Any problems gluing woods of varying hardness? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-14-2016, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Any problems gluing woods of varying hardness?

I've made a few end grain cutting boards with different types of wood mixed together. One individual thought that over time I might have trouble with the different hardness of the woods I'd glued together. Mostly I used hard maple, hickory and black walnut, but I also included some accents of jatoba and purpleheart. He didn't explain what problems I might experience, and I didn't press him on it.

That was the first I'd heard of potential problems gluing together woods of varying hardness, and I wondered what other wood workers thought of it, and what I should do or avoid doing in the future? I can look at Janka hardness on the wood database--is that what I should be looking at? Is there a maximum difference in hardness I should work within/not go beyond? I see black walnut is Janka hardness of around 1000, but hickory can go as high as 2100. Purpleheart is 2500.

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post #2 of 5 Old 05-14-2016, 02:27 PM
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Unless you are gluing different woods in a pattern that will prevent one piece or another from expanding/contracting, there shouldn't be a problem.

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post #3 of 5 Old 05-14-2016, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, they're glued in a pattern. I have to ask, since cutting boards of this nature are made all the time, what should I be aware of when selecting woods to build them with? Is the difference between hard maple and black walnut too great? What about hickory and black walnut (which is even greater in terms of Janka hardness).
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-15-2016, 12:14 AM
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Different species can expand and contract at different rates but for the most part it would take decades before it would manifest into a problem.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-15-2016, 09:47 AM
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What I meant by gluing in a pattern - the checkerboard pattern should be no problem, the one on the lower right might be. Both the blue and the white horizontal pieces can prevent movement of the purple, white and red pieces from expanding or contracting, thus possibly causing a crack. Cutting boards finished in oil are probably less susceptible, as the oil helps prevent moisture gain/loss, but it is still possible for cracks to occur.

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