Literally Watching a Table Top Change Over the Course of a Few Hours.

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Forum topic by barringerfurniture posted 03-25-2014 12:50 AM 1048 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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224 posts in 1948 days

03-25-2014 12:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip cherry expansion and contraction warping table top

Just thought this might be interesting to some folks.

I just brought home a finished coffee table (posted in my project galleries recently) from the shop. I built it for my own apartment/showroom/portfolio.

This morning at about 5:00 AM I began applying paste wax and ended at 3 coats. Then when the sun came out, I opened all the blinds and started shooting pictures. Within the course of shooting pics, I began noticing the top had a warp in it. Maybe I just hadn’t noticed before?

But then it seemed to get worse so I took a close look at it. The back, right corner had risen from flat, to about 1/8” while the front, right corner had dropped by around 1/16”. In other words, the whole top had seemed to twist slightly. Still tight against aprons all round and the mounting brackets were tight and secure. It was visible enough to draw my attention though so there must have been a lot of stress on the entire table.

That was at around 3:00 PM. It’s now about 5:45 PM and the top is back to normal (almost perfectly flat). And the breadboard ends are at about 1/64” past flush all around. I couldn’t even feel them while waxing!

Wood movement is no joke!

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

3 replies so far

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2128 days

#1 posted 03-25-2014 01:08 AM

I’ve never witnessed that much wood movement in that span of time.

Cherry was dried out first? Hand rubbed oil finish or brushed film finish all around and underneath beforehand?

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View barringerfurniture's profile


224 posts in 1948 days

#2 posted 03-25-2014 01:41 AM

redSLED, Yeah, seriously! That seems like a lot huh? I don’t think I’m exaggerating either.

I don’t check the moisture content of my lumber before working with it. To be honest, I just haven’t gotten where I know how to do that yet.

Finish is 3 coats of Danish oil followed by 3 coats of paste wax. All around, underneath. Finished top before mounting it.

I’m a guitar player too. I’ve had a classical guitar drop in pitch by around a half step (if you’re familiar) audibly as soon as it was brought into the sunlight. I could hear it drop as I played.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 3211 days

#3 posted 03-25-2014 01:53 AM

The sun is an amazing thing…wonder if fresh wax somehow exaggerated effect of the sun on the wood?

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