6

Below you can see a picture of a patio prep cart that I'm building for my brother. I would like to make a few design changes to the plan but I'm not sure if it would have some unforeseen negative effect down the road.

patio cart

What I would like to do is implement some Tudor house design features since he just bought a Tudor home to start his family in.

One way I would do that is by painting the trim a traditional Tudor dark brown and paint the panels a more cream color.

In order for that to look nice, I think I would have to do away with the 1/4" gaps between the boards. Or maybe just use a piece of plywood. But, I'm worried that maybe the gaps are there on purpose, maybe allowing the cart to have airflow is needed?

Can anyone tell if eliminating the gaps between the boards on the siding might somehow hurt the integrity of this patio prep cart? If it makes a difference, I plan on using cedar for this.

  • I should mention that no matter what you do, this thing is going to be a spider haven. – grfrazee Apr 25 '16 at 15:07
5

What I would like to do is implement some Tudor house design features since he just bought a Tudor home to start his family in.

For those unfamiliar with the Tudor style of house (as I was), here's an example:

tudor
(source)

One way I would do that is by painting the trim a traditional Tudor dark brown and paint the panels a more cream color.

In order for that to look nice, I think I would have to do away with the 1/4" gaps between the boards. Or maybe just use a piece of plywood. But, I'm worried that maybe the gaps are there on purpose, maybe allowing the cart to have airflow is needed?

For the hinged door on the left side, it likely doesn't matter too much if it's made a solid panel. I'm assuming that anything that would be kept in that cupboard long-term would be non-food and thus not caring if it had ventilation.

For the side with the fridge, I would just make the back of the cart vented to allow the fridge waste heat to escape. You could maybe make it latticed like a trellis to dress it up a bit. Then, you can have a solid side panel to match the hinged door.

trellis
(source)

Can anyone tell if eliminating the gaps between the boards on the siding might somehow hurt the integrity of this patio prep cart?

Eliminating the gaps should have no impact on the cart's integrity. If you allow ventilation out the back for the fridge, it shouldn't cause any issues with overheating of the fridge, either.

5

Can anyone tell if eliminating the gaps between the boards on the siding might somehow hurt the integrity of this patio prep cart?

Yes there could be a pronounced effect without specific steps being taken to compensate.

If you look at the orientation of the boards on the door and the visible side panel this places the longitudinal grain horizontal. The major axis of wood movement is perpendicular to this (across the width of a board, most in flat-sawn, approximately half as much in quarter-sawn).

When the boards are attached with a 1/4" gap, this is sufficient spacing to ensure that each one moves independent of the others. But once you close up the gaps the panel can then act as though it's a single board 30" across or whatever the height is here. For any species of wood the expansion and contraction for a board that width will be significant.

To get an estimate of the expected movement for cedar specifically (I'm assuming you mean western red cedar) I used the wood shrinkage calculator on Woodweb. Plugging in some reasonable numbers expansion from driest to wettest could be nearly 1/2", which as you can imagine must be accounted for or problems will arise.

For this to work on this cart each panel would have to be attached much as you might the tabletop on a side table, where the fasteners will allow movement in a chosen direction (in this case downwards). See previous Answer for more on how you might do this.

Or maybe just use a piece of plywood.

Using a sheet of plywood instead would eliminate these concerns.

  • Thank you thats excellent information. Why exactly do you say that using plywood would eliminate these concerns? Why is the movement in the plywood much less than a board? – exit_1 Apr 22 '16 at 16:27
  • Primary reason is that plywood layers have the wood grain oriented in alternating directions perpendicular to each other. This orientation mitigates the expansion and contraction of any single layer. Plywood would tend to suffer delamination first at moisture levels high enough to cause expansion to affect this structure. Depending on the moisture expected I would go with either an exterior grade plywood or even a marine grade plywood. – Justin Ohms Apr 22 '16 at 19:20
  • 1
    As a side note... expansion and contraction of the wood structures under plaster is one of the primary reasons why the Tudor style came into existence. If the entire wall was plastered, cracks would form in the plaster as seasonal changes caused the wood underneath to expand and contract. By setting the plaster in panels inside an exposed wood frame the plaster panels are allowed to expand and contract independently and fracture along the interface to the frame. This functions similar to a modern expansion joint in a concrete sidewalk. – Justin Ohms Apr 22 '16 at 19:28
  • @Sol, yes much less movement than solid wood, because of the cross-grain structure. For all intents and purposes plywood doesn't change dimensions with changes in humidity (tiny amounts but nothing you'd notice). – Graphus supports Monica Apr 24 '16 at 8:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.