need drawer front advice

Hi,
I am making solid cherry (planed to 3/4") drawer fronts for my kitchen cabinets (25 drawers in all). The heights will be 5, 8, 10, and 13 inches. For most of them I have wide enough boards to use a single board; a few will be glue-ups.
The cabs are face frame, with full overlay fronts, but no horizontal members other than the top and bottom rails. I had planned to leave 1/8" gap between the drawer fronts as they stack on top of each other.
My questions:
how concerned do I need to be about the wider boards cupping? What can I do to minimize the chance of that happenning. I read of someone who would plane the lumber almost to final thickness, let it sit ahile to do whatever movement it was going to do, then do the final planing (although wouldn't you also need to face joint it again before planing if it did cup?)
How much seasonal variation in width can I expect? In other words, is 1/8" enough gap, or will the fronts expand across the grain and swell the gap shut? The house is in Greenville, SC. We use the AC in the summer, but there is always some fall and spring time when we dont need to heat or cool.
Can I screw thru the box into the cherry fronts in all four corners, or will that cause problems if there is expansion.
Thanks for any advice or suggestions...
david
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Quarter sawn wood will minimize the cupping.
If rift sawn is used, be sure and finish the fronts on all sides. If one side has no sealer on it, the moisture content can rise on the board and cause the cupping.
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Lowell Holmes wrote:

thanks for the reply...I already have the lumber and it's not quartersawn...I had intended to finish all sides with Waterlox Original...
david

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IF you plane the boards ( I assume you are using flatsawn & not quartersawn boards) to almost finished thickness & are concerned about cupping you have options. 1. before planing - other than skip planing -, joint one edge, rip to 3" (or smaller) & reverse the grain every other board & glue up-- (see Frier Cabinetmaking & millwork-- I think that's where I get my info besides my experience) - This has the disadvantage of not getting a perfect grain match on wide boards. It does have the advantage of minimizing cupping.
2. go ahead & plane to 1/4" above finish-- let stabilize in the house ( where the cabinetry will be used) & replane--(how long to stabilize?-- weigh the boards -- or a sample board when you bring it in. When the board stops loosing weight it has stabilized to it's enviornment) No need to face joint-- If the piece is cupped, find a flat piece of plywood or MDF, Use hot glue to reinforce the cup (cove up) edges - easy to scrape off later --& run the board with light cuts through the surface planer. Reverse the board when flat, remove the hot gluw with a chisel & plane the other side--- I didn't believe this would work until I tried it on a bowed and twisted piece of walnut I had carelessly cut from a deadfall tree last year. (never will I face plane on the jointer again)
What ever you do-- make sure you put equal amounts of finish on all faces & edges of the finished product or you will be dealing with cup
"""How much seasonal variation in width can I expect? In other words, is 1/8" enough gap, or will the fronts expand across the grain and swell the gap shut? The house is in Greenville, SC. We use the AC in the summer, but there is always some fall and spring time when we dont need to heat or cool"""
Do you open all the windows when it rains? . 1/8" is really small-- I'd use maybe 3/16" He He-- If the wood is stabilized before you finish cut & plane, I wouldn't imagine that it (cherry) would move more than that over 13 inches. ( that woulld be 3/32 each way) I made a couch out of air dried Oak in Houston in an unheated shop, Moved it North to Plano into an air conditioned enviroment & it shrank about 1/4" over 30" over a period of a year. I had some edge grain boards mating with endgrain boards"-- newbie mistake- This was 35 years ago Of course Oak isn't Cherry-- just used this example to illustrate extremes in my situation.. I imagine others who have had more experience in NC with Cherry will be able to give you more informed opinions on this aspect of your question.
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phil,
thanks for the very informative post...I just got off the phone with a ww friend of mine. He suggested for the cupping in the wider fronts to put screws with washers thru oversized holes in the 4 corners (with the screw heads inside the box). This should hold the front flat against the box, and allow movement without cracking. I will have a single pull in the center, and 2 Blum drawer adjusters also lined up across the center to hold the middle. I am thinking if there is too much expansion I can selectively remove the front and joint some more off the offending edge.
One of the boards is 15" wide, 10 ft long. I plan to use this one across the top 2 rows of drawer fronts in the 8 ft. long island. The top row is 5". the one below is 8", so I will have a nice grain match all the way across...
the trick with the MDF or plywood: are you laying the cupped board on top of the MDF, then supporting the raised (cupped) edges with blocks or shims before running it thru the planer?
thanks again,
david
Phil at small (vs at large) wrote:

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Lay the cupped board on the MDF ( actualy I used birch ply, as I have some)- cupped side UP- Like you are cupping your hands for a drink from the water spigot. Then use your hot glue gun to 'shim' the board up on all sides relative to the 'carrier' board- make sure it doesn't wobble at all. If it does, use more hot glue. I use a LOT of hot glue on both edges, little pyramids of it, to stabilize the cupped board. When planing, I take really light cuts so as not to force the cup out of the board i'm planing -- maybe 1/64th at first then 1/32nd at most . I found that planing short lengths works best, certainly no longer than 24 " or maybe 6" less than your carrier board length. I found that my previously lacquered carrier board broke away from the plane stock ( board I was planing) & I had to manually push the carrier through so the board being planed wouldn't fall off the end prematurely. You might watch for this. I imagine that an unfinished carrier board will have more 'tack' for the hot glue. ( small brads, positioned in line with the edge of the board being planed might help keep the hot glue from slipping, but I imagine this might be too much trouble & I havn't had to resort to it yet)
When you flip the board over to plane the other side, remove the carrier board, & just crank the planer down to 'touch ' the board & plane as usual .
Hope this helps. Phil
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thanks Phil...I have never used hot glue, so didn't know you could pile it up like that...
check out this video from FW
http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/wvt095.asp
david
Phil at small (vs at large) wrote:

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