Sawdust Addict

10 TECHNIQUES – HOW TO TAME WOOD MOVEMENT

10 TECHNIQUES – HOW TO TAME WOOD MOVEMENT

6. AVOID WIDE BOARDS

Of course there are times when you have to use a wide board or you want to use one because it looks better.

But always be aware that movement in wide boards, whether it’s cupping, twisting or something else, will be more pronounced than in two or more narrower boards. Gluing several narrow boards together will result in a more stable tabletop than gluing two wide boards together.

 

7. MANUFACTURED WOOD HOLDS PAINT BETTER

If you’re planning to paint an exterior project, consider building it from a manufactured product rather than solid wood.

Wood movement requires the paint to flex constantly, and eventually the paint cracks and peels. Manufactured wood substitutes from companies like Louisiana-Pacific, AZEK or James Hardie are more stable than solid wood. And because these products move less, they provide a better surface for paint.

 

8. PRE-FINISH TONGUE-AND-GROOVE

As tongue-and-groove boards expand and contract, the spaces between them change a little.

If you don’t prefinish the boards, you’ll see exposed raw wood on the tongue when the boards shrink. But finishing the boards before you install them will solve this problem. Just be careful to avoid a buildup of finish in the groove; it could make the boards hard to fit together.

 

9. DON’T FILL CRACKS ON WOOD FLOORS

If you have wood floors, especially old ones, you probably have some cracks between the boards.

It’s tempting to try to hide the cracks with wood filler, but it’s not a good idea. As the floorboards expand and contract, the filler will crack and fall out, leaving you with an unsightly mess that’s hard to fix.

 

10. LET PARTS WARP BEFORE ASSEMBLY

When you go to all the trouble to build cabinet doors, you want to make sure they aren’t going to warp or twist after assembly.

One way to prevent this is to cut your parts then stack them with spacer boards (stickers), and let them acclimate for about 24 hours before building the doors.

Be sure to cut extra parts so you can replace any boards that warp.

 

EXTRA

As you’re planning your next woodworking project, don’t assume it has to be built entirely from boards. Veneered sheets of plywood and MDF are more stable and are a good alternative to solid lumber. These veneered sheets are less likely to bow or cup, and won’t crack like lumber. Choices at home centers are usually limited to oak, birch or maple veneers. If you’re looking for something else, such as cherry or walnut, check with a local hardwood lumber supplier or a full-service lumberyard.

Sticking door fix

Sticking and rubbing doors are a common problem caused by wood movement. High humidity is usually the culprit, so some problems can be avoided or solved by keeping the humidity levels in your house low. But when this isn’t practical, you’ll have to resort to solutions like tightening door hinge screws or planing or sanding the door edge.

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