Aesthetic Differences
Chapter 3

Rate of Movement Differences
Chapter 5
Rate of Movement

Cross-grain Construction Problems
Chapter 7
Construction Problems

Edge-Glued Panels and Table Top Attachment
Chapter 9
Edge-Glued Panels
and Table Top Attachment

Breadboard Ends and Similar Situationss
Chapter 11
Breadboard Ends
and Similar Situations

Other Furniture Designs
Chapter 13
Other Furniture Designs

Humidity Control for Hobbyists
Thoughts on

Part 2
Humidity Control for

Instructional Woodworking

Wood Science & Design
Author: Hendrik Varju

Wood Science & Design - Dvd Cover

Hendrik Varju / Passion for Wood / September 2009
ISBN: 978-0-9781432-4-4
5 hours, 54 minutes on 3 DVDs

Price: Cdn. $79.95 + applicable taxes
+ shipping and handling

Ontario residents pay 13% hst. Canadian residents outside of Ontario pay hst at their own province’s rate, or 5% gst if in a non-participating province. Residents outside of Canada pay no tax.

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Passion for Wood - Table of Contents
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After tackling “Jointer and Planer Secrets”, “Revelations on Table Saw Set-up & Safety”, and then “Working with Plywood”, Hendrik decided to back track a little, taking the avid woodworking student to the first principles of wood movement and how to design around it.  This new production is the only one of its kind, taking you through the various wood science principles that are important if you wish to be able to design your own furniture pieces in future.  Even if you are happy working from store-bought plans, Hendrik explains that even plans that you would expect you can trust are often filled with design flaws such as unacceptable cross-grain construction issues.  While there are many sources of detailed scientific data regarding wood, this production brings the most important and practical issues to you and shows you how to solve them using drawings, wood samples and even wood movement calculations from real projects.  There is even a detailed fine furniture tour that helps deepen your understanding with more practical examples.   “Wood Science & Design” has a running time of nearly 6 hours spread over 3 DVDs.

This DVD set starts with an explanation of the basic structure of wood, discussing long grain vs. end grain, early wood vs. late wood, heartwood vs. sapwood, growth rings, medullary rays, knots and so on.  You’ll learn about flatsawn, riftsawn and quartersawn cuts and how to identify them.  More importantly, Hendrik explains the difference between these three basic cuts of lumber, including aesthetic differences, how they distort and change shape differently as moisture content changes and how they expand and contract differently as relative humidity rises and falls.  All of this is explained using both drawings and real wood examples, such as red and white oak, beech, cherry, maple, walnut, mahogany, pine and more.

One of the most useful aspects of this video series is that Hendrik explains the intimate relationship between relative humidity, moisture content and wood movement.  Everything is explained from first principles so that you can apply your new-found knowledge to any example in future.  Hendrik explains how he controls the relative humidity in his workshop and why it is important.  He tells you how to cope with wood movement issues if you are not able to control the humidity in your workshop.  If you do wish to control it, as Hendrik does, he explains how to decide on the ideal relative humidity level for your workshop based on where you live, giving examples such as Toronto, Seattle, Vancouver and even Albuquerque, New Mexico.  He explains how to get the relevant data for other cities as well.

From there, Hendrik takes you through numerous examples of cross-grain construction and how to determine what is acceptable or not when you design your own furniture.  He talks about blanket chests, deacon’s benches, frame-and-panel doors, mitred picture frames and many other examples in order to teach you the first principles of wood movement.  There are whole chapters devoted to edge-glued panels and how to orient growth rings, how to attach table tops to their bases properly, frame-and-panel design, breadboard ends and much more.

Additionally, Hendrik gives you a formula for wood movement and fully explains how to use it, using data you can find in scientific tables.  If you’ve ever wondered how much an 8 foot long dining table top will expand year round (assuming the boards run across the width of the table), Hendrik shows you how.  Have you ever wondered how much movement a panel is likely to have in a frame-and-panel door?  How deep do the grooves need to be cut to allow for wood movement?  All calculations require a knowledge of moisture content, relative humidity fluctuations, what cut of lumber and species you are using, and so on.  Hendrik teaches you how to make all of these calculations and takes you through a number of real-world examples to make sure you understand it well.

