Stable Wood for Cabinet Construction - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-30-2020, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Stable Wood for Cabinet Construction

I hope to replace all my slab kitchen cabinet doors with shop built shaker style doors this year. I've the tools, the experience, and the knowledge. However, in my many, many years of woodworking I've never been able to figure out how to guarantee stable solid wood components.



A recent acquisition at the home center is a good example: I selected the absolute best piece of 1x8x 8' poplar that was in the rack. It was straight as an arrow and flat as a pancake. I brought it home about 45 days ago, and stored in my wood shop, which is in a separate building. When I am using the shop --- which is most days --- it is heated or air conditioned for about six hours of 24.


Yesterday, I pulled the piece from the stack to begin layout for a project, and the thing had a length long twist and some slight cupping. This drives me crazy!


There's no way I would spend the time and money to do all the cabinet door work unless I was able to MUCH IMPROVE the way I select stock. What do I need to do?
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-30-2020, 05:24 PM
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Stable Wood for Cabinet Construction

The best boards to pick are those that appear quarter sawn with all the growth rings perpendicular to the surface. When flat cutting logs there are always a few choice cuts near the middle of the board and you should keep an eye out for them and snatch them up when you find them. Other smart woodworkers will be looking for those few choice cuts as well.

Cut your poplar up into small style and rail pieces and it won’t matter if there is a long twist to your board.
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-30-2020, 06:56 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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What he said ^

Poplar is typically pretty stable, but an 8" wide piece is prone to cupping. I wouldn't trust an 8" piece of any wood to remain perfectly flat, although I've had good luck with Red Oak remaining flat enough for book shelves.


Your solid wood cabinet door insert should be made from several 3" or so pieces glued together using alternating end grain from smiles to frowns to


Vertical grain, quartersawn, is much less likely to cup, than plain sawn, smiley faced grain. Box stores most likely will not carry it for long, if they even stock it.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-31-2020, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Poplar is typically pretty stable, but an 8" wide piece is prone to cupping. I wouldn't trust an 8" piece of any wood to remain perfectly flat, although I've had good luck with Red Oak remaining flat enough for book shelves.


I'm just using that piece as an example of how wood quality can change between purchase and construction of parts.



Your solid wood cabinet door insert should be made from several 3" or so pieces glued together using alternating end grain from smiles to frowns to

The shaker door inserts will be made from plywood, so no worries about that stability.

Vertical grain, quartersawn, is much less likely to cup, than plain sawn, smiley faced grain. Box stores most likely will not carry it for long, if they even stock it.

I probably can get quartersawn at my hardwood dealer, but planing rough stock is not my favorite shop activity. Plus, his store is almost an hour away.


Now wondering: would a moisture meter tell me anything? Or, perhaps make extra parts, and leave them for a period of time, culling out anything not perfectly flat before assembling?
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-02-2020, 06:08 PM
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I dont buy my wood from a home center. I buy it from a lumber/Hardwood yard/supplier. I think you get better wood then from your typical home center. You never know how te home center stored the wood prior to being stacked in the store. Make sure its kiln dried with a low moisture content to
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-05-2020, 09:56 AM
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Growth ring orientation--quarter sawn or flat sawn--is one good indicator of stability. Growth ring spacing is another. Slow grown wood with narrow growth rings is more stable, especially if it has to be cut into narrow pieces. When radiata pine with 4-5 growth rings per inch started arriving here from South America, trim carpenters loved it for the wide, long clear pieces. Molder operators hated it because it twisted and bowed whenever it was stress relieved by ripping or rabbeting.
Home centers are catering to carpenters, not cabinetmakers, as their customers. Dealers that cater to cabinetmakers are a much better choice for stable wood.
A moisture meter certainly helps, but it won't tell you if lumber is case hardened, among other defects, by rushing it through the kiln. The whole process start to finish is different for carpentry lumber and manufacturing lumber.
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-06-2020, 11:57 AM
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Kiln dried lumber should be pretty stable, but keep in mind the lumber is acclimated to Lowe's & if the humidity in your shop is different, it has to re-acclimate.

While re-acclimating, there has to be equal air flow on both sides of the board or bad things can happen. Do this by using stickers, or even leaning the board vertically on edge.

But wood is wood you never know what its going to do.

If possible, its best to buy dimensional lumber from a hardwood supplier.

The best way to salvage a board like this is to rip it into one or more pieces depending on the amount of cup, then rejoint, reglue and remill.

Robert
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