beech door shrinkage

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Established Member
12 Jan 2003
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as some of you may know I`ve been spending the last 3 months making my solid beech kitchen (piccies to follow shortly).

The kitchen is now functional with just the finishing touches to be implemented, BUT.................

My heating boiler is floor mounted and inside a 600 carcass. The door (which I made) has now got some "issues". i.e. the panel has shrunk so much that it no longer sits in one of the stile. :?

I`m going to remake the door with a panel thats been next to the boiler for a couple of weeks (hope fully shunk), my question is whether there is anything else I can do? line the door with reflective foil?

I also notice that all the door-panels on that side of the kitchen are showing the same effect (i.e. whitening of the polly by the panel/stile joint), hope they don`t shrink too much :?

merry xmas to all


ps after my wife`s misfortune earlier this year of an ectopic pregancy I`m REALLY pleased to announce that she is 9.5 weeks pregnant :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:

merry christmas
kityuser":2jrqu5yf said:
ps after my wife`s misfortune earlier this year of an ectopic pregancy I`m REALLY pleased to announce that she is 9.5 weeks pregnant :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:

merry christmas
Excellent news, Steve.

As far as the panels go, I imagine you have a similar problem to making solid wood radiator covers. A pretty extreme situation. Your idea to get the MC of the stock right down before making again sounds spot on to me. Lining with reflective foil also sounds worth a go - why not? The alternative is to cheat and use veneered board for that panel... But I would guess you'd rather not as the rest of it is solid.

Cheers, Alf
Steve, one of the characteristics of beech is the large disparity between radial shrinkage and tangential shrinkage, i.e., it shrinks and expands a lot in service.

You're certainly going in the right direction in aiming to dry the wood out to the lowest MC you can achieve before using it. Typically wood bought from a timber yard will be in the <10% to >12% MC range, including wood that has been kiln dried down to as low as 6%. Kilning to ~8% is typical in the UK for furniture grade timber.

I wouldn't recommend though that you stack it very near a radiator as this is likely to introduce stresses. Better would be to buy some planks and sticker them up in a warm dry room for two or three weeks to get the MC down a bit. Work them down a bit closer to your required size after this time and then sticker them up again in your warm dry room. They can be stickered and clamped in a stack to help keep them flat, although the clamping trick doesn't always work. The planks can also be moved moved closer to your heat source (radiator?) and turned every day-- or twice a day would be even better.

With a heat source inside the cabinet you're wood is likely to dry out to as little as 5%- 6% MC in use. You should aim to get your planks as close to this as you can before you remake your panelled doors.

Here's the tricky bit. If you get the wood this dry, as soon as you get it out into your workshop which probably has an uncontrolled environment it'll start absorbing moisture again, and fast. You'll probably have to use your drying area-- the warm dry room, as a storage place for your partially made doors each time you have to break from the job.

You'll need a reliable moisture meter to work this. Secondly, radially sawn planks are more stable and move in service much less than tangentially sawn ones. Radially sawn planks will give you straight parallel growth rings on the wide faces with characteristic medullary ray flecking, which may not be the look you want, but it is more stable. Lastly a well built up film forming polish (such as varnish) on your doors will help reduce the speed of moisture cycling at a microscopic level. Pre-finish all faces and edges of the panels prior to assembly. Slainte.
some nice points made.

the timber has been stickered indoors for about 4 months now, sadly I can`t get it into the kitchen otherwise Mrs kity user won`t be able to cook my dinner.

I plan to machine up the new panel, quite oversized and leave it in the boiler cupboard for a while, I got nothing to loose so might just as well try it.

point all noted about growth rings.

I`ll take sime piccies when I get the chance, the shrunken panel is quite shocking :shock:


Is your boiler on all year? If not, and you go to a <very> large panel, might there be problems with it swelling when the boiler is off?

I'd be a bit wary of reflective foil lining - does the boiler need to lose heat into the room to operate properly? (Maybe some heating engineer out there can comment?
kityuser":8otipoz0 said:
doesn`t most of the heat go out the flu ????

Hopefully most of it goes out in the water passed through the boiler or are you trying to warm the workshop using a global process. :wink:

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