Plan for Shrinking and Expansion in Your Wood Projects

woodworking tips

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Everyone loves the look of real wood in the home. Many homeowners are interested in using wood in a home renovation project but do not realize that wood changes throughout the year. Depending upon the moisture level in your home, your wood project will shrink or expand and may cause damage. Before starting a new woodworking project, you need to figure out how much expansion or shrinkage is expected.

You can figure this out with a little math and these woodworking tips.

– Narrow boards are less likely to be affected by moisture than wider boards.
– Contraction from dry air and expansion from moist air occur across the width of the wood
– The amount of contraction and expansion in the wood depends on the wood’s species, as does if the board is quartersawn or flatsawn.

To find the change of the board through the year:

1. Measure the board’s width.
2. Subtract the lowest moisture level in your home from the highest. (%ML)
3. Find the Dimensional Change Coefficient (DCC) from a chart showing the DCC of different woods and types of cut.
4. Predicate the change in width by multiplying the board’s width in inches by the %ML times the DCC.

For more tips about woodworking and finding the right lumber for your project, contact us.

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