Joining oak to pine for a chessboard? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 05-05-2014, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Joining oak to pine for a chessboard?

I've been lurking for a while, figured it was time to finally make a post.

My brother in law has this thing going where he reclaims wood and does all these great projects, so I work for a restoration company and decided maybe I could find ways to salvage wood from burned down houses, scrap, and any other way wood is wasted. My easiest access to decent lumber has been through pallets. I'm very experienced in carpentry, but I don't do much finishing work. Did a table a few years back, but that's it.

So, I'm considering doing a few chessboards. I'd rather stay to my current idea of only repurposing lumber, but if I have no choice, I will go buy some. My idea was to use pine framing for the light squares and red oak from pallets for the dark ones. I know joining pine and oak together is not recommended, however, for something as small as a 16"x16" chessboard, would it be such a bad idea? Also planning on having an oak frame around it. So, with all that adhesive holding it together from all sides, plus each individual square, would the different moving qualities still have a major effect? If that can't work out, my other idea was to use all oak, stain half the strips, do the glue up, then finish. But I'm thinking the finishing work will probably sand off all the stain.

Also, I do not have a planer or jointer. I'm doing all this with a table saw, hand planer, power planer, belt sander (and various others of course). Would love to have a jointer/planer eventually, but it's not in the cards right now. So, any lumber I get has to already be reasonably dimensioned.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Firestarter; 05-05-2014 at 10:39 AM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 05-06-2014, 07:20 AM
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You won't have any problems gluing oak to pine. The problem you might experience is pallet wood isn't normally kiln dried so you will have more than usual problems with wood movement. If that is all you have to work with I would do it and see what happens. If you could tongue and groove the joints it would help.
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post #3 of 4 Old 05-07-2014, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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Actually, I ended up reconsidering. Found some other uses for the pallet wood, and ended up just going to Lowe's and grabbing some cedar and pine for one board, and some oak and poplar for the other.

Thanks for the info on the pallet wood though, the project I decided to use it for is having some movement problems and that pretty much explains it.

Last edited by Firestarter; 05-07-2014 at 07:18 AM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 05-24-2014, 03:00 PM
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Couple of serious design problems with you plans.

First Oak and pine have lots of differences in their expansion factors. Gluing one to the other will create unequal tensions and the field joints will likely fail.

Second, you can't have a surrounding frame. Again, the field will expand and contract with changes in relative humidity but the frame will not expand and contract. Something is going to have to give. Things like chessboards are typically made using veneers glued to a composition substrate like plywood or MDF.

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