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Discussion Starter #1
Is there potential problems from joining softwoods and hardwoods?

I am thinking about using ash and cedar on a project and would be joining them on edge. Like an 8" wide piece of ash and a 1 1/2"-2" wide piece of cedar, then another piece of 8" ash and another piece of cedar.

Is this a good/bad idea?

Thanks,
Robert
 

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You just run a higher risk of the woods expanding/contracting at different rates possibly causing the joints to open a bit.
 

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Is there potential problems from joining softwoods and hardwoods?

I am thinking about using ash and cedar on a project and would be joining them on edge. Like an 8" wide piece of ash and a 1 1/2"-2" wide piece of cedar, then another piece of 8" ash and another piece of cedar.

Is this a good/bad idea?

Thanks,
Robert
There's always the 'potential' for problems. You didn't state how thick the wood will be. The thicker it is the greater the 'potential'.

If the woods are acclimated and finished properly, its environment may determine how stable it will stay. Without it having exposure to swings in temperature and humidity, you may not have a problem.








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Discussion Starter #4
The thickness would be 3/4". I am in Houston, but the chest would probably be in Chicago for a few years, then who knows where. It would be an inside piece and not exposed to outside weather any length of time.

Maybe I should just go with ash and walnut. I wanted to use the cedar because I have a supply of it already, but if it may cause issues I suppose I will go another way.

Thanks,
Robert
 

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Being scientific about it, I looked up shrinkage rates and moisture content (MC) changes for the woods. The approximate tangential shrinkage for ash (black and white) is 7.8%. There are four cedars listed with shrinkage’s from 6 to 4.9%. Radial shrinkage (as in quarter sawn wood) is less and closer among the woods. The average MC of interior work doesn’t change much through the year in Houston averaging about 12% (high humidity all year), but in Chicago it will vary from 12% in summer to 7% in winter (very dry in the winter). With that said, align the grain so the radial grain (quatersawn appearance) is oriented where you want the least shrinkage (if that’s a realistic option that is) and use a good barrier finish. I’d guess (note the word guess) it seems like the difference in the shrinkage between the two woods in ¾ inch thickness is real but minimal, so you are not likely to have bigtime problems.
 

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The thickness would be 3/4". I am in Houston, but the chest would probably be in Chicago for a few years, then who knows where. It would be an inside piece and not exposed to outside weather any length of time.

Maybe I should just go with ash and walnut. I wanted to use the cedar because I have a supply of it already, but if it may cause issues I suppose I will go another way.

Thanks,
Robert
Aside from the technical aspects I have to wonder why you would consider a potential issue with cedar when you could use the walnut and have a more stable product and one that would look better at the same time...just askin'. That's what I would do.
:blink: bill
 
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Aside from the technical aspects I have to wonder why you would consider a potential issue with cedar when you could use the walnut and have a more stable product and one that would look better at the same time...just askin'. That's what I would do.
:blink: bill

That's a valid question. The OP's desire to use Cedar was because he had a supply of it. Whether other species would look better is a matter of personal opinion. Like it's been said there may not be a potential problem with using Cedar. It's entirely possible that the Walnut or Ash used could be unstable in their own right for one reason or another. So, it's pot luck either way.

Starting off with what may be considered the best suited materials, may be the way to go, and then again...you never know.








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Discussion Starter #8
Well the hope chests (3) that I am making are for my daughters (2 are stepdaughters, but they ARE my daughters), one of which will be going to college in Chicago. The ash and cedar are from their great grandfather's farm, no walnut on the place. I thought it would be cool to have the chests made solely from a family perspective. But I also want them to be right without issues.

I will use the info here to make my decision. thanks again for all your replies.

Robert
 

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...The ash and cedar are from their great grandfather's farm, no walnut on the place. I thought it would be cool to have the chests made solely from a family perspective. But I also want them to be right without issues....
That’s probably the best reason to give your original suggestion a try. And if it cracks twenty years hence, they have a cracked chest that Dad made! That’s worth quite a lot, crack or no crack. Good luck with it!
 

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Interestingly enough I'm doing some restoration work on a mansion from the mid 1880's where the doors are cedar on one side and ash on the other. Each is 3/4" thick to produce an 1 1/2" door and I can tell you that as of today there are no issues with the doors.
 
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