Zebrawood cracking

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Forum topic by AandCstyle posted 02-11-2013 05:10 PM 1987 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3068 posts in 2279 days

02-11-2013 05:10 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question zebrawood walnut maple

I made this CB for my son & DIL. She is a zebra fanatic so it had to include the zebrawood. About 5-6 months after completion, they have noticed small cracks in the zebrawood, but the maple and walnut are perfectly fine. All 3 woods were KD and had been in my shop for at least 3 months when I made it. I know there is no way to repair this board, but if I make another one will the same thing happen again? Is zebrawood prone to cracking? Any thoughts on preventing a recurrence? TIA

-- Art

11 replies so far

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 2377 days

#1 posted 02-11-2013 05:20 PM

Hhhmmm. I dont have an answer for you but you have me worried now. I use a lot of Zebra in my CB’s. I hope someone has more info on this.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2936 days

#2 posted 02-11-2013 05:25 PM

I also do not know the answer, though I would pose the following question in hopes of helping folks find the correct answer:

Where can someone find the shrink/swell rate of various wood species when exposed to moisture/water?

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

View bondogaposis's profile


4754 posts in 2373 days

#3 posted 02-11-2013 06:13 PM

My guess is that the zebra wood was at higher moisture content than the surrounding woods when you built it and now that all of the woods are reaching equilibrium the zebrawood is shrinking and because the edges are “captured” by the surrounding wood it is giving in the only place it can, by forming the cracks you see.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2552 days

#4 posted 02-11-2013 06:52 PM

HM: One online source for shrinkage rates is I’ve seen tables in a number of other locations, too.

Bruce Hoadley’s Understanding Wood, should you have a copy of it, also has a table (p.74 of my copy). He primarily lists North American species, but does have a small section on “Imported” species.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View darinS's profile


709 posts in 2889 days

#5 posted 02-11-2013 07:11 PM

Another possibility:

or maybe:

-- They say many people die because of alcohol. They never realized how many of them are born because of it.

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2161 days

#6 posted 02-11-2013 07:39 PM

I know of one way to repair the crack. Check this video by the Wood Whisperer for more information.

Basically you use a gap-filling epoxy. Make sure it’s food-grade.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View AandCstyle's profile


3068 posts in 2279 days

#7 posted 02-12-2013 01:42 AM

Bondo, that was my first thought as well, but then I thought about the drying and storage conditions and ruled it out. Perhaps, I was premature in that and need to get a moisture meter to avoid any future issues.

gr, that is a good suggestion for something to try. Unlike the CB in the video, these cracks are all internal to the board and I am not certain that I will be able to compress it enough. It is definitely worth trying however.

Maybe I can make a slurry of sawdust and TB3 and pack that into the voids.

-- Art

View Tony_S's profile


871 posts in 3105 days

#8 posted 02-12-2013 02:09 AM

I don’t think it’s the Zebra wood that’s the problem, just the type of cut, joinery and placement (all the stars alined in other words)
I noticed in the picture you posted that both the Maple and the Walnut are almost all flat cut pieces and the Zebra wood is all quarter cut.
That and the Zebra wood is actually ‘locked’ together with the Maple and Walnut due to the joinery that you chose.
My bet is that the Maple and Walnut is actually pulling the Zebra wood apart, cracking it, with the large changes in moisture content that cutting boards are exposed to.
The flat cut material would easily expand and contract 3 to 4 times the width of the quartered material.(and in opposite directions)
If you build another one, try to keep the Zebra wood on the outside(or close to) of the board.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View AandCstyle's profile


3068 posts in 2279 days

#9 posted 02-12-2013 04:37 PM

Tony, that is an interesting hypothesis that would never have occurred to me. I checked Shrinkulator and there is about a 1% differential between radial and tangential for maple and walnut, unfortunately, zebrawood isn’t listed. On the flip side, I have made a number of boards with qswo and flat sawn woods without incident so far, maybe the time bomb is ticking…......

-- Art

View Grumpymike's profile


2255 posts in 2337 days

#10 posted 02-12-2013 04:58 PM

Hi Art,
Well, I really don’t know for sure either, but here is my guess. ...
I believe it is wood shrinkage noteing the angle of the cracks or checks accross the grain.
Just like the checks on the end grain of a log going from the center to the sapwood.
I have heard of guys cutting their parts, checking with a moisture meter (in the center of the cut), if it is a bit high they stick the parts in the microwave to dry them … I have never tried this, so it’s third hand hear say.
Please let us know what you find out.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View AandCstyle's profile


3068 posts in 2279 days

#11 posted 02-13-2013 12:56 AM

HM, sorry that I didn’t answer your question earlier. I use the Shrinkulator as Darin mentioned.

GM, thanks for the reply. I don’t think I will ever have a conclusive answer unless the boards I made using qswo start to crack. If I ever make another board with zebrawood, I will be certain to use qs only woods in the board.

-- Art

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