Recommended Max Width of a Hardwood Panel?


I am in the final stages of completing a Shaker-style seven-drawer dresser in which the plans call for attaching hardwood fronts to the plywood drawer boxes. In my case the four largest drawers each require a cherry front approximately 3/4 x 9" x 23". While I have rough-cut cherry planks of sufficient width to create the fronts, I am wondering about the wisdom of making each drawer front from a single piece of wood. Also, with only a 6" jointer, I have no easy way of face jointing a board that is 9" wide. My first concern is the stability of these fronts if cut from a wide plank of cherry. Would they cup, check or warp with humidity changes? Should one create them as one would glue up a panel, say, out of two 5" boards using biscuits or whatever? Of course, for sake of appearance the drawer fronts might be more attractive if made from a single piece of cherry (no grain differences etc.). The second concern, if a single piece is acceptable, is the planing of the rough cut cherry without first face jointing the material. I am concerned that the fronts might be parallel in thickness, but may come out bowed or warped. Any ideas on this matter?
Thanks in advance for your sage advice.
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Rip the boards, joint everything, then glue it back together. You can then plane the other face to final thickness.
Or, you could joint them on the planer - shim any areas that need it and run the boards through the planer taking small (1/64") passes. Once you get that face flat, remove the shims from the other side and plane it to final thickness. Picture-1000 words-etc. http://www.kyler.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id6
As long as all 6 sides are finished and you attach the face to the plywood, you won't have any problems with cupping or warping.
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drawer
6"
is
Stability of any plank depends on the orientation of the annual rings. The closer they parallel the surface of the plank, the more stable it is. Suggestion is to look at the planks as they now exist. If they're straight and true, plane and use. If they twist or bow, you'll have to joint, and would have had problems with full-width boards.
If you must build up the boards, consider a rip and slip on the originals. Rip at the point of maximum curvature, mark with triangles or whatever you use, and then match the figure by slipping one board lengthwise to join the pattern. Else, you have to choose boards of similar color, gluing quarter to quarter for most invisible.
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Finish both sides of the drawer front, install and be happy.
--
Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
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Drawer might stick IF your drawer front is inset and you have insufficient clearance. Otherwise, no problem.

I've had good results flattening 10.5" boards with my 8" jointer and 12" planer. Remove the jointer guard, make a 1/8" rabbet the width of your jointer, doublestick-tape a 1/4" piece of plywood or hardboard in the rabbet, flatten the other side in the planer, remove the plywood, flip over your stock and plane off the rabbet.
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