Solid lumber lay out

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by MasonJay posted 11-19-2020 11:25 PM 822 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MasonJay's profile


11 posts in 440 days

11-19-2020 11:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question slabs sappelle diy mahogany tablesaw jointer finishing

I’m building a media console built from 5/4 sapelle. As I worked through building this I had to glue up slabs that were going to achieve 18” depth, therefor I glued up wider/longer than needed then will trim later. I’m using rough lumber so the widths of the boards vary from 5” to 6 1/4”.

Any one of the combinations during dry fit seemed to yield just shy of 18” or largely over so I decided to rip a board in half and slip it in to the middle of the glue up along the way to get my slabs about 19”-21” wide. What I noticed was that the next day before glue up, these thinner boards now twisted and were not square. No worries, glue up hadn’t occurred yet so I squared them up and put them back in place. They have held square since then and are glued up somewhere in the middle.

What I would like to know is what will happen when I go to trim my slabs to final width and it leaves an end piece narrow such as the one I ripped and placed earlier? Will this twist? What are your recommendation for building slabs oversized to later be cut down:

Should I rip all boards to equal width?
If so, should I rip these to a width that, when added together, will equal my final dimensions?

Thanks for the input.

7 replies so far

View Lazyman's profile


8008 posts in 2637 days

#1 posted 11-19-2020 11:57 PM

Any idea what the moisture content of the boards are? How were they stored before you bought them?

How long have you had them in your shop? If you just bought them, it is a good idea to let them sit for a while to let them aclimate to your shop before you start working on them. Even better, let them sit inside the house to reach equilibrium where they will permanently be.

Is your goal to leave them rough? If you wait to plane the surface until after glue up, you will likely see more wood movement. Usually, you mill all 4 surfaces thicker and wider than you need and then let them sit for a few days at least before milling to final dimension because this first milling will often cause movement. Initial milling can relieve some internal stress so it is common to see movement so you need to leave some room for fixing that. I would leave the width as wide as possible and wait until after glue up to cut the entire panel to final width.

Note that after you do the initial milling, you need to make sure that you do not leave them sitting on a bench or the floor. This can lead to uneven moisture loss or gain and cause or at least aggravate warping. The same is true after you glue up the panel. Either put stickers underneath if horizontal or lean them against a wall or bench so that air can circulate on both sides.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View CWWoodworking's profile


2210 posts in 1429 days

#2 posted 11-20-2020 01:19 AM

How long?

A 3” wide board say 60-70” long will probably always have a little bow in it.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6489 posts in 4063 days

#3 posted 11-20-2020 01:49 AM

I often trim all the boards of a glueup down to similar dimensions. My goals are usually to achieve the best overall look, and avoid a narrow board on one edge.

It may feel like a waste to trim nice wide boards down, but often it yields the best panel.

Best of luck

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Rich's profile


7471 posts in 1839 days

#4 posted 11-20-2020 03:33 AM

I often trim all the boards of a glueup down to similar dimensions. My goals are usually to achieve the best overall look, and avoid a narrow board on one edge.

It may feel like a waste to trim nice wide boards down, but often it yields the best panel.

- pintodeluxe

+1. Random widths look commercial where they use whatever pieces they have. Unless the joint almost disappears from perfect matching, it looks much better to have either a center joint, or a center board on the panel.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Robert's profile


4749 posts in 2730 days

#5 posted 11-20-2020 11:09 AM

It depends a lot on the grain and color match. I might use a narrow strip if it blends in really well.

If not I rip one or more boards to make it work out. Actually sometimes this helps me grain match and Imend up doing to anyway.

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

View BlueRidgeDog's profile


885 posts in 1029 days

#6 posted 11-20-2020 03:58 PM

It is recommended to mill lumber generally at first, let it sit so release any stress (especially if splitting/ripping), then do your final milling. They will move on you from time to time (assuming your wood is dry).

As to the glue up, that is up to you. Some will rip similar widths, some are tight with lumber and need all they can get. I personally will rip a wide board into two simply because I often don’t trust it not to warp.

An old school maker friend (long dead) would pick the best most amazing wood for the raised panels when doing a job. He would position grain just so and knew where in the board he wanted the panel to come out of, but then be certain to rip it in half so that over the years, the panel looked good, but was stable.

If you use the up/down method of dealing with cupping, then you also want generally sized parts in the top.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6748 posts in 3559 days

#7 posted 11-20-2020 05:24 PM

Is there some compelling reason you couldn’t make it 17” deep instead of 18”?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics