Need 5/4. Can I glue up my own?

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Forum topic by opalko posted 12-11-2012 07:38 PM 2327 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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148 posts in 3233 days

12-11-2012 07:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak question

I’m getting ready to start a project that calls for 5/4 quartersawn white oak. Unfortunately, living in the middle of nowhere I don’t have access to quartersawn of any variety. That leaves me with a mail order option. But the place I’m looking at buying from only has 8/4,4/4, or 1/2” QS white oak.

What I was thinking instead of buying the more expensive 8/4 and planing down and wasting so much was using 4/4 and some 1/2” material glued together to make 5/4. My question is if I do this will I run into any trouble for pieces as wide as 5” over a 4’ span? i.e. will the 2 pieces expand & contract evenly?


19 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2873 days

#1 posted 12-11-2012 07:41 PM

I don’t think you will have a problem with this. Use cauls across the boards and use lots of them. Apply glue to both boards and clamp away. good luck.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3011 days

#2 posted 12-11-2012 07:44 PM

I have done this for building doors. Laminating pieces of hardwood actually helps with dimensional stability. My only caution is that you may end up with a visible jointline. If you have a good bandsaw, you could resaw some 8/4 into 5/4. This would leave you with some thin stock that may be useful elsewhere.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3846 days

#3 posted 12-11-2012 07:53 PM

Instead of locking yourself in to the plan you are following – would you be able to change the dimensions of the parts made from that 5/4 material to parts made out of 4/4 perhaps?

what are the parts that will be made out of that 5/4 board?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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5086 posts in 2549 days

#4 posted 12-11-2012 07:58 PM

Why not resaw the the 8/4, then at least it won’t all be planer shavings?

-- Bondo Gaposis

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528 posts in 2663 days

#5 posted 12-11-2012 08:04 PM

+1 to pinto deluxe. You can also resaw on your table saw if width is less than 6”

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

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148 posts in 3233 days

#6 posted 12-11-2012 08:06 PM

Yes, I thought about resawing. I don’t know if my Delta 14” could handle resawing 5 or 6” white oak without ruining it. I’ve never had good luck resawing on there and don’t want to find out the hard way this wasn’t the best way!

Re: what parts require the 5/4.. The 5/4 pieces get planed down to 1 1/8” and become a frame for a mirror. The frame uses through tenons and sort of give it a beefy look & feel – and I guess it needs to be to hold a 1/4” mirror. Most of the joint lines will not be easily visible since they are along the frame edges and you’d have to be looking at either side nearly straight on to see them (top & bottom won’t be visible at all unless you’re a dog or a giant).

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3112 days

#7 posted 12-11-2012 08:08 PM

What I have done on two projects when I wanted QS grain (Ash in my case), was to cut 8/4 lumber along the “edge”. Of course this only allows you to have 2in (8/4) wide boards when you do this. It sounds like you are looking for the QS for building legs and or framing of your project, correct?

I also had access to the lumberyard so I could choose my 8/4 boards. I chose a couple of boards that look to have been one of the first sawn from a very large diameter tree. This meant that the rings on this 7 1/2in wide 8/4 started on one edge and exited along the other edge. Not a “good” board on the traditional sense, but cut as I did, it worked out perfectly. As a matter of fact, the Lumber guys actually set these boards aside as undesirable until I insisted upon purchasing them.

Too bad you couldn’t plan a long road trip to an area with ample access to a couple of lumberyards of hardwood distributors.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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1882 posts in 2381 days

#8 posted 12-11-2012 08:09 PM

If you’re going to mail order anyway, why not order from a place that sells 5/4 or 6/4 QSWO?

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Aserrin's profile


11 posts in 2193 days

#9 posted 12-11-2012 08:16 PM

I think your best option would be to re-saw the 8/4. The left over think stock is great for small projects. Do you have a bandsaw? If that is not an option you could do it on your table saw, much less waste then planning, but not ideal.

