Top Tips to Learn Before Working on Your Next Wood Furniture Project

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Wood furniture comes in many shapes and sizes. There are so many fascinating designs out there these days. Lots of people are getting into DIY wood furniture projects. 

While it is awesome to try building your own wood furniture, there are things that you should learn about before you get started. Wood isn’t as simple to work with as non-organic materials. 

Some people say wood has a mind of its own. While this isn’t exactly true, wood does ‘behave’ a certain way. Luckily, the way it behaves is determinable with the right knowledge. 

We’re going to go through a few tips that you should learn before working on your next wood furniture project. These tips from iirnTree are designed to make the process easier for you, as well as help you build a piece of wood furniture that will last. 

Let’s get started, shall we? 

What You Need to Know About Wood#1 – Wood is Constantly Moving

While your table isn’t likely to get up and run off, you may notice that wood moves under certain circumstances. What we mean by this is that wood shrinks or grows slightly depending on the humidity. 

You have likely heard that you should leave your woodcuts in the location you mean to place them for a few days to acclimate. The acclimation process is your wood gaining or losing moisture depending on the humidity in that room or other location

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If you put the piece of furniture together before it has had time to acclimate, you may notice the joints warp slightly due to the wood changing in size ever so slightly. Wood is extremely unforgiving in these situations. 

#2 – Check the End Grain of Your Wood Cuts

The end grains of your wood will help you to determine what type of wood it is. Every type of wood has a different level of potential shrinkage. 

There are three main types of end grains to look out for:

  • Plain Swan (Flat Swan) – If the end grain of your wood looks something like a rainbow or a smiley face, it is likely a Plain Swan end grain. These cuts of wood tend to be more prone to warping or shrinking from low humidity. Obviously, this is not good for a piece of furniture!
  • Rift Swan – A rift swan looks something like a plain swan that has been cut in half, leaving half a rainbow at a 45-degree angle. These are the most commonly used end grain wood types used for wood furniture as they do not shrink nearly as much as the others. 
  • Quarter Swan – Quarter Swan end grains are nearly straight lines with a slight curve at one end. These are also quite stable in nature. That being said, the Rift Swan is still slightly better.

#3 – Make Sure to Have a Barometer on Hand When Cutting Wood

As you are likely aware, rain and cloudiness have an impact on the humidity level of the day. Certain days show a massive change in barometric pressure. 

It is always best to cut your wood on days where the barometric pressure will remain relatively constant. If you do not, your wood may decide to warp on you while you’re still in the middle of cutting it all up. 

Here are the basic reasons for having a barometer on hand before you start cutting your wood:

  • If there is a sudden change in barometric pressure, it likely indicates that rain or humid clouds are coming. If you cut your wood during this time, that moisture will get trapped in it before you have a chance to add your varnish to it. 
  • On the opposite side, if the pressure suddenly drops, the day is likely to be overly sunny which causes your wood to shrink after cutting it, leaving you with uneven pieces. 
  • Even worse than the above possibilities is when the pressure goes up or down multiple times while you are cutting. Going from sunny to humid or humid to sunny before completing your finish will cause the shrinkage and/or moistening of your wood to worsen considerably, leaving your wood mostly ruined! 

Thus, it is important that you ensure you start cutting your wood on a calm, middle-of-the-road day where it is neither too sunny nor too humid. Also, make sure you completely finish your task so that you can finish the wood to prevent any alterations from the weather coming up. 

#4 – Know What Wood You are Using

Different types of wood hold different characteristics as well. Some wood is far more porous than others. 

You want to use a strong, durable wood that is more likely to resist water and sun damage over time. Pick a wood type that will both resist humidity during the construction process and last the test of time as well! 

#5 – Build Your Wood Furniture On-Site!

When we say you should build your wood furniture on-site, this does not mean that you need to cut it up in the room you mean to assemble it in. (Although, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it is possible) 

It is highly important that you leave the wood pieces that you’ve cut and prepared in the chosen location even for several days before putting them together. 

You want to ensure that your wood is not going to change size or shape after you’ve assembled it. Leaving it for those few days allows the wood to acclimate. 

Once this is accomplished, you should be safe to assemble the furniture and it will remain the size that you put it together at. (So long as you look after it, that is) 

Are You Ready?

We hope you feel more prepared for your wood furniture construction now. Of course, you may still have a lot of research to do if this is your first time.

At least now you know a few of the major issues that can crop up if you don’t follow the above tips properly. 

Good luck and happy construction work! 

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