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Forum topic by hiswillus posted 03-12-2013 10:14 AM 1574 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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70 posts in 2963 days

03-12-2013 10:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question cutting education

I’m currently having my first experience with an actual piece of rough cut lumber and am wondering if there is any certain way the pieces should be cut from the slab. There are some cracks at the end of the pice and was wondering if it would affect the quality of the piece to tilt the pieces to avoid the cracks and maximise my lumber. I assume that the straiter the grain in the cut piece the better. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


4 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8648 posts in 4663 days

#1 posted 03-12-2013 10:31 AM

usually pieces are cut from a slab with these 2 things in mind:

1. continuation (trying to match certain pieces in terms of grain) – this usually relates to pieces that will be adjacent to one another in the completed project (think book-match, or a box where the grain flows around the sides continuously, the later requires an additional resaw to make perfect continuity)

2. maximizing lumber yield – this is to use as much of the lumber for practical use. you’ll usually give up continuation possibilities, but will get less waste out of the raw material. for certain projects this would be preferred as grain continuation isn’t relevant (think 4 legged chair where the grain pattern in the legs doesn’t need to be and cannot have continuation between the legs)

So this really depends on the type of project you are using this for, and on your personal preference.

That said – make sure when you position your parts to be cut that you stay away from those checks and cracks as they will still expand deeper into the slab once you start cutting and releasing more moisture and tension in the wood.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View hiswillus's profile


70 posts in 2963 days

#2 posted 03-12-2013 11:07 AM

Thank you for your response, it was very helpful. This piece is for a dining table top. I suppose this is a bad board that I accepted for this project. The plan was to quarter this piece for a 4 board top. I’m living here in Germany and they do things a little differently here and I don’t exactly know what I’m doing yet. I was just happy to find a place that sells raw quality lumber. I will just solve the problem by slicing it into thiner pieces if I have to.

Since I have your interest I was also wondering about (wall I don’t know what you call it) adjustment time of the wood. I only live about 2 blocks for the place I buy the wood from but it seems a board will move just in the distance of upstairs and downstairs in my house. I’m mostly concerned what will happen when I build this table downstairs and bring it upstairs, also how long I should wait to let the wood sit before I use it. Where I buy the wood from the wood is stored under cover but outside.



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Monte Pittman

30601 posts in 3353 days

#3 posted 03-12-2013 11:19 AM

If you are using it for a table top, you may want to use butterflies across the crack to stop them. Very common in some of the finest furniture makers products. Look at George Nakashima’s work (my personal favorite). I love slabs for furniture. It’s most of what I do.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View PurpLev's profile


8648 posts in 4663 days

#4 posted 03-12-2013 01:02 PM


Get a good moisture meter and hold off on slicing or using that board until it’s equalized. this could vary based on your location, but should be at about 10-12% moisture (check with your locals to see if this might vary in your area)

If you cut it while it’s still wetter it has a very high probability that it will warp out of flat during (or worse- after) working on it. not only will this ruin your piece, but could potentially be a safety issue.

once dried properly I doubt you will see it move much between upstairs and downstairs. it will take more of an extreme moisture difference in the air over a longer period of time to make any serious movement.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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