Board widths

  • Creator
  • #553258
    Glenn Dube

    Hi Folks

    I see a lot of you cabinet maker types use single boards for the sides and tops of cabinets. I learned. Probably mistakenly that it is better to use mor Ethan one strip of wood for wide panels like that. So I’ve always ripped wide boards and sometimes reversed some sk every wide piece is a lamination. What’s the right way for this?

    Also what is the best thickness for wide panels. I see paul using 7/8″ where 3/4 is a lot more common.

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #553261


    Your question wll be fun to watch. I just sawed up a large elm stump and have a bunch of 30 inch wide boards. They are very dry as i live in the desert and i see no movement from them when bringing them inside to work them.
    However i dont want my tops to split either.
    Paul uses three oak boards to make a roughly 40 i ch table top and so if they are properly dried i do not think they will be a problem.
    So my answer to your question would be, as long as your wood is perfectly dried and sealed you should not have problems with it.
    I think the problem arises when you take a piece from dry to wet conditions or vice versa



    I think you’re using the word “right” too often. I’m not sure there is “right” and “wrong” here. If you have wide boards and find their use appropriate, that’s great, use them. Otherwise, glue up a panel, that works well, too.

    As for reversing direction, that’s not going to accomplish anything except to change the manner in which your panel warps over the centuries. Instead of having your panel warp in a single, consistent way, it will have a wavy warp to it. One is not better than the other, it’s just different. Reversing grain in a panel glue-up doesn’t keep the panel flat, it just gives it a wavy warp as opposed to a consistent curve. One issue that might arise when you alternate grain direction in a glue-up is in planing the finished panel — if you’ve reversed the grain, you’ll have to remember to alternate direction when you’re planing the panel, otherwise you’ll get tearout.

    Alternatively, you could use boards that will warp less over time (IOW, avoid flatsawn boards). That costs extra $$.

    There is also, in my opinion, no right or wrong in 3/4 sides vs 7/8 sides. If you’re buying 3/4 stock, by the time you’ve planed it all flat and to uniform thickness, you may well have lost an 1/8th inch, and 5/8 thick sides, in my opinion, look anemic. Nothing wrong with them functionally, I just don’t care for the appearance in my casework. YMMV.



    Ripping wide boards and glue them back appears to be a side effect of limitations imposed by power planers etc. For an excellent discussion see


    Glenn Dube


    Thanks for your responses. I have some 16 and 24″ boards. most are 1 1/8 thick but rough. It was making me feel bad thinking I would have to rip them down. I’m not going to use these until my hands are working properly and used to the tools so as i don’t waste so much.

    I agree 3/4 always looks spindly. I guess that why a lot or local made stuff has face boards to make things look less so.

    Glenn Dube


    There’s an interesting post in there about oiling before shellac. will that work to keep moisture out?

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