Throughout the main video footage, Hendrik uses a combination of sketches, calculations, wood samples and even real projects to explain all the concepts.  To top it all off, bonus footage takes you through a tour of several of Hendrik’s own furniture designs.  This is the first time ever that Hendrik shows you so many of his designs at one time in a video format.  And the purpose of this furniture tour isn’t just to show you the designs.  Hendrik explains the wood movement issues that relate to each of them.  So each one serves as yet another opportunity to show you how the knowledge of wood science helps you in practical ways so that furniture you have spent hundreds of hours building doesn’t self destruct over time.

In that fine furniture tour, Hendrik reviews three table designs, from a trestle table to a dining room table with leaves and then a coffee and end table design that has a framed top with inset glass panel.  He then moves on to some other designs, such as a small display case, Mission style bed, a night table and even a blanket chest with hand-cut dovetails.  It is clear from this video series that Hendrik understands the science of wood movement at a core level and uses those principles as he comes up with every design.

As in his previous productions, Hendrik does not leave any of the details out, taking you one step at a time through the theory and then showing you the practical applications with numerous examples.

In this video, you will learn:

  • about the basic structure of wood and why it is important to the furniture designer/craftsman
  • about the three different cuts of lumber and why it matters in terms of aesthetics, shape distortion over time and differences in the rates of wood movement
  • why the pith of the tree is not usable and how to plan around it
  • about quartersawn lumber and what produces impressive ray fleck patterns
  • about cupping, diamonding and edge cupping, including why they happen and how to minimize these forms of distortion in your woodworking projects
  • about tangential, radial and longitudinal movement and why they matter
  • how to orient growth rings when making leg blanks, with an example of failed joinery and why it happened
  • how to orient growth rings when making solid wood panels like table tops, so that the panels stay flat over time
  • about the relationship between relative humidity, moisture content and wood movement
  • how to control the relative humidity of your workshop and how to decide the level at which you should control it
  • about cross-grain construction problems and how to work around them or limit them
  • about a formula for wood movement and how to use it regardless of wood species, cut of lumber and where you live
  • how to properly attach table tops to their bases, including trestle tables, solid panel tables with leaves and even frame-top tables
  • all about frame-and-panel design and how to use it
  • all about breadboard ends and how this design technique accounts for natural wood movement
  • how numerous real furniture designs account for wood science issues, as you tour through several of Hendrik’s original designs

How does this video differ from others you may have seen? First of all, Hendrik leaves no stone unturned.  His teaching style is exacting, answering all of your questions as they naturally pop into your head.  This is not the kind of video that just gives you the “gist” of each concept.  It is a complete work that will become a valuable reference source you will refer to again and again as you design your own furniture.  This explains the incredible length of Hendrik’s DVDs compared to the usual 45 to 60 minute production.

No other video covers wood science concepts so succinctly.  More importantly, it constantly reinforces the concepts with numerous examples, from sketches and formulas to real wood samples and furniture pieces.  The level of detail in Hendrik’s videos is truly unparalleled. As a 3-DVD boxed set running for nearly 6 hours in total, “Wood Science & Design” is sure to become the leading instructional woodworking DVD in this area. As the trademarked name says, this is “Private Woodworking Instruction in a Box” and nothing short of Hendrik’s in-shop seminars and courses even comes close.

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Safety Discussion
Safety Discussion

The Basic Structure of Wood
Chapter 1
The Basic Structure
of Wood

Wood Cuts and Where They Come From
Chapter 2
Wood Cuts and
Where They Come From

Shape Distortion Differences
Chapter 4
Shape Distortion

Relative Humidity, Moisture Content and Wood Movement
Chapter 6
Relative Humidity, Moisture
Content and Wood

Calculating Wood Movement
Chapter 8
Calculating Wood

Frame-and-Panel Design
Chapter 10

Three Table Designs
Chapter 12
Three Table

Using Wide Boards
Thoughts on
Part 1

Using Wide Boards

What is Good Design?
Thoughts on
Part 3

What is Good Design?