Redwood Trestle Table...Do I Need To Worry About Warping?

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Forum topic by Anthony posted 02-13-2014 04:29 AM 1779 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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122 posts in 1739 days

02-13-2014 04:29 AM

Topic tags/keywords: redwood outdoor furniture wood movement warping

I am getting ready to build a Trestle style picnic table for a friend. He is on a budget and we are thinking of using Redwood lumber that is available from the local “orange or blue” stores. My design calls for breadboard ends on the table top, the slats on the top will be spaced approx. 1/4” apart. I will probably use dowels, 1/2”, to attach the slats to the breadboard end. The attached image is my initial rendering.

My question is, should I worry about the wood warping? I know this wood is normally used for decking and other outdoor projects so I suspect that it is fairly stable but I would hate to have the top pieces warp. I live in Las Vegas NV which is normally a very hot and dry climate.

-- Anthony - "The blacksmith and the artist, reflect it in their art. They forge their creativity, closer to the heart"

2 replies so far

View barringerfurniture's profile


223 posts in 1739 days

#1 posted 02-15-2014 04:49 PM

That looks like a really cool table. In my opinion, those breadboard ends in the drawing should help keep the top stable if they’re attached in the traditional way (tongue and groove full length, with extended tenons and sliding dowels).

I’ve built a lot of redwood decks, gates, etc with lumber from the big box stores. My experience has always been that overall, it shrinks significantly. But it will also swell temporarily with each wet season. It moves A LOT in other words.

I would take special care in picking out the lumber – straight in all directions and dry as possible (kiln-dried) and if possible, let it dry even more before building.

A good exterior sealer would be most important I think. It will help keep the lumber from absorbing moisture. I would thoroughly seal all sides of all pieces including end grain wherever cuts were made, before assembling.

Put simply, get the lumber as dry as possible and seal it as thoroughly as possible.

Hope I helped and best of luck!

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

View barringerfurniture's profile


223 posts in 1739 days

#2 posted 02-15-2014 05:02 PM

Anthony, just something else to consider in regard to the 1/4” spacing between the top boards; I’ve built redwood decks before where I set each board tight to one another, fully sealed on all four sides, then gone back a year later and they had 1/4” gaps between them from shrinkage. Sometimes even more!

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

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