Predicting Shrinkage in European Beech

How to anticipate the amount of moisture-related wood movement in European Beech. April 18, 2010

Question
Does anyone know how much movement any given species will move? Iím using European beech for the first time. Itís a tabletop 38 inches wide and 5/4 thick. How much movement can I expect?

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor J:
For any wood, you need to find the tangential and radial shrinkage percentages. The first Google hit I found for European beech suggests 11.8% tangential and 5.8% radial. You then plug those percentages into a formula, along with other basic information to figure the approximate amount of movement. Below is WOODWEB's own calculator.

Flatsawn boards change in width quite a bit more than quartersawn boards, so that's relevant. Also important are the environment the table will be stored and used in, and the sort of finish you apply. Assuming a film finish on all sides of the table top, the MC might fluctuate around 3% over the course of a year. If the planks are all quartersawn, annual movement might be under 1/4". If they are all flatsawn, movement could be nearly 1/2". If a mixture of flat and quartered, movement will be somewhere in-between. If the house's climate control is exceptionally good, movement could be less. If you don't use a film finish, movement could be greater.

WOODWEB's Shrinkage Calculator



From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Use the WOODWEB calculator, using American beech. Euro and American are essentially the same.