Lower Shelf and Wood Movement

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Forum topic by Brad posted 10-09-2008 02:32 AM 1099 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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132 posts in 3951 days

10-09-2008 02:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question mahogany joining rustic

I’m building a pair of mahogany bedside tables and need to include a shelf. My thoughts were (and I’ve seen it on alot of furniture) was to cut 4 notches in all the legs and cut the shelf to size so it is “caged” in between the legs. My concern is wood movement. Am I concerned for nothing here?

Here is an example of what I’m talking about follow the link…

Example of Lower Shelf

- Brad

-- Brad --

2 replies so far

View Southern_Woodworker's profile


6 posts in 3699 days

#1 posted 10-09-2008 04:03 AM

Wood movement is always a concern. If your climate is real humid like mine, I would let my material acclimate in my house rather than in the shop and keep the pieces inside when I am not working on them (for small projects and unless your shop is climate controlled). This will keep the moisture content as stable as possible so you don’t get the big shock factor when you bring the piece inside. Another thing would be grain and a quarter sawn grain will be much more stable than flat sawn. For me, as long as I take these two factors under consideration I wouldn’t shy away from the challenge.

The other possibilities would be design related. You could do a slat style shelf that would certainly decrease the risk of movement or use tenons to float the shelf so that some movement is allowed. I would look at as many examples as you could and find a solution that best fits your design concept. The Fine Woodworking site has tons of articles and you can even look through the user galleries there and on LJ for ideas.

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4303 days

#2 posted 10-12-2008 01:12 AM

You have the right idea. Notch the shelf and the leg. To cover the wood movement, “float” the shelf and leave it shy on width when you cut the notches in the shelf. this will let it expand/contract just fine


-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

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