Accounting for Wood Movement in "Oversized Bailey Cube Storage Chest"

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Forum topic by captfoss posted 10-12-2012 10:06 PM 1391 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 2213 days

10-12-2012 10:06 PM

I want to build the following storage chest:

And I’d like to do so using cherry boards instead of plywood, as shown here:

Essentially you have a box, consisting of 4 walls with grain running vertically… and then those each have a “face frame” attached to them. Then there is a face frame attached to the opening at the top.

I’m worried about accounting for all of the potential movement.

Assuming you assemble all of the independent pieces:
Glue the central box together on all edges (4 sides, no top, no bottom)
Glue the face frames together on all edges (4 side decorations, 1 actual face frame on the top)
Glue the bottom platform together on all edges (1 bottom with the box platform under it)

With the vertical orientation of the boards, it seems like the central box is going to want to “grow in/out” rather than “grow up/down”.

1) What movement do I need to account for, and what movement can I neglect
2) For the movement I need to account for, is there a good way to account for it, or is this a fundamentally flawed design?

5 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117085 posts in 3570 days

#1 posted 10-12-2012 10:46 PM

If the sides and front and back are done in a frame and panel construction then there should not be any problem with wood movement. I would suggest a plywood floor and perhaps some thin wood strips glued on top of the floor to give it a finished look but to eliminate wood movement problems

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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20 posts in 2213 days

#2 posted 10-12-2012 11:43 PM

Its not frame and panel. Its a carcase with decorative frames applied to the outside.

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2829 days

#3 posted 10-13-2012 12:23 AM

The biggest issue you will have will be the separation of the mitered corners during certain times of the year. I think if you build the frames and glue those together then you can attach the panels to them with screws that are in oval holes that allow for movement as long as you don’t make it so the panels touch on the inside. You can conceal the fact that the panels aren’t touching in the corners by running a lip around the whole top and using triangular strips or small cove molding in the corners that attach to the outer frame. So in this case the decorative frames would actually be the primary structural component while still preserving the look you want.

An alternative could be to ship lap the boards leaving a very tiny gap between each, this would allow you to glue about 2” of each individual board to the top and bottom frames; exceptions being the two pieces at each end which could have a 2” glue line linking the top and bottom rails and side frame piece to the side frames. Again the frames become structural but it leaves room for expansion and contraction. Let me know if this description makes sense to you.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

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20 posts in 2213 days

#4 posted 10-13-2012 02:44 AM

I like the shiplap idea in terms of allowing dimensional movement without deforming the overall piece. I’m not sure if I’d want to make the aesthetic sacrifice. I was wanting it to look like a solid piece on the inside. It would seemingly solve the movement issue.

If I did one solid panel, I suppose I could just put tongues on both sides and let it float between two boards with associated grooves glued to the back of the face frames. That would allow some dimensional movement without affecting too much of the “solid inside” look.

Both food for thought. Thank you.

View Woodknack's profile


11600 posts in 2373 days

#5 posted 10-13-2012 07:14 AM

If you build it the way it is in that picture it will push itself apart (or at least contort) if the humidity changes. There’s a good reason why blanket chests are made with either horizontal boards or frame and panel. If you shiplap you still need a frame so might as well glue them.

-- Rick M,

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