Do you size solid wood panels differently in the Summer?

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Forum topic by Dave posted 06-24-2013 10:04 PM 894 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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154 posts in 3375 days

06-24-2013 10:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: panels wood movement solid wood joinery cabinetry question

I’m making a 20” x 36” solid wood back for a small tool cabinet. I know it’s going to have seasonal movement. There’s a lot of information about “how much” But, there isn’t much info on “when.” All I know is it’ll be widest some time this summer and thinnest some time during the winter.

I don’t want to leave a big gap for the panel this June; only to have it falling out of the frame completely when the snow starts falling.

How do you guys think about this? Any solid-wood furniture makers out there with good rules-of-thumb? Should I cut for a good fit now in July or still leave some slack?

Thanks in advance!

-- "I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of widths." - Steven Wright

3 replies so far

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5056 posts in 2529 days

#1 posted 06-24-2013 10:25 PM

Is this tool cabinet going to reside in a heated shop? Which way do the boards run?

-- Bondo Gaposis

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19272 posts in 2034 days

#2 posted 06-24-2013 10:31 PM

If you’re building it at its widest and assuming its going to be in a groove that’s about 7/16 deep which is what my rail and stile cutters do, leave a normal amount of room for expansion. A piece of wood that is 20 inches wide is not going to shrink by 3/4 inch. It will not shrink appreciably in the other direction.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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154 posts in 3375 days

#3 posted 06-26-2013 03:18 AM

Boards run in the long direction so I expect my movement along the 20” width. It’ll be in an unheated garage. Thanks for responding, guys.

-- "I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of widths." - Steven Wright

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