Planing drawer sides

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Forum topic by Cutzalot posted 09-29-2020 02:17 PM 235 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 665 days

09-29-2020 02:17 PM

I am building a desk that has drawers with 1/2” thick sides. Ordinarily, I will build drawers using 1/2” Baltic birch plywood, but the plan I am using calls for white oak hardwood sides. To make them, I used my jointer to flatten 1” thick white oak and then used my dewalt planer to plane it down to the 1/2” thickness. Unfortunately, the boards are not staying flat and are bowing as they get thinner making them useless as drawer sides. I am not sure what the problem is. My planer seems to be working fine. Any suggestions out there?

5 replies so far

View ChefHDAN's profile


1772 posts in 3732 days

#1 posted 09-29-2020 02:24 PM

Welcome to LJ Cutz, how is your stock sawn, and how dry is it? Wood is a fickle mistress and sometimes it all just comes down to mother nature.
2 things come to mind first,

A) Going from 4/4 to 1/2”, did you try to take equal amounts off of each side, or did you joint one face and then remove all of the stock from the opposite side to get to 1/2”

B) the best stock would be quartersawn, if you’re using flat sawn it can move quite a bit

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

View Aj2's profile


3414 posts in 2681 days

#2 posted 09-29-2020 02:31 PM

You need to sneak up to your final dimension.
Not only on thickness but length and width. Wood changes it shape when it loses moisture.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View Robert's profile


4048 posts in 2363 days

#3 posted 09-29-2020 02:44 PM

As Aj2 said, you can’t mill that much in one session. I’m assuming that’s what you did.

There are two basic principles: moisture content & internal stress.

To counter the moisture issue, you mill in stages. In your case maybe 1/8 – 3/16 per session, then put the material in stickers, put a weight on top or clamp, and let adjust for 24-48 hours.

You also want to mill equal passes off each side, to keep the moisture balance equal.

Usually internal stress will balance out too, but depends on how the wood was dried. Kiln dried wood can have more internal stress than air dried, something called “case hardening”.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7919 posts in 1595 days

#4 posted 09-29-2020 03:08 PM

i would have used 1/2 inch oak plywood :<)))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View CWWoodworking's profile


1092 posts in 1062 days

#5 posted 09-29-2020 08:36 PM

I’d go with 5/8” drawer sides. I think they look nicer and have less problems.

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