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We are going to make modular kitchen and wardrobes for our home using pure hard wood like teak wood. The depths of the shelf vary from 1 feet to 1 and half feet. For shelves, can we use planks of width 1 feet or we need to join planks of 6 inch? In case if we need to join...what kind of joint is the best for wardrobes and kitchens...? Thanks.

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For shelves, can we use planks of width 1 feet or we need to join planks of 6 inch?

There's no easy answer to that, because as with most things wood-related the wood itself if the key factor. This is each piece, not the wood species in general.

With the way that most wood is cut even subsequent boards from the same stack, sawn from the same tree in sequence, are all slightly different. And some will be much more likely to be stable than others (generally the ones closer to the centre*).

So the answer is really yes, IF the wood is suitable.

In case if we need to join...what kind of joint is the best for wardrobes and kitchens...?

It has long been standard practice to use butt joints to make up wider boards or panels from narrower stock. Edge-to-edge joints with no further reinforcement are stronger than the wood around them, if done right.

See this for some further details, Not-so-obvious disadvantages of butt joints


*Because the closer to vertical the grain at the ends of the boards is the more stable the wood tends to be, as long as the heart is not in the centre of the board (if present this should generally be cut out and discarded). This is one reason for quarter-sawn wood usually being sold at a premium, even in woods where there isn't a specific figure showing on the face of the board that results from the wood being cut this way.

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If you have wide stock you can use that, or you can join up multiple narrower boards. a straight edge joint is perfect for this, provided the edges joined are straight and square (ie, no gaps) - regular wood glue is strong enough to hold this together.

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  • I like wide monolithic boards but some of the makers/vendors(often they are the same entity)say that even if i procure the wide ones it is better to cut them as 6 inch wide planks and combine them for strength.I somehow do not like the idea of cutting planks and joining again. I am a novice though. So I assume monolithic ones as well provide better strength. Another aspect is I do not want gluing as I cannot confirm the makers use the non-formaldehyde ones. Usage or stress wise it is for a normal kitchen/wardrobe for a house.Thats the background.Would appreciate any insights.Thanks so much. – Vinodh Oct 17 '18 at 12:24
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    You'll be fine with monolithic boards. I should note, one issue with wide slabs is that they tend to contain multiple orientations of growth rings. Growth rings perpendicular to the plane of the boards ("quartersawn" or "vertical grain") will be most stable to movement/bending, while curved/parallel will cause season warping of the boards (boards will cup in the direction that tends to flatten out the curvature of growth rings.. All of this is provided they are not constrained in some way, either to the side/frame of the furniture, or with cleats. – aaron Oct 17 '18 at 13:35
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    this is a good primer on wood movement: familyhandyman.com/woodworking/wood-movement-101/view-all. Note item #6 that shows a wide board that has cupped in the direction I mentioned. This is a hazard of working with wide boards, but again it can be mitigated by lumber selection and affixing cleats, etc. – aaron Oct 17 '18 at 13:36
  • Excellent insights....Thanks so much aaron and graphus....wish acceptance of multiple answers are supported... – Vinodh Oct 17 '18 at 13:43
  • Noted familyhandyman.com/woodworking/wood-movement-101/view-all. The teak wood boards I am going to use are going to kiln dried for two weeks...Hope it helps avoiding much variation of width... – Vinodh Oct 17 '18 at 13:48
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The idea of using multiple planks is that you would make sure the grain runs in opposite directions on each plank that you join to minimize any kind of cupping which can happen with wider pieces.

However, it also depends on how the planks were cut; whether they are flat sawn or quarter sawn: enter image description here

With flat sawn boards, the cut means the board will have a change of direction at the middle of the board, and this will make cupping more likely than a quarter sawn board.

With quarter sawn, the log is first cut in quarters (hence the name) then the boards are cub more or less with the grain running perpendicular to the face of the board, and the grain runs in the same direction in the board.

With this example, if you were to use the flat sawn boards, you'd cut them down the middle, then flip one of them over, and then rejoin them using a simple butt joint.

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