If I was building this for myself, I would just go ahead and do it. But it
is for someone else, and it will be real embaressing if it falls apart.
I am building a butternut table/cabinet. I would like to use red oak as a
secondary wood; partly to save money (oak is half the price of butternut
here) and partly to add some strength in certain places. My handy dandy
movement chart says that butternut moves 0.10"/ft and oak moves 0.13"/ft
with a 7% moisture change. (I am only concerned with length; width will not
matter). Is this enough of a different to matter where 4' pieces are
screwed together? How about glued?
No other wood (except for cherry, which would be an obviously bad choice) is
as close to butternut as oak. But is it close enough?
Another wood movement question...
Everyone says plywood is stable. Does that mean it doesn't move at all (in
which case edge gluing should be a problem), or that it only moves like
other woods do with the grain?
Lengthwise movement is not an issue, regardless of the species. Changes in
moisture content produce negligible changes in length.
Why do you say width will not matter?
If width really doesn't matter, and you're concerned only about movement along
the length of the boards, well.... length doesn't matter.
It isn't completely stable. It will change in thickness with changes in
moisture content, and it can warp as well.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Width is actually what "matters" ... dimensional instability of wood in
"length" is generally negligible and can ususally be ignored in most
I would say that you are smart in choosing woods with similar stability
characteristics, as long as you understand how said wood reacts to factors
like relative humidity.
Plywood does "move", so does MDF for that matter ... ANY wood, or wood
product is subject to dimensional instability with changes in relative
humidity and temperature.
However, the relative movement in sheet goods is generally so slight that it
can be effectively ignored for most woodworking projects, particularly with
the higher grade products.
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