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post #1 of 7 Old 12-22-2017, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Cedar Help

Completely amateur woodworker here. I am wondering if anyone can offer advice as to how I could have prevented the crack in the attached photo. This is a table top I have been experimenting with made out of 2 x 2 cedar. There are actually a total of 3 cracks in different places so I don't think it was an issue with one particular piece of wood. The wood was stored outside but under a canopy at the lumber yard. My garage is not climate controlled and I actually made this in the fall so it wasn't overly hot or humid outside. Again, completely amateur so i'm sorry if this is a dumb question. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-22-2017, 10:47 PM
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Assuming the two boards on the ends are glued on that is what caused the crack. It had little to do with how the wood was stored. It is destine to crack in several more places. A wooden panel like that expands and contracts, mostly shrinks. The boards on the ends don't shrink in length so when when the panel shrinks it has no option but to split to re-leave the stress.

What you need to do when making a top like that is to research breadboard ends on a table top. The panel has a long tenon on it and the board on the ends have a dado on them. When it is assembled it is only glued in the middle and the rest of it is either doweled or has screws and has elongated holes in the tenon so if the panel shrinks it's allowed to do so.

I've been assuming it's a table top. I think you will find cedar isn't a very good wood for a table top. It's very soft and damages easily.
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post #3 of 7 Old 12-22-2017, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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I never would have thought of that thanks! Sounds so simple now. I know cedar is soft mostly I'm just playing around but if I do end up going this route the top will be glass and the perimeter will be wrapped with 1/8" x 2" aluminum TIG welded in the corners for protection, and the glass to aluminum transition will be sealed to keep liquids out.
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-22-2017, 11:42 PM
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Liquids isn't really a problem, a good finish can give you that protection. It's just wood movement that needs to be considered. I think this is probably the best explanation I've seen. https://www.woodmagazine.com/woodwor...ery/breadboard
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-23-2017, 05:43 AM
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I believe that it is pretty universal that wood grows across the grain , not with it. Knowing that helps when you design something with cross grain joints.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-23-2017, 09:39 AM
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Steve gave you some great advice, I'll add just a little bit more to it. YOU are not the first to do a constricted joint of some sort so don't feel bad.....IF we all are truthful sometime in our beginnings did one.....sadly there's still a lot that do them. Just do a search here about tabletop issues/problems, there's a LOT of info AND arguments over what to do or correct. It's usually a cross between starting moisture content of the lumber and the final destination MC.....this is where proper joinery needs to be learned. Jay Whitecloud here has GREAT info as he works for a living dealing with higher MC wood that takes long term movements over years to finalize (It actually NEVER stops changing, it usually gets to a decent balance point that the movement isn't AS NOTICED!)

Also when building a long table. most have shorter breadboards at what most consider the ends for a reason.....it's a shorter wood movement so it's less noticed from summer to winter and back transition. On a law of average once everything gets MC balanced to it's "home" enviroment....a 42" top will move approx (this depending on location and humidity) a 1/4" across grain with some woods moving more and others less, which equals out (if anchored solid in middle) to approx 1/8" each side or way. Length wise there is very little movement in the wood. The direction your "breadboards" run you can expect double as you have a LONG cross grain area of movement.

There's wood charts with movement expectancy of all the woods produced, there's joinery charts, RH vs MC charts, etc., etc. that need to be researched and used/learned.

Sealing/finishing.....BOTH.....BOTH......BOTH sides (top and bottom) have to be sealed. This helps with MC changes and warpage.....a finish ONLY slows the MC changes. Example...IF you only finished one side as the MC made a big change/swing the unfinished/unsealed side would move quicker than the finished/sealed side causing the wood to move more/faster on one side and cup/warp.

Interesting design....post us some pics once corrected and finished!!!!

Have a Blessed and Prosperous day in Jesus's Awesome Love, Tim
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Reveling God's awesome beauty while creating one of-a-kind flitches and heirlooms.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-24-2017, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advise this is all very helpful. I think that may be a little complicated for me on this one so I'll probably just eliminate those side boards on rev2 since my design covers the end grains anyway.
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