Length of time from first cut to finish?

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Forum topic by ghazard posted 04-28-2009 03:31 PM 1075 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ghazard's profile


382 posts in 3537 days

04-28-2009 03:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: warp box maple

Just glued up my first box! Kind of exciting. It has been about 4 weeks from the first time I planed and sized the stock to now. Mostly because I only get a few hours at a time to work every few days or so. Finished stock thickness is 1/2” and about 5” x 7”. Maple and Bloodwood. As I was gluing up last night, I noticed that the maple had warped a touch…not unuseable for a first box attempt but not what I would want in the future. I’ve kept the stock in my house to try and keep the humidity as constant as possible…only taking it into the garage when I’m working on it…and it hasn’t been THAT humid. Yet.

My question is: – Is it likely that it warped because it was unsealed for so long? Could I have avoided the warp if it had only been 2 days from first cut to seal instead of 4-5 weeks?

I know wood movement is inevitable to some degree but what can I do to help stave it off in the short term.

Thanks in advance!


-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

5 replies so far

View patron's profile


13608 posts in 3368 days

#1 posted 04-28-2009 03:51 PM

your boards as they are , have their own dryness/tension .
as soon as i cut them , they expose new inner fibers , thereby exposing them and changing the tension peramiters .
i try to get the pieces to glue as soon as posible so they work with each other .
sometimes you can tack the stack of parts and clamp them together so they help each other to stay flat ,
until you get to work them again .
like 2×4’s on a job site , nail them in place as soon as posible , so they keep each other straight .
if you leave them in a pile to long , you get spagheti .
which is only good for blocking . you can tack a perfectly straight and planed board and rip it into strips ,
and some of them are curved as they relise (?) tension , it’s wood , its always live !
good luck ,
you might want to get a moisture meter and check that all your wood is similare in moisture content .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3554 days

#2 posted 04-28-2009 03:52 PM

If you cut and sized the maple from larger stock there might have been stress relief, if so leave your wood just a bit large, let it stand for a few days then bring it in to final size. Just a thought…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View gerrym526's profile


274 posts in 3836 days

#3 posted 04-30-2009 01:03 AM

Don’t get hung up on “time to finish”. As the woodworkers here mentioned, wood is a dynamic material.
Depending on the stresses during it’s growing period that a tree has been subjected to, (eg. windy ridge line with the tree being pushed in a certain direction constantly)-certain boards from a tree will release tension when cut and warp, cup, twist, etc.
It is not correct however, to assume that all cut lumber will warp in the shop (or outside for that matter) as it absorbs and gives off moisture. If that were the case, all S4S hardwood lumber you buy at the lumber yard would be warped-it isn’t. I live in the humid midwest (Chicago), and have hardwood boards in my basement shop that were cut during the winter (when it’s dry), and now are subject to spring humidity.
They are still straight and flat.

-- Gerry

View ghazard's profile


382 posts in 3537 days

#4 posted 04-30-2009 02:58 AM

Thanks for the feedback everyone! I’ll post pictures soon of my box it took me 5 weeks to make! :)


-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1897 posts in 3699 days

#5 posted 04-30-2009 03:27 AM

I struggle with warpage on a piece by piece basis. That is why I buy lumber in the summer, and leave it in the shop all summer so that it breathes. Then once it cools off, I mill it up, and start my project. I only mill my stock one piece/panel at a time, just to avoid all the wood movement. It’s a never ending struggle for me!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

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