Grain direction for trays

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Forum topic by BinghamtonEd posted 10-16-2013 01:59 PM 640 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2263 posts in 1791 days

10-16-2013 01:59 PM

So I am going to making a few trays as Christmas presents. The tray will be a thicker piece of walnut, with a thinner piece of maple laminated to the top, so when routed out, the tray has a maple lip. I’m wondering if there is an ideal way to lay this out as far as grain direction goes.

Enter my awesome MS paint skills…

Here are the 4 options. This may be a bit exaggerated as I’m not going to pick the most flatsawn lumber I can find. However, it shows the grain orientation for this purpose.

Common sense (if I have any) is telling me to match the orientation of the rings between the maple and walnut, as seen in options A and D. Going with A would give me a tray that I would think is less prone to warp, as I would be routing away most of the whole growth rings. Going with D would seem like a stronger tray as the bottom would consist of more whole rings, but therefore would be more prone to warping.

I’m probably way over-thinking this, but am wondering if someone can share their experience with this task.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

2 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


3462 posts in 1189 days

#1 posted 10-17-2013 12:11 PM

Yes, I think either A,D or A,B should work. Consider cutting the void in maple instead of routing it to saw dust.


View BArnold's profile


175 posts in 1254 days

#2 posted 10-17-2013 01:37 PM

I’d need to see your overall design but, if I understand your narrative, you’ll be routing a lot of the maple away to leave it just on the lip. If that’s the case, why put a solid piece on top of the walnut?

Normally, I would tend to laminate the pieces with the grain directions opposing each other, since it’s different woods. But, since the walnut is dominate, the specific grain direction of each is probably immaterial. Thinking of the ultimate appearance, D might provide the best overall effect.

-- Bill, Thomasville, GA

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