Best solid wood to resist warping

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Forum topic by Duckarrowtypes posted 10-29-2010 03:51 PM 6207 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Duckarrowtypes's profile


69 posts in 4790 days

10-29-2010 03:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood cnc stability warp quarter sawn milling

I make these clamshell-style cases for my photographs from 5-ply Baltic birch plywood and lately I’ve been considering making them out of solid wood.

The halves are about 4.5×5.5” CNC routed leaving an 1/4” thick top and 1/4” thick walls. Basically I hog out a big pocket/cavity so I can put the photograph inside (see attached images)

In redesigning this for solid wood I’m really concerned about warping. I think that I should use quarter-sawn wood first of all no matter what species. Would you suggest that also? Are there any strategies you can suggest to keep the pieces from warping? Kiln dried? Cross-grain strain-relief cuts underneath the photograph and velvet? Laminating with cross-grain veneer under the photograph and velvet?

Also while you’re at it I’m open to hearing strategies on concealed hinges for this kind of thing. I was hoping to use the “secret” barrel hinges that wouldn’t require a cutaway on the hinge side.


3 replies so far

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3958 days

#1 posted 10-29-2010 05:32 PM

Definately stick to quartersawn. It’s always going to be more stable. Also stick with clean straight grain. Another thing you can do is to flatten the board and only partially hollow it out. Then let it sit for a few days and repeat. If you go through this process several times only taking off a little material at a time you’ll be allowing the board to do most of the warping it will ever want to do. This is the process that things like pool sticks go through when they are manufactured.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 3716 days

#2 posted 10-29-2010 05:37 PM

After you make the pieces be sure to seal and finish all sides. Every top, bottom, side, lip, cove, etc.
I really like the concept. My wife likes photography and would enjoy something like this for her favorite photos.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4059 days

#3 posted 10-29-2010 05:40 PM

Here’s one of those … “I think this is right, but could somebody verify….” that I’m known for….

Verify the moisture content is between 8-9% before you start in. That may mean the wood needs to dry out a bit, or to acclimate to your shop’s conditions.

You may need to alter this strategy, for example, if your shop tends to be humid, and you tend to ship these to dry climates.

The key—in addition to Don’s comments about initial selection—will be to limit seasonal expansion.

There may also be some finishes (eg, thickly applied varnish) that tend to “seal” in the moisture better than others. Other LJs might know, or a Google Search might tell. All finish tends to help stabilize MC, but I’d guess that some do it better than others.

-- -- Neil

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