Shrunken Wood

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Forum topic by twitch posted 12-07-2012 07:35 PM 1795 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18 posts in 2196 days

12-07-2012 07:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question pine finishing sanding rustic

I need some help with a Farm House Table I made for my Daughter. The table top was made of 8/4 X 12” #2 pine that was ripped to 8” and 10” respectively. I used biscuits, glue and pocket screws to join all the boards. I sealed, stained and put poly on to finish it. It was completed in October and yesterday (Dec) I noticed the planks shrunk leaving the bread boards exposed. Any ideas how to fix it.

-- Twitch

12 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17759 posts in 3204 days

#1 posted 12-07-2012 07:39 PM

Twitch, i think youre going to find that movement is bound to happen and no matter what you do to try and fix it, this is going to happen again. By no means am I an expert on this but those are my thoughts. A warm welcome to the gang here at LJ’s.

BTW – id love to see a full shot of the table. It looks like you got a really nice finish on it.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View patcollins's profile


1687 posts in 3063 days

#2 posted 12-07-2012 07:58 PM

Humidity has a much greater effect on the width of a board than the length, assuming the grain runs the long way in a board. When the humidity increases I bet this goes away.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2559 days

#3 posted 12-07-2012 08:00 PM

It’ll fix itself when the ambient humidity returns, and the wood expands. It’s the consequence of using breadboard ends.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Granddaddy1's profile


182 posts in 2400 days

#4 posted 12-07-2012 08:01 PM

Was the table made from construction lumber? Construction grade lumber is sold dried to 19% moisture content, or in some cases even green (douglas fir/larch and sometimes hem-fir), which can start out over 30% mc. Finish grades of lumber are dried to 8 – 10% moisture content, which would result in significantly less wood movement as the material acclimates to it’s final environment.

Even with better stock for the application this situation will exist because of cross grain vs. long grain movement differences. I think what’s shown in your picture illustrates the character of a quality hand crafted piece.

-- Ron Wilson - maker of fine firewood!

View crashn's profile


528 posts in 2663 days

#5 posted 12-07-2012 08:46 PM

That is the exact reason you used breadboard ends, so that the table it self could expand/contract without busting the end off. Looks normal to me and not much to worry about.

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View twitch's profile


18 posts in 2196 days

#6 posted 12-08-2012 03:21 PM

Hey thanks for all the comments.
I’m not sure if the wood is construction grade or not, next time I’ll ask about the moisture content so I know.
I guess I’ll just wait and see what happens.

I’m going to post the pics of the table in the projects area

Thanks again

-- Twitch

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30050 posts in 2536 days

#7 posted 12-09-2012 02:42 PM

Not sure what part of the country you’re in, but here the humidity can vary 50% throughout the year. A real pain. Proper finishing can curb some of that, but when mother nature is in charge, you can’t stop it all.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View dhazelton's profile


2793 posts in 2495 days

#8 posted 12-09-2012 02:48 PM

A little bit of stain or brown crayon will fix that in no time. The joys of real wood.

View bondogaposis's profile


5086 posts in 2549 days

#9 posted 12-09-2012 03:38 PM

Just be glad the top didn’t split. Wood moves w/ changes in humidity. Interior winter air is very dry in most homes in North America. Plain sawn lumber moves the most in width, but not at all in length. So the top of the table shrank width wise while the end caps didn’t change in length. When milder temperatures return in the spring and the home heater is not running, the gap will probably disappear or at least be less noticeable. If you had used quarter sawn lumber you could cut that gap in half. That is why high end furniture makers like quarter sawn boards.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View twitch's profile


18 posts in 2196 days

#10 posted 12-09-2012 06:39 PM

This is all good stuff
I’m in NJ, lots of extremes in temp.
I realy like the crayon idea and I’m going to look into the quarter sawn wood

Thanks again

-- Twitch

View RogerM's profile


799 posts in 2597 days

#11 posted 12-09-2012 09:07 PM

The breadboard ends are working as they are supposed to, ie. they are allowing the table to expand and contract while keeping the ends straight and level.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View jaidee's profile


51 posts in 2977 days

#12 posted 12-13-2012 04:12 PM

Looks to me like you did everything right and it’s working the way it is supposed to.

-- I used to be all thumbs......'til I got a tablesaw!

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