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Glue Ups & Grain Direction

grain direction and growth rings

Gluing up could be a frantic time.
And when you’re like me, it’ll be messy too.

However how a lot ought to we be planning forward, earlier than we get all of it caught collectively?

Once we glued up the highest for our Corridor Table construct, we acquired a couple of questions on this matter.

They have been good queries, pondering over Grain path and alternating progress rings.

So I assumed we’d cowl this in somewhat little bit of element.

The textual content ebook ideas on this:
– All the time alternate the Expansion Rings on consecutive boards (for stability).
– Attempt to make sure the grain runs in the identical course all through a glued board (for ease of planing).

In an ideal world we’d comply with the above.
However then we’d even have good clear boards, with good straight grain.

timber selection sap wood in cherry
Not often is something good.

With the glue up in query, I used to be coping with some cherry boards that have been gnarly, sappy, and belonged on the scrap pile.

Grain course barely occurred to me, as I attempted to salvage one thing that might move off as acceptable, visually.
I didn’t even alternate the expansion rings. I couldn’t, I had no selection.

Since each job is totally different, right here’s a couple of ideas on how, why and once I’ll format boards for a glue up.

What’s The Precedence? 

  • Structural Stability?
  • Magnificence?
  • Ease of Working?

Usually I’d contemplate stability first.

If stability goes to be essential then I make it possible for the expansion rings are alternating.

Boards need to cup as they unfastened moisture.

The quantity they transfer varies rather a lot.

So when you have broad boards with apparent progress rings, alternating them can be very efficient in maintaining the glued up board flat all through its life.

Surprisingly although, many designs will do a very good job at holding a board flat with out this.

Carcase sides which are dovetailed,
A framed panel,
A prime secured right down to a large body.

These will wrestle to maneuver in the event that they needed to.

However what in case your board is just not absolutely supported?
Let’s say a chest lid hinged alongside one edge, or a stool or desk prime with legs shoved straight in to it.

In these examples the board is just about free to maneuver.
So alternating the expansion rings will definitely assist to minimise the cupping over time, and in that case I’d prioritise it when planning my glue up.

buttons for securing table top.

This skinny prime is secured to a really inflexible base with buttons. It will assist to minimise cupping of the highest.

Subsequent comes magnificence.

In our Corridor Table, it’s not a prime that’s being held by a single level.
It’s fastened to a body utilizing buttons.


This is a perfect state of affairs that provides flexibility for the timber, while additionally holding it firmly down.

The body will maintain it flat right here.

So with a prime like this I’m going with what seems prettiest as an alternative. In any case, it’s in all probability a focal piece.

Typically the within of a board could be very totally different to the surface visually.
By alternating the expansion rings you’re more likely to get an issue with color matching.

gluing top without alternating growth rings

You possibly can see the expansion ring aren’t alternated on this prime. And this has allowed me to cover all of that sap wood, together with another undesirables on the underside.

So what concerning the grain course?

The thought of creating positive that the grain runs in the identical path when gluing boards collectively is definitely sound.
It’ll make it simpler to aircraft up and keep away from nasty tear out and such.

The difficulty is although, even in a single board the grain’s going to return again at you sooner or later.
On the face of a large board you’ll typically discover that on one half of the board’s width the grain goes a method, and on the opposite it’s going the other.

As a result of timber have twist in them as they develop.

Whenever you’ve obtained a prime to attach up out of two, perhaps three extensive boards, the probabilities are that you simply’ll have some alternating grain to cope with nevertheless they’re laid out.

You possibly can definitely optimise, however altering the format when there’s solely a small variety of boards could make a huge impact visually.

Once more, I might say with a prime like this, go together with what appears prettiest.

As a result of finally, it’s our job as craftsman to work the wood and make it look its greatest.
Not let the wood work us.

Your strategy to planing can minimise any deep ragging out.
And when establishing for smoothing, I can aircraft in any path, with out tear.
That’s all about getting the aircraft arrange proper.

A well arrange, and sharpened aircraft will cope with any nasty tear-out. Even when the grain runs in opposing instructions.

When Ease of Work Comes First.

There are builds when it makes numerous sense to make sure the grain all runs in the identical path.

One thing like a laminated workbench prime.

Once I constructed workbenches I used to be intentionally excessive with my wood choice.

I made positive I had lots to select via in order that matching colors wasn’t troublesome. If I got here throughout a laminate I didn’t prefer it obtained demoted it to a unique challenge.
As a result of the workbenches needed to be good.

If a prime was laminated I all the time tried to get as a lot of the grain operating in a single path as attainable.

That is preferable and far more useful when there’s numerous slender edges to be planed, relatively than the extensive faces.

oiled cherry table top

Prioritising magnificence – the oiled cherry prime.

Prepared on your subsequent glue up?

In case you may give thought to all three of those points when gluing up boards, you then’re laughing.

However I discover that in some builds prettiness wins, typically you’ve obtained to optimise for stability.

Ignore the textual content books, and let the job in hand inform you.

P.S Our Corridor Table Video Collection has accomplished in the present day.
We’ve been thrilled together with your response, thanks to everybody who’s watched alongside.
The small print for this Collection have been up to date, and you may study all about it right here.


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This post first appeared on Woodworking Made Easy - Tips, Projects, Plans And Video, please read the originial post: here

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Glue Ups & Grain Direction

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