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Forum topic by JoelLivin posted 05-27-2014 10:34 PM 1390 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JoelLivin

6 posts in 923 days


05-27-2014 10:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar oak walnut question

Ok, where to begin…
I have been lurking here for a while and just joined up, yeah!
Been woodworking for years but had to take the last couple of years off because of space and money constraints… So now I have a 3 car garage and am setting up shop and designing the first project to properly christen it. I have moderate skills and a decent assortment of tools.

I want to build a low long dresser for my beautiful wife.
I recently acquired two trailer loads of wood including; walnut slabs (not enough for this project), really cool looking cedar slabs, some water oak with crazy black lines running throughout, a pile of pine including 5×5 material, misc walnut in 4/4 and 8/4 and some random maple.

For the dresser I am looking at doing the top in book matched cedar slab;
 photo 10322663_721788214549389_2109306254808153705_n_zps19b2d8e5.jpg
Here is some of what I have, have a few larger pieces as well… And before anyone asks, no I will not be leaving the live edge on… I feel that gives the piece too much of a rustic look on the project, and that is not the style I’m going for.
For the sides and divider and bottom I wanted to do the water oak, sorry don’t have any pictures of that, it looks really cool with the black streaks running through it… after searching online I still haven’t found any like it. otherwise it looks like red oak.
I want to do through tenons to the top wedged with walnut so that on the top you see three species.
Then dovetail the bottom corners and put the whole thing on a ‘stand’ of walnut with some curved (almost Asian inspired) legs.
On the face I want the drawer faces out of red cedar with exposed dovetails exposing the oak that the other three drawer sides will be made from. Then make drawer pulls out of walnut.
Here is a very rough sketch… I don’t use sketch up yet and inspiration hit at work so all I had was a pen, paper and ruler… so don’t judge;

 photo 20140527_141959_zps5f3a9c0d.jpg

The dimensions are all up in the air at this point and will depend on a nice bookmatched cedar slab.
I only drew one drawer in because you get the point. The face frame will basically just be the edges of the water oak, so probably slightly over 3/4” thickness. And I will run a small maybe 3” thick piece behind the top drawers right below the surface to keep the “face” uniform.

So here’s what I need advise on…
Wood movement; I know how to mitigate it with the walnut stand, it will be loose and attached with slotted screws probably, but my question is; With two species as different as oak and red cedar if I do those through tenons very tight will the wood survive movement? I know its not a cross grain to long grain situation but if the different types shrink at different rates will this thing crack?
How will a cedar face on a drawer with exposed oak dovetails do?
Do you advise metal drawer runners or groove with hardwood runner?
Finish on aromatic red cedar?

Any other glaring design flaws? This is my first dresser and I am definitely open to suggestion.

Thank you for any help you can provide! I look forward to documenting this thing along the way.


6 replies so far

View Jorg Zimmermann's profile

Jorg Zimmermann

24 posts in 1069 days


#1 posted 05-28-2014 05:24 PM

Hi there,
I checked a table of woodmovements and it suggests that Oak is moving almost double the percentage of Ceder wood. In other words if you live in a climate with huge differences in humidity throughout the year you might run into problems i.e. cracks.
You might want to consider a stopped dovetail housing joint.

-- Jorg

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JoelLivin

6 posts in 923 days


#2 posted 05-28-2014 05:39 PM

Thanks for the response.
Do you mean for the slab top into the sides or the drawers?
Maybe I am hung up too much on this design, but I really wanted exposed dovetails on front of the drawer and really wanted that oak exposed on the top.
I wonder if I cut the through tenons on the top about 1/4” undersized then used the wedges to bend them out to fill the mortise… would that allow the oak sides to move a little more? Maybe only glue on the tennons and not on the rest of the side pieces.
i dont think a four or even six inch drawer will be too much of a problem, but accross a 20 inch slab top is my main concern.

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JoelLivin

6 posts in 923 days


#3 posted 05-28-2014 05:40 PM

Oh, and im in wichita ks…. Not sure if this is known for lots of variations in humidity or not.

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 983 days


#4 posted 05-28-2014 06:13 PM

Hi Joel. For the drawers, do you plan to make frame and panel drawer faces or just solid cedar ? Since you mean for the divider to show, have you considered making drawer face frames out of oak and the panel out of cedar, and the same for the sides ? It would introduce more of that figured oak to the look.

I like the idea of walnut drawer pulls and feet. Have you thought of walnut edging around the top to balance with the bottom ? This is all personal design stuff and one person’s personal look may look all wrong to someone else, of course.

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JoelLivin

6 posts in 923 days


#5 posted 05-28-2014 06:25 PM

I like the idea of edging the top with walnut. That will keep it away from the rustic look that most cedar furniture has and I’m trying to avoid. I was planning on doing the face of the drawers in solid cedar because I have plenty and relying on the exposed dovetails to add interest. But I will certainly think of doing panels. When I get home later I will upload a pic of the oak I’m using. Very interesting looking.

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Yonak

979 posts in 983 days


#6 posted 05-29-2014 04:03 AM

Joel, although I often have a mix of woods in many of the things I build, having too many species, unless tastefully incorporated, can look random and poorly thought out. As a counterpoint to what I said earlier, have you thought about oak and cedar only ?

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