Please help me not ruin my project before it begins

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Forum topic by Phalanx1862 posted 07-10-2019 03:32 PM 373 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 19 days

07-10-2019 03:32 PM

Hey everyone, first time posting here. Few questions about wood acclimation, if y’all have the time. I’m getting ready purchase about 20 board feet of red oak for a pair of nightstands and probably 3 board feet of walnut for a cutting board, this weekend. Since I’m buying it locally from woodcraft, I don’t expect the relative humidity to change much, so I plan on letting the oak acclimate in my non climate controlled garage for at least 2 weeks before flattening. I’m not too sure about how long to acclimate the walnut, being that a cutting board has so much glue in it, should I really worry that much about warp? In regards to the oak, is it advisable to leave the boards as I buy them(more than likely around 7 in wide and 8 feet long) and wait, or cut them to rough length and width for the project parts and then wait? I understand that I shouldn’t mill for flatness and thickness yet, but it seemed to me that length shouldn’t matter since I don’t expect the wood to get longer. So, would I be introducing the boards to cupping/twisting by cutting to rough width now? If y’all could help me out, I’d be very appreciative, even though the oak is relatively cheap, I’d hate to waste any more than I’ve already planned for.

6 replies so far

View ChefHDAN's profile


1417 posts in 3268 days

#1 posted 07-10-2019 04:16 PM

Welcome to LJ,
since you’ve talked about milling and flattening, I’m going to assume you’ve got a jointer and planer. I don’t particularly buy much wood from Woodcraft as I think their prices run way higher than what I get in rough stock at my sawyer. I peeked at WoodFinder for VA beach and Yukon Lumber Company is also suggested, and looking at the site I linked for them, they have a great selection in many species and thickness.

As for the moment I’ve never had any of the disasters so many are fearful of, I work out of a 2 car garage in southern MD and have similar humidity conditions. My sawyer stores outside in open air, and I’m generally buying and starting the milling process within a few days of purchase. A lot of movement issues are also more about the wood and the process too, i.e. ripping a board and stress inside makes it move, or planing for thickness and removing the majority of the waste from only one side.

In my process I layout the stock and use chalk to rough out the layouts and then rough cut 1/2” wider, and at least an inch longer. Depending on how much layout, I’m usually thickness-ing on the same or next day. One day I’ll likely kick myself for not buying a moisture meter but so far now real problems in the past 20 years.

Go make sawdust!

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Manitario's profile


2762 posts in 3301 days

#2 posted 07-10-2019 04:37 PM

Cutting to length won’t affect the warping/cupping. I wouldn’t rip them to width before acclimatizing; I’ve had wood warp significantly after ripping it. I generally let the wood I bring into my shop acclimatize for several weeks then roughly flatten it and plane it, then let it acclimatize for a few more days before doing the final flattening/thicknessing.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View LesB's profile


2126 posts in 3861 days

#3 posted 07-10-2019 04:43 PM

Your concern about acclimatizing the wood should be focused on the difference between where the work is done and where the item will be used. If you acclimatize and build it in an unconditioned air environment, shop or garage, and then take it into a conditioned (air conditioned, de-humidified) house the moisture content of the wood could change enough to cause problems. For example I have made things in Oregon that was taken to Arizona and they developed warping or cracks because of the humidity difference. You may have to condition the wood in the house and then move it back and forth from the shop to the house during construction and application of a finish….or air condition your shop.

I agree with ChefHDAN that Woodcraft has some excellent lumber but because it is “hand” selected for resale the price is very high compared to a business that only sells lumber. Most lumber places will let you do some selection from the stock they have on display and usually offer a greater variety of not only wood but sizes and thicknesses.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Phalanx1862's profile


3 posts in 19 days

#4 posted 07-10-2019 09:25 PM

Thanks for the replies folks! I was afraid that ripping to rough width might affect warping, as I was hoping to rip two of the boards in half, then break down to rough lengths and leave them. Looks like I’ll have to wait on that, such is life I suppose. Thanks also for looking out for me in regards to lumber pricing, but in this particular instance woodcraft is only around 20 cents more per b/f, and is WAY more convenient to get to. Les, I also appreciate the advice on shop vs home seasoning. I have made a few larger projects using construction grade materials, and bringing them in from the garage doesn’t seem to affect them throughout the year, so I’m hoping that kiln dried hardwood would do just as well. Thanks again, y’all!

View Woodknack's profile


12842 posts in 2798 days

#5 posted 07-11-2019 07:24 PM

I would wait and do all the milling right before you use it and here’s why: if any board does bow or cup, it may influence which boards you use where. The easiest way to diminish bow is cutting the board shorter and narrower for cup. And the best way to avoid excessive wood movement is lumber selection. Last time I was at the lumber yard the guy quipped that if I stayed much longer I would start getting a paycheck.

-- Rick M,

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3 posts in 19 days

#6 posted 07-12-2019 05:32 PM

Lol, I like it! I hadn’t considered that, good food for thought. Thanks!

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