Preventing wood from cracking - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 5 Old 12-20-2012, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 6
View Zoe's Photo Album My Photos
Preventing wood from cracking

I picked up two ancient hand carders, about 200 years old. Hand carders are used to brush wool to prep it for spinning. The base is a wood paddle on top of which is affixed carding cloth (which is basically the same material as slicker dog brush, little metal hooks). Originally the cloth was attached with small nails. The original nails (and the cloth) are long gone. I want to use these for their intended purpose and purchase replacement cloth.

Here are the hand carders as they are (someone had glued some blue felt to them which I took off but haven't tidied up yet):

This is how they SHOULD look:

The carding cloth company suggested I use thin staples to reduce the chance of cracking the wood, which makes sense.

Is there anything else I can to reduce the risk to the wood? Like putting them in somewhere with high humidity or something? I have no idea... or is there a product that will help? Bear in mind that the carding cloth needs to be kept fairly taught.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Zoe is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 12-20-2012, 12:14 PM
Senior Member
Dave Paine's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 7,222
View Dave Paine's Photo Album My Photos
A very interesting project.

I can appreciate your concern with cracking.

This is not easy since you will not have any spare test material.

My own general observations on fasteners.

Thin fastener is better than thick - less wood being moved.

Faster installation is better than slow - crush the wood rather than force it apart.

I would want to apply whatever fastener you choose with a pneumatic brad/nail/staple gun. These are able to apply very thin brads/nails which would be impossible to hammer by hand - they would just bend.

The force of the pneumatic mechanism drives these into even hard woods.

Staples would have more holding capability for the card than small nail heads.

I would look for a gun which can use e.g., 1/2in staples. This is just a reference example. Many others. I have a Porter Cable brad gun which works well and a Grizzly brad/staple gun which also works well, but I like the PC more than the Grizzly.

Good luck and please post pictures of the final project.
Dave Paine is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 12-20-2012, 12:18 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: NW Pa
Posts: 2,933
View TimPa's Photo Album My Photos
since they make tacks and brads in many sizes, i would attampt to use the original holes. if the tack doesn't hold i would increase one (diameter) size until it does. supplementing with an adhesive, or double face tape, would help keeping the cloth in place while working.

the only (ole' timer) trick i know to help avoid splitting is to place the point of the nail opposite the grain direction. in other words, when viewing a nail from the sharp end, the bevels are usually in a diamond shape. place the longest points perpindicular to grain direction so the nail "cuts" the grain on the way in. i have seen this work. but many nails do not have the diamond shape, in which case i just make sure some points a re perpindicular to the grain.
TimPa is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 5 Old 12-20-2012, 01:34 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Coastal NC
Posts: 1,160
View HowardAcheson's Photo Album My Photos
The first thing to know is that wood expands and contracts across its long grain in response to changes in relative humidity. The movement is always on-going as the relative humidity changes in the environment in which it finds itself. So artificially adding or reducing moisture is not productive. Just because the wood is old, does not mean it is any dryer or wetter than newer wood. Its this moisture change that causes wood to warp.

I like the notion above of trying to use the existing nail or tack holes. Another approach the came to mind is to glue the carding cloth to the surface of the wood. Use something like 3M 77 Super Spray Adhesive. Of course, if you want to keep them traditional to the time, spray adhesive wouldn't work.

HowardAcheson is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 12-20-2012, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 6
View Zoe's Photo Album My Photos
Thank you all for your advice! I am not against using an adhesive however the carding cloth will likely need to be removed and replace some day (maybe in another 200 years!) so the cloth needs to be removable.
Zoe is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wood cracking, how to prevent skylark Woodturning 20 11-12-2018 01:59 PM
wood cracking glennbeasley Woodturning 6 11-19-2012 11:35 PM
Wood cracking wiretwister General Woodworking Discussion 5 09-27-2012 05:40 PM
how can I stop cracking in my wood! cms83 Woodturning 9 05-01-2012 10:01 PM
Wood cracking over time Bob Willing Woodturning 3 01-19-2009 09:09 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome