Maximum rip width for 3/4" red oak

I am making some bookshelves, and have 1" red oak planks in varying widths from 6" on up to about 11". To make my shelves at 11 1/16" thick, I have been ripping my planks down to a maximum width of about 3.5", and joining 4 pieces together.
I had heard that to avoid splitting or cracking of wood, it was best to rip down to this width and then join back up.
My question is whether this is good advice. Do I really need to rip all my wood down like this, or can I join two 6" pieces if I want to?
Scott
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Properly dried wood and properly "fitted" to your project you can go much wider. I have a dresser that I built in 1980 that has a solid Oak top made from 2 pieces of wood. 20" deep.
You can join 2, 6" pieces together.
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Metz's Rules: Take wider stock and rip to narrower (can't recall right now how wide but memory says 2 1/2"-3" wide) and end for end every other rip and re-glue. The thinking on this escapes me this early in the AM but I remember it having more to do with cupping, twisting and bowing of wider stock.
Metz was a long time writer for Wood & Wood Products magazine and well respected in the field. As best as I can remember Metz was not a hand gun owner but did advocate howitzer ownership.
UA100
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He advocated no more than 3" wide to help keep panels flat. Personally, I go up to 6-7" wide, but keep an eye on grain orientation in individual boards and adjacent boards. However, the figure of the wood has the final say.
Preston

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It depends.
Wide boards, improperly restrained or finished are more likely to cup or split. Note, that as far as splitting goes, glueups improperly restrained become wide boards.
Improperly restrained flat-sawn wide boards finished only on one side are more likely to cup than quartersawn or random-grained glueups. Glueups finished on one side only will still cup. In damp enough circumstances, so will plywood.
Don't even start on the reverse the smile versus consistent smile controversy.
If your boards are seated in dados and the grain runs the same direction as the sides they're seated in, it probably doesn't make a bit of difference. Cut the wood to maximize usage and finish both sides equally.

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This is all you need to know.......
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Rumpty

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I suppose I could be more specific.
The shelves will be 11 1/16" deep by 21" wide. (There will be an array of 6 shelves high by 4 shelves wide, with equally deep 3/4" risers between each column of shelves.) I had intended to finish both top and bottom equally with stain and polyeurethane. To fasten shelves to my bookshelf risers, I was going to use two dowels on each side, rather than inserting into dado cuts.
I am using #20 plate joiner biscuits in my glue up operations, about every 5 inches or so.
Thanks for the replies so far -- I welcome any further advice on this matter!
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"heyscott" wrote in message

Future stability will often depend upon how the wood was sawn from the log, but in most instances 6" widths would not be a problem at all if the wood is properly dried. Depending upon the grain, random widths will often look better in wide glueups ... less like a bowling alley or hardwood floor. Experiment and let your taste be your guide.
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I like your analogy to a bowling alley! Perhaps he should leave the spots off when he builds his bookshelf. oh yeah, and omit the foul line. :)
"The first 12 ft of all wooden lanes is made of maple, the next 46 feet is made of pine and the pin deck is made of maple" - Ruth Midgley, The Rule Book.
cheers!
dave
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Seems to me the whole alley should be Maple. IIRC the alley is only about 75' anyway. Maybe the pine is soft enough for the ball to finally start gripping and do its magical curving.
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you might be right about the pine allowing for curve balls. Once I learned to throw a hook, I was "hooked". :)
"It measures 60 ft (plus or minus 1/2 inch) from the foul line to the center of the number 1 pin spot. The total length of the lane is 62 feet 10 and 3/16 inches." - Sylvia Worth, Rules of the Game
dave
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snipped-for-privacy@swbell.net says...

Actually, it has nothing to do with the wood. Pine is used for economy's sake, and it is typically SYP. The approach and the first 15' of lane are maple to deal with the lofting of the bowling balls and the resulting impact made on the wood.
Today, many centers with wooden lanes breathe new life into the lanes by replacing the pin decks with adjustable height phenolic decks, and they use high pressure glue injection machines to bond the approach and head area boards together for less wear and tear.
Today's poly finishes on the lane produce an even surface that lane dressing (commonly known as "oil") is applied to. Believe me, I've seen many lane conditions where it wouldn't matter if you had sandpaper on the lanes - the ball wouldn't hook.
In the old days, lacquer and shellac were used as finishes, and they would wear out in the ball track area. Since everyone used some sort of rubber ball, the typical wear area was between the first and second arrows on the left and right side. Once the wear was pronounced, all you had to do in most cases was to drop the ball in that area and watch the fun.
Today, ball technology and lane dressings can conjure up some magic. Even an average bowler can make today's equipment hook 10-15 boards, regardless of talent or conditioner pattern. Unfortunately, like most things, a high tech ball goes for $150-200. And if you bowl tournaments or multiple leagues, it's not uncommon to carry 3-6 different bowling balls. Thank God they invented rolling bags!
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Regards,

Rick

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (heyscott) wrote in message

What's your timber like ? What are you most worried about, movement as shrinkage, or as warping ?
If your timber is from a small log (or near the centre), then there's an appreciable amount of curvature inside the board (just look at the end). It's quite possible that 4" boards from a narrow coppiced log will be much less stable against cupping than an 8" board from a wide log. Is this quarter sawn or flat sawn ? If it's quarter sawn then you can pretty much ignore warping in anything under 12" - although you still need to worry about linear shrinkage.
You may even find that a 12" board with the pith central is _more_ stable as two 6" boards than as three 4" boards. For the centres of large flat-sawn boards, the cupping is much worse in the middle than towards the sides. Either losing the middle strip, or at least getting it to the side of a ripped strip, is better cupping-wise than leaving it plonk in the centre of your most visible board.
If it's "typical" well-dried timber from a decent sized log, then 6" wouldn't worry me. I'll happily go to about 8" for built-in furniture without any real concerns. For small case pieces, or things with tight-fitting doors, then I'd regard 6" as tops. Of course, YMMV and it all depends on the board you have.
If you care about this stuff, and you want to learn to be able to predict it (which is a task to learn, but it's not rocket science) then get yourself either (or both) Hoadley's book "Understanding Wood" or the US Forest Products handbook (downloadable, or Lee Valley sell a nice printed version)
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