Is There a Shrinkage or Expansion Difference in Different Types of Wood?
posted on June 1, 2009 by Ian Kirby

Q: Is there a difference in shrinkage or expansion of different wood species? I am building a hope chest for my granddaughter, and I’m planning on using pine on the outside and aromatic cedar on the inside with the two layers of wood glued together to make one thickness. Is this going to be a problem?

Each panel will consist of boards edge-glued together to make the size of the panel and then glued together on their faces to make a thickness of about 7/8".

A: There is, indeed, a difference in the shrinkage and expansion between wood species. That variable is compounded by whether you use flatsawn or quartersawn stock. These variables will be mitigated by bringing the moisture content of your wood to about eight percent. You can do that by leaving the wood in the house in stick for two or three weeks or in a shop with a house-like atmosphere.

As to the construction of the chest, you don’t indicate how the boards will be joined at the corners. In general, the thicker the wood, the more bulky the corner joint becomes. The more traditional and elegant way to line a chest is to fit the cedar in place loose by mitering the corners. The chest is finished inside and out. Then the unfinished lining is inserted.

posted on June 1, 2009 by Ian Kirby
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