I want to put up a shelf on a wall that is close to a wood air tight
heater. The temperture difference is from 20 to 30 degrees, with a max
of about 80 degrees. I was going to use solid oak, but I am worried
about the expansion and contraction of the wood. Can Oak plywood be
used or is Poplar better? Also should I be concerned about what type of
finish I put on it?
Generally, the expansion and contraction of wood is a function of
humidity (and therefore moisture content in the wood) rather than
temperature. Having said that, warming things up will drop the
relative humidity and probably dry out the wood more.
The hardwoods all have different amounts of expansion in the face of
differnt moisture contents. Plywood would be far more stable. I doubt
it will matter much though. Just design things correctly to allow for
wood movement and you should be fine no matter what you use.
I don't think any finish would have a problem standing up to 80 degrees
You are missing the point; the temperature CAN get much higher than normal.
For instance, my chimney, about 3 feet up from the stove, is usually about
250 degrees. Once I foolishly loaded the stove up with kiln dried scraps
and it went up to 500 degrees. I expect a chimney fire would take it even
You're missing the point Toller. He is not seeing 250 degree temperatures
around his chimney. If he were, he could not stand to even be in the area.
He has taken readings and the highest he has seen is 80 degrees. It does
not matter what the flue temperature is - that is not what is been seen
radiated out. Yes - a chimney fire would result in higher temperatures. So
what? We don't build homes in anticipation of chimney fires, we operate to
prevent chimney fires. He did not ask if he could put a shelf 2" from his
stack, he asked about the risk of wood movement.
I assume you are 36" away from the stove and flue as required by code.
Any wood and finish should do. 80 degrees is not very hot when you consider
that people live in parts of the country that routinely get to 90 or 100
degrees for months at a time. And they have wood in their homes.
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