Wood movement in box lids

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Forum topic by Rick posted 05-24-2009 04:58 AM 1651 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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144 posts in 3530 days

05-24-2009 04:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: movement

In frame & panel doors, the panels are not glued to allow for the movement in the panel. In a box lid where you have a mitered “frame” around an “panel”, how do you make a really tight fit and allow for wood movement? I’ve seen many great boxes on here, with mitered frame around a panel look, but they don’t appear to be veneers or anything like that. I’m new, but have a major change in our lives and I want to make a treasure box for my daughter’s last year before we move her 800 miles and ask her to start a new life.

Thanks in advance…

-- There are many tempting parking places on the road to success

5 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4240 days

#1 posted 05-24-2009 05:07 AM

I guess maybe it depends on where you live. Down here in southern Louisiana the humidity is consistently high, and wood doesn’t move too much. If you look at my projects, you’ll see quite a few captured panels, and I’ve never had a problem.

I’ve heard some guys say that you’re okay as long as you use woods with similar expansion characteristics. If you really want to play it safe, you could make your frame and panel lids just like cabinet doors, and use space balls or something similar to keep things tight and rattle-free.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 3451 days

#2 posted 05-24-2009 03:36 PM

If they make space balls small enough, I think that would be the way to go. The real test of this sort of construction comes when it gets moved from one part of the country to another. I had built some items that went into the fifth wheel. They looked real nice at the beginning. After some extensive travel and with the passing of time that eye appeal disappeared. Cracks in something you hand crafted can be real hugly.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3362 days

#3 posted 05-24-2009 03:48 PM

sometimes i’ve had to make space balls out of carpet underlayment,
cut to required size .
also at times cut panels narrower than side dadoes and center them in styles and pin in center of rails
through edge of dado , they can move side to side as expansion/shrinking , but only half on each side .

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

View Rick's profile


144 posts in 3530 days

#4 posted 05-24-2009 03:51 PM

Thanks SO MUCH for the responses!! I didn’t even think about the climate change as we move: Going from Minnesota to Oklahoma. There will be differences!!

Seems like I read something about comparing wood characteristics, but don’t remember it’s point. But what I still don’t get would be when you have the grain on the end rails going across the grain of the panel. Suppose I’d only glue a small section in the middle?

Lastly, I thought of cutting a chamfer in the rail/stiles and leave only the very top of them to fit snugly around the panel. Would that allow the majority of the panel to move while at the very top being snug? The only other way I know is David Marks’ veneering onto plywood, but I don’t have a vacuum press. Or a big enough bandsaw to resaw my panel, or the skill to resaw if I DID have the bandsaw, or the . . .

Well, you get the point! Charlie, Dusty – thanks again!

-- There are many tempting parking places on the road to success

View Rick's profile


144 posts in 3530 days

#5 posted 05-24-2009 03:54 PM

David – and all, guess I should clarify a bit. I really would like the “panel” flush on top with the frame, and not be a true frame and panel as in a door. I want it to look like an inlay, and perhaps should have said that in the beginning. Hope I didn’t confuse things too much…

-- There are many tempting parking places on the road to success

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