Can I ask what are you making? Is the need for quarter sawn white oak purely aesthetic? if you can get clever about hiding faces you could always mix plain sawn with quarter sawn to save money. Stickley himself was known to laminate many of the pieces of some of his iconic designs. PurpLev’s advice is spot on. Look at your design see where you fiddle with it a bit.

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Don W

19007 posts in 2765 days

#10 posted 12-11-2012 08:27 PM

if you laminate it and glue it properly it should actually be stronger than a single piece. Any of the above suggestions will work, but I think I’d find someone selling 5/4 as shampeon suggested if you’re going to buy anything and have it shipped.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3169 days

#11 posted 12-11-2012 08:49 PM

When you have tried re-sawing, did you have a re-saw blade installed?

Having the proper blade and plenty of tension makes a world of difference.

View DS's profile


3030 posts in 2618 days

#12 posted 12-11-2012 08:57 PM

If you’re gluing up anyway, why not glue up 8/4 to other 8/4, resaw to 5/4 and eliminate nearly all waste.
Some will have seams, others will not. You can pick and choose where seams will show or not.

The best alternative may be to find a source for 5/4 QSWO. I don’t think it is all that uncommon.

Not sure what part of the world you are in though. Maybe it is rare where you are.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2399 days

#13 posted 12-11-2012 09:58 PM

Be nice to know what the face profile looks like. Why not take plain sawn wo and glue your qswo to make thickness. The slight diffrence edge grain may hide the seam better and you save the more expensive qswo for something else. When ever I do any face glue up I will hit both faces with some 60-80 grit to give it a little more bite for the glue.

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View thebicyclecafe's profile


23 posts in 2447 days

#14 posted 12-11-2012 10:19 PM


you mentioned you need 1-1/8”... don’t think you can get 1-1/8” out of 5/4 stock anyway, since it’s usually exactly 1” surfaced from the mill. The mills generally allow 1/4” for surfacing anyway, so even if you could get 5/4 rough, you might have difficulty getting 1-1/8” or usable lumber.

If you want to try to resaw, try a good resaw blade on your saw, you just might be surprised. I’d recommend the 1/2” woodslicer from highland hardware- turns a lower powered motor into a quite capable machine.

As for your original idea, this will work in terms of it holding. As long as you don’t glue cross grain, being that it’s the same species wood the difference in seasonal movement from board to board will be minimal, the glue will do all the holding power. Quartersawn stock is more stable to begin with.

However, I’d be concerned if the 1/2” stock would be straight enough or surfaced correctly before glue up. My experience with 1/2” stock is that out of the mill it’s typically more bowed, cupped, etc, making getting seamless/voidless glue contact a bit more tricky without running at least the glued face over the jointer a few times.

The other thing is, and this is probably of more concern, is that you next to no margin for error or surfacing the wood if your target size is 1-1/8”. The two pieces glued up will yield 1.25”, and if your newly glued up board is slightly bowed, cupped, or needs any surfacing, you have only 1/8” room to do that. You also don’t have any room to do any surfacing on the pre-glued up boards. If you need to take off 1/16” from both boards pre glue up, you’ll have no ability to surface afterwards.

Generally I like to leave at least 1/4” for surfacing, a little more as a safety net. My preference would be, if you can’t resaw 8/4 or work with 4/4 in lieu of 5/4, is to glue 4/4, get to about 1.5”, and surface it down to 5/4.
The other thing is, when doing glue ups, it’s a good idea to balance the thickness of the boards such that the tension is balanced. Two 4/4 boards will be better than one 4/4 and one 1/2” board.

View opalko's profile


148 posts in 3233 days

#15 posted 12-11-2012 11:16 PM

Ok, thanks for the replies. Here’s the mirror I want to build, and please, no Norm bashing in this thread.

I have the plans also, but can’t scan in right this second that show it calls for 5/4 to make 1-1/8”. Norm does like to do what seems like the impossible at times.

So it sounds like what I’m headed for is either trying to resaw 8/4 or gluing up 2 4/4. I do have a Timberwolf resaw blade on my Delta and have it tuned pretty darned well but still have never had what I call great success with it like my friend that has one of those massive Lagunas…


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