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Wood Expansion/ Dissimilar woods

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Forum topic by SteveKorz posted 02-21-2009 05:14 AM 7921 views 1 time favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SteveKorz

2134 posts in 3178 days


02-21-2009 05:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: expansion wood expansion question

I have a couple projects in mind where I may glue up dissimilar woods together. Whether it’s edge gluing for a panel, or face gluing for a thick workbench top, I don’t want to worry about this ruining my project.

My question is, do I have to worry about the two dissimilar types of wood experiencing different rates of wood expansion and ruining the joint, or warping the project? Or, will the expansion difference be so minimal that I don’t have to worry about it?

Thanks in advance,

Steve

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †


20 replies so far

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cabinetmaster

10874 posts in 3022 days


#1 posted 02-21-2009 05:20 AM

What kind of woods are you talking about? I have taken and glued a lot of different woods together for cutting boards, tables and turnings and have had no problems with them. The woods I am talking about are maple, oak,hemlock,walnut, mahoganey, hickory, alder, etc.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

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SteveKorz

2134 posts in 3178 days


#2 posted 02-21-2009 05:33 AM

Well, I’ve been tossing the idea of a traditional oak workbench for some time. I think I would like to face glue 3/4 inch strips of 2 1/2 inch oak together for the top, with walnut stringers for the dog holes.

I’ve also thought of (on a different project) face gluing pine with hickory. This is the one (soft wood to hard wood) that I could imagine would give me the most trouble. The hickory would be the part of the workbench you would see and work on, the pine would just add weight and thickness, instead of the entire top being made of hickory.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

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Karson

35035 posts in 3864 days


#3 posted 02-21-2009 05:33 AM

Most wood expands and contracts on the width of the wood. As the tree grows. There is very little expansion or contraction on length. So if you are glueing edge to edge, you shouldn’t have any problems End to end might.

You need to also realize that not only might wood expand and contract it might also have an ability to be compressed. So if one board expanded into another the second might be able to be compressed when it could accept the extra movement.

The Wood Handbook from the US Forest service has more that you’d ever want to know about the properties of wood.

You can download it to your computer. They also have lots of other publications.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

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Francisco Luna

939 posts in 2857 days


#4 posted 02-21-2009 05:36 AM

In a FWW magazine, a well known cabinetmaker says this:
”....I used quartersawn maple, but you might want to jazz up your project by using several different woods. That’s OK if the different species are, about the same density and will move with the seasons and wear at similar rates”
Fine Woodworking Magazine No.53, July/August 1985. Pag 65.

By the way, the article is about a Workbench project…

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

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John Gray

2370 posts in 3349 days


#5 posted 02-21-2009 06:24 AM

Steve,
Wouldn’t it be easier to go to Boo’s and buy the top or parts of it? LOL
John

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

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GFYS

711 posts in 2935 days


#6 posted 02-21-2009 07:39 AM

While it is true wood will shrink and expand more transverse to the grain it will indeed expand and shrink in it’s length. The amount that it shrinks or expands in it’s length is proportional to the total length of the piece. While 1/100 of an inch per foot maybe considered minimal expansion/contraction in a 6 inch length, if the piece of wood is 16 feet long the shrinkage or expansion would be nearly 3/16 inch. I recently experienced some rather disappointing results in a residential trim out project in a building with infloor heat that made the building humidity so low it broke almost every face frame joint and opened every trim joint in the whole project.

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SteveKorz

2134 posts in 3178 days


#7 posted 02-21-2009 08:12 AM

Karson and doubthead- Thanks!!

John- I’ve thought about that… LOL

mics_54… Yikes… that’s a bummer…

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

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FJPetruso

322 posts in 3174 days


#8 posted 02-21-2009 09:36 PM

A couple of key points in reducing the difference in the expansion of two types of wood in a project… would be to make sure that the different types of wood be brought into the shop well ahead of the start of the project so that the moisture level in the woods has had plenty of time to balance. You should also finish the interior of your project & seal up (as much as practicle) the interior as will as the exterior. Naturally it doesn’t have to look as pretty as the exterior but is should have some finish on it so as to reduce moisture absorbsion.

You know what it’s like to purchase 2×4 lumber at a hardware store only to have it twist while drying out at home. It’s because they store the wood OUTSIDE & only bring it inside just prior to selling the wood. Even if I have a project requiring 2×4s, I bring the wood into the shop, bundle it up into large bunches & bind it up with ratchet straps at both ends & the middle. After several weeks of drying inside, the straps are released & I find much less twisting, winding & warping of the lumber. A project like mics_54 told about is a good example of how important this acclimating time is.

-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"

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GFYS

711 posts in 2935 days


#9 posted 02-22-2009 12:34 AM

Fj you are right on about retail lumber sellers keeping “kiln dried lumber” out side untill its sold..it’s also shipped with minimal protection. Who knows what the moisture content is after it leaves the production facility. I let all lumber materials acclimate within the building it’s being installed. My project wasn’t due to that. It was due to the heat system and an exceptionally cold dry spell we had with no humidifier or air changes in the building. I have in 35 yrs as a trim carpenter never seen anything like this. The shrinkage occurred long after the material was “acclimated” , installed, stained and top coated.

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Sawdust2

1467 posts in 3552 days


#10 posted 02-22-2009 12:59 AM

I’ve got a program that is a wood movement calculator.

If you’d like it send me your regular email address.

Lee

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View pitchnsplinters's profile

pitchnsplinters

262 posts in 2902 days


#11 posted 02-22-2009 03:06 AM

I’d be more concerned that they just wouldn’t get along. Arranged marriages can be full of trouble. I’d lay the two pieces on the bench and wait for a natural union. Quintessentially harmonious.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

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FJPetruso

322 posts in 3174 days


#12 posted 02-22-2009 04:06 AM

Most of us won’t see the combination of an exceptionally dry season & a heating system that excells in drying out the house very often. So if we take reasonable care in the handling of our lumber prior to & while working on a project, we might have some shrinkage, but we probably will not encounter a once in 35 year exception like that.

-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"

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Gofor

470 posts in 3251 days


#13 posted 02-22-2009 04:19 AM

Combining hickory and pine will cause different expansion rates in the two woods. I beleve you will have problems overlaying pine with hickory.

Oak and walnut are close enough that it should not cause a problem.

As for Kiln-Dried construction pine, it only has to be dried to below 20%. That isn’t even close for furniture work even if it isn’t exposed to the elements.

Go

-- Go http://ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=730

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Sawdust2

1467 posts in 3552 days


#14 posted 02-22-2009 04:54 AM

Just so I don’t get inundated, here is a direct link to the program

http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/bpindex2.shtml

It’s at the bottom of the page.

Lee

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View SteveKorz's profile

SteveKorz

2134 posts in 3178 days


#15 posted 02-22-2009 05:41 AM

Thanks Lee… !

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

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