

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