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Thread: Warped Box Top

  1. #1
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    Warped Box Top

    Hey ... I made this and sent it to a customer in New York from South Carolina 2 weeks ago, I've included a few pics to show the box before I sent it and what it looks like now.

    When I make a box I miter the 4 sides and cut a slot just above the bottom of the sides for a 1/8 in piece of hard board to become the bottom. Then when dry I usually glue the top in place then the next day when dry I run it through the Bandsaw to include a 1/2 inch of the body of the box to remain attached to the top.

    The Walnut top had been 1/2 thick stock I've had in my basement shop for a couple of years. my point being that I did not have to re-saw the top. After cutting the top off and then spray it inside and out with rattle can Rust- Oleum Clear Gloss Lacquer ... probably 3-4 coats until the finish was uniform.

    I'm not a perfectionist and my prices reflect that, I sell of Etsy and an occasional referral.

    What did I do wrong or what do I need to do differently as this is not the first time I've had warping issues?

    Thank you,
    Tim

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    Last edited by Tim Boger; 04-02-2020 at 3:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    I'm surprised this is the only lid that has warped. By gluing the lid to the box you have made it impossible for the lid to expand/contract as the RH changes. Of course, it will anyway, but since it's glued down it will either warp or split. This one warped. Where you shipped it to had lower RH than your shop, as evidence by the way it warped. You need to change your construction approach to prevent this from happening again. Perhaps set the lid in a frame, like a frame and panel door, so that it can expand/contract.

    Sorry to say, but you should expect more calls.

    John

  3. #3
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    Gorgeous box, but I think John is correct. You have that highly figured wood and then glue the plain saw walnut to the top. It is going to twist up like a pretzel once you start getting big changes in humidity.

    The top needs to be a floating panel.

  4. #4
    About the only way you could make that work is is you used quarter sawn lumber for the top. Quarter sawn doesn't expand and contract as much as plain sawn lumber. [A side note: I've found that kiln dried lumber doesn't expand and contract as much as air dried lumber.]

    Even with quarter sawn lumber, I'd make the parts glued to the top thicker. It looks like those pieces are about 1/2 inch. I'd go at least 3/4 inch.

    But making the top differently, perhaps as a panel captured by four sides (like a frame and panel door) would allow the panel to expand and contract.

    Mike

    [I occasionally make boxes - not for sale. If you want to see how I do it, look here.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 04-02-2020 at 11:01 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    But making the top differently, perhaps as a panel captured by four sides (like a frame and panel door) would allow the panel to expand and contract.
    That's how I do it (see below). I saw the top from the box after glue up. I've never had one warp (knock on wood).

    33250000798_190dc8039e_k.jpg 46401767804_53c56262e3_k.jpg
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  6. #6
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    I agree the grain direction of the top and the grain of the side cross. Iíve made a few boxes like that and have gotten lucky.
    Aj

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    About the only way you could make that work is is you used quarter sawn lumber for the top. Quarter sawn doesn't expand and contract as much as plain sawn lumber. [A side note: I've found that kiln dried lumber doesn't expand and contract as much as air dried lumber.]
    Or if you have the ability to veneer, you could make the top out of a stable material like mdf or plywood, veneered with your wood of choice. A common practice is to glue strips of the show wood onto the four sides of the substrate and then veneer the whole thing. That way the edges match the faces plus you can eliminate exposed end grain if you miter the edging pieces. If you do it this way, then gluing directly the lid to the box like you did would be fine.
    What I'm describing is a common practice for people who build humidor boxes.
    Last edited by Edwin Santos; 04-03-2020 at 1:36 PM.

  8. #8
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    Thank you John, Tim

  9. #9
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    Thank you for your insight, I appreciate it.
    Tim
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Mason-Darnell View Post
    Gorgeous box, but I think John is correct. You have that highly figured wood and then glue the plain saw walnut to the top. It is going to twist up like a pretzel once you start getting big changes in humidity.

    The top needs to be a floating panel.

  10. #10
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    Hey Mike, I appreciate your feedback, the link to your tutorial will be most useful.
    Thank you, Tim
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    About the only way you could make that work is is you used quarter sawn lumber for the top. Quarter sawn doesn't expand and contract as much as plain sawn lumber. [A side note: I've found that kiln dried lumber doesn't expand and contract as much as air dried lumber.]

    Even with quarter sawn lumber, I'd make the parts glued to the top thicker. It looks like those pieces are about 1/2 inch. I'd go at least 3/4 inch.

    But making the top differently, perhaps as a panel captured by four sides (like a frame and panel door) would allow the panel to expand and contract.

    Mike

    [I occasionally make boxes - not for sale. If you want to see how I do it, look here.]

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    That's how I do it (see below). I saw the top from the box after glue up. I've never had one warp (knock on wood).

    33250000798_190dc8039e_k.jpg 46401767804_53c56262e3_k.jpg
    Hey Rob ... your method appears to be the same as mine, you've had no issues? Thanks for sharing. Tim

  12. #12
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    Thanks Edwin for the suggestion of Veneering. At this point I have never done any veneer work. Might be a good time to learn. Thanks, Tim

    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    Or if you have the ability to veneer, you could make the top out of a stable material like mdf or plywood, veneered with your wood of choice. A common practice is to glue strips of the show wood onto the four sides of the substrate and then veneer the whole thing. That way the edges match the faces plus you can eliminate exposed end grain if you miter the edging pieces. If you do it this way, then gluing directly the lid to the box like you did would be fine.
    What I'm describing is a common practice for people who build humidor boxes.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Boger View Post
    Hey Rob ... your method appears to be the same as mine, you've had no issues? Thanks for sharing. Tim
    I don't think so. Based on your original post, your bottom is fitted into a groove but your top is a slab glued to the edge of the mitered perimeter frame. Did I misunderstand? In my approach, top and bottom are fitted into a groove and both float. See the crude sketch below.

    Annotation 2020-04-03 155759.png

    I used the approach on this box too (below). No issues.

    IMG_1241.jpg IMG_1242.jpg
    Last edited by Rob Luter; 04-03-2020 at 4:20 PM.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  14. #14
    One more suggestion: You said you use hardboard for the bottom. Why not make the bottom from some nice wood? You have it captured in a groove in the sides so you're okay for wood movement (just leave it a bit loose). Some nice grained wood looks much nicer than hardboard when someone picks up the box and looks at the bottom.

    You could make a panel about 3/16 inch thick. Alternately, you can make the bottom thicker and then taper the edges to maybe 1/8 inch to go into the grooves. I'd put the tapered side down.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  15. #15
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    When I make a box thatís really going well Iíll put something aromatic in the bottom. Right now my two choices are port orford cedar and Cedar of Lebanon a true cedar.
    Its a very nice surprise.
    Quality hinges like brusso too.
    Aj

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