Reply by jerryminer

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Posted on Clamping technique? Is this a thing? Question from a novice!

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960 posts in 2353 days

#1 posted 01-27-2018 01:33 AM

would a biscuit joiner help?
- Shaneswoodcuts

Yes and no. A biscuit joiner will make cross-grain joints stronger (and help with alignment), but it won’t stop wood movement.

End-grain-to-long-grain joints are inherently weak, so biscuits (or other forms of splines/tenons) can help to strengthen a cross-grain joint. But when the size of the joint (i.e. width of the joined parts) gets too large, and the piece is in a place where the humidity changes, then wood movement can wreak havoc—which can show up as a crack in the piece, a failed joint, or other mayhem.

If your boards don’t see humidity changes, they will be OK, but in most places the humidity fluctuates and wood movement results.

I suggest—again—that you do some reading on wood movement so you understand how to design your projects to allow for it. Just as designers of steel bridges have to allow for the expansion of steel when the temperature rises, we woodworkers have to allow for wood movement when we design wood projects.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

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