(Welcome Johnny! — Johnny Williams is our new columnist for WoodWise, a weekly post exploring furniture construction and woodworking.)
• Cup: to warp along the width of a board • Bow: to warp along the length of a board • Twist: to warp in opposite direction at either end • Crook: to warp along the edge of the board • Check: to split along the length of the board (often due to improper drying) Furniture makers employ a bevy of techniques to control wood movement. The most basic is to orient their various parts such that the entire piece expands and contracts in the same directions. The solid slab entry table that I’m currently building, for instance, was designed to breathe downward and upward, and not forward and backward.
Larger slabs of wood move more, so I utilized a frame and panel technique to break up the tension. Panels sit loosely, or float, in grooves inside the frame, free to expand seasonally across the grain but trapped from warp. For many modern furniture makers, wood movement has become a non-issue. Using fiberboard and plywood has allowed for a whole new era of visionary form and function largely free of motion. But in my very humble opinion, nothing compares to the organic beauty of solid, moving wood. Now enough with all the innuendo, I have some spooning to do. (Images: 1 Johnny Williams, 2 Wood Magazine, 3 Johnny Williams) Johnny is currently blogging his experience as a student at Maine's Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. You can keep track of his projects on his blog, Woodlearner.