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Thread: Mixing Wood Species in Projects

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Austin, TX

    Mixing Wood Species in Projects

    Much is written about proper construction/joinery to accommodate wood movement (and getting wood to a stable moisture content, and close to its final home, etc.).

    What I've not been able to readily find is much information on mixing species. Certainly I've read that many vintage pieces of furniture were built with inexpensive woods where they weren't visible to save on cost (and presumably sometimes weight). I'm thinking of the pine backs to chests of drawers.

    Also, many attractive pieces of furniture make good use of contrasting colors of wood. Like a lighter colored drawer side half blind dovetailed into a darker wood drawer front.

    At any rate my question is how can one safely mix species? If they expand and contract at different rates, seems like it could be a problem. Any good reference material someone can point me to for this topic. My google-fu seems to be failing me, and I didn't have much like searching on the creek either.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Santa Barbara, CA
    This is pretty nerdy, but it has the table you are looking for.

    Page 4-5

    edit: I realized this doesn’t really get at your question, but I’ll leave the link there in case someone finds it useful.
    Last edited by Ben Ellenberger; 05-16-2020 at 4:35 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    South West Ontario
    Clearly there are many different ways to ‘mix’ species. Secondary wood as drawer sides, say poplar with cherry fronts, dovetailed together work, the dimension change with humidity are similar enough for the joint.
    A drawer bottom in pine needs a deep enough dadoe so it can move but stay in place, the percentage change due to humidity can be calculated, the drawer sides will remain almost constant.
    It is not just mixing wood that needs this thought, something made of the same species will also move and need the same consideration, not so different from mixing species.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

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