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Forum topic by MasonJay posted 08-16-2021 08:02 PM 218 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 431 days

08-16-2021 08:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut bandsaw tablesaw milling joining dresser furniture longevity

Hi all,

I am looking to build a second and third piece of furniture that will be a bedroom dresser set, one will be a smaller scaled down version of the bigger dresser for variety. In the recent past I built a TV ‘credenza’ that was made from quarter sawn sapele.

You can see that here…

It is my understanding of quarter sawn was that was the most stable cut of wood to build long lasting furniture. That’s what I’m after, longevity in my builds. I had access to a domino machine to help strengthen the butt joints and I can use that again for this next build.

PROBLEM: My wife really wants to use premium walnut for the color and wood grain but I’m not against using the quarter sawn sapele again. The issue I’m having with the walnut is the fact that it is flat sawn and I thought that was more unstable/prone to moving. I will go through the milling process carefully and not rush it, but I’m not sure how flat sawn boards hold up over time on butt joints or in a slab once glued together as a box. Looking for any input from the forum on how you have mitigated or addressed the issue with using solid lumber.

The design of these next 2 pieces will be similar to the tv unit w/ simple butt joints, maybe a rabbet with dominos or dowels. Of course, there will also be drawers instead of doors like the TV. I’ve searched many videos and it looks like others also use flat sawn boards for their builds but it’s only a snap shot in time, not fast forwarded 7 years and how it’s held up.

Does my concern make sense? Is it worth the while worrying about it?

Thank you all

2 replies so far

View splintergroup's profile


5848 posts in 2463 days

#1 posted 08-16-2021 08:22 PM

All woods change dimension with changes in moisture. Change in length is essentially zero, change in width is minimum for quarter sawn and maximum for flat sawn.

That said, walnut in my experience doesn’t move any (twist or warp) once it stabilizes to my shop and is squared up.

You always have to design for potential wood movement (plenty of on-line calculators that tell you how much movement to expect for a given change in moisture).

For what you are proposing, in my experience the biggest problem area is in the drawer fit. Design the fit too close and they can swell up to the point of binding.

Frame/panel construction is also an area (when using solid wood) to watch out for.

Any place two pieces make contact with end grain meeting long grain, you need to consider allowance for movement.

View Aj2's profile


4066 posts in 3039 days

#2 posted 08-16-2021 08:36 PM

I agree with mr Splinter kiln dried walnut is very stable. Maybe even second to Genuine mahogany.
I have a opinion about sapele. I’m fairly certain I read the reason sapele is often sold quarter sawn is drying defects in flatsawn.
If you do see sapele flatsawn it might be a surprise how much figure the boards have. I’ve Worked with some beautiful quilted boards. They were horribly twisted and bowed but worth it.
Good Luck

-- Aj

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