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Cupping

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  • Cupping

    Getting ready to start a new project, LOML has put a hold on the china cabinet she wanted. Thought I'd build a chest. Found some plans in the Oct 2000 issue of Wood mag. My problem is that the plans call for 1 x 12's. I am a little leery of instability in boards this wide. Any thoughts on the subject? Should I use 1 x 4's? Am I worrying about nothing?

  • #2
    tcaniff
    There can be problem with cupping. You do not mention the wood type. Most of what we see today has wider groyh ring, meaning it grew faster. It also means it is not as stable. I like to use 3, 4, 5 & 6" boards and alternate the groth rings.
    I have some 12" cherry in my shoe now, not sure how I will use it. I may rip it.
    SCWood

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    • #3
      Thanks SCWood, I am going to use walnut. Haven't acquired it as yet, so am unsure about width of growth rings.

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      • #4
        SCWood is absolutely correct.
        I use nothing wider than 6". Often times I buy wider boards, rip both sides off as this comes closest to 1/4 sawn as sometimes you can get. The heartwood becomes jigs or other small projects that wood movement isn't such a problem.

        But gluing up narrow boards to get a wide one is always a wise choice. I also try and pick 1" to 7/8", not 3/4" thick boards. After glue ups, it gives you room to plane them flat to 3/4". Just be sure on glue ups, the wood grain all goes in one direction to avoid tear outs during planing.
        John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"http://www.woodys-workshop.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.woodys-workshop.com</a>

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        • #5
          You've received good advice----to which I'd add, 12" boards can also be expensive, as there can be so few in a tree. I also tend to use nothing wider than 6" unless I find a particularly nice piece of 8", but by the time I've trimed off sap wood (not a good color match), I'm down to 4-6" stock. If the project had a specific reason for stating a 12" board (highly visible--show piece) another approach----buy some 6/4 stock and resaw it in half, for a nice bookmatched board.
          Dave

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          • #6
            UO_Woody,

            I have a question: How do you determine the direction of the grain. I usually find this when I start planing a board and it starts chipping. Is there a better way?

            Best regards,

            Henry

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            • #7
              Thanks guys, appreciate your info and time.

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              • #8
                Henry, it's really quite simple when you know what to look for. If you are planing the face, you look at the sides of the board, at the woodgrain. Which ever end of the board has the grain raising towards the surface you are planing, that is the back edge. Like wise if you are jointing, look at the face.

                You want the blades to be taking the bite out of the wood in the direction of grain is moving towards that surface. If the grain is moving away from the surface, the cutters grab the grain, and rip it deeper as it tears the fibers in the direction the grain is running.
                John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"http://www.woodys-workshop.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.woodys-workshop.com</a>

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                • #9
                  If you will be gluing up Walnut, consider dropping to #1 common grade, rather than select or FAS. The price is about half, and if I play around to get good yield, I get almost as much useful lumber. What you lose with the lower grade is long wide pieces, but after trimming I would estimate that over 50% is 4-6 foot pieces that are 4-5 inches wide, and a lot more narrower or shorter pieces that fit someplace in the project (rails in raised panel doors are actually pretty small, for example). And when I am only paying a little over $2 per board-foot, I don't mind using the sapwood as a secondary wood.

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                  • #10
                    UO_Woody,

                    Thanks for the reply. I pretty much figured that is what you'd say. Fact is, sometimes I just can't tell if the grain is rising or falling. So at least I know the rule, now I'll just have to get more experience.

                    Best regards,

                    Henry

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                    • #11
                      Henry,

                      some woods like birdseye maple or curly maply have multiple grain directions, and vertually impossable to determine which end to feed. When you get into glue ups with these types of grain multiples, it even further complicates the issues.

                      Rule of thumb I use is run each board through the planer a few times, slowly lowering the cutter head until it just touchs the wood. Run it through both ways. Eye the tear out, and mark the ends of the board feed and tail. Helps on glue ups as well.

                      Once the glue ups are ready for planing, do much the same thing. I seldom find myself lowering the cutter head more than 1/128th of an inch, or 1/8th turn on the TP1300 for anything. Always rotate and board so your planing both sides once a flat surface has been established.

                      When getting close to the finished size you desire, always run the board through twice before adjusting the cutter head. This will help eliminate tear out. The feeders will compress slightly, and even with 1/128th inch cut depth, you will be surprised what a 2nd pass will take off. And will give a smoother finish to sand when ready for finishing.

                      It's a true joy to experiment and gain knowledge of how to beat the wood to get the results you desire without frustration. Never an easy task, but a scrimmage I take to heart with a winning passion.

                      A true test of yourself on beating tear out is turning a solid core of birdseye maple into a finger grip handle! (I've yet to release the stock without using files and sandpaper, arrggg)
                      John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"http://www.woodys-workshop.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.woodys-workshop.com</a>

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                      • #12
                        John,

                        Thanks for the help. I acutally figured out much of what you suggest including the twice through without adjusting and board end marking. It's always good to hear from others that what you are doing is basically correct so thank you very much.

                        I notice you are from Michigan as I am (Southeast). Any good sources of rough lumber other than Armstrong? I've yet to pay a visit but am getting close to building my first ever cabinet doors and am in need of a good supplier.

                        Best regards,

                        Henry

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                        • #13
                          On the subject of "cupping":

                          If you town has an architectural salvage yard, you can usually find old boards, that can be cleaned up and reused. These boards are sold way under the cost new and usually have more character and a more stable wood.

                          Obviously this requires more work and sometimes lots of blade changes, but the older wood is usually quarter sawn and is from, by default, an "old growth" tree.

                          Here in N'awlins I am always haunting the yards for old cypress. I can usually find old barge boards, plane off 1/8 a side, and end up with wood that can not be harvested any more. As a bounus, it is also rarely filled with various, antiquated iron fastening equipment that by today's standards would be considerd "soft", and makes for incredible focal points. I use inexpensive- i.e. sacrificial - blades to do my initial cutting and there are no problems.

                          Ok, I am getting long winded here; back to the topic..... You asked about Cupping:

                          My point is this... Don't be afraid to use older wood. When you find a few boards of 12' widths (they will also typically be thicker than 1") clean then and use them. If they haven’t cupped in the past 100 years then I doubt they will cup in your project.

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