Compatible Woods in Small Boxes

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Picked up a couple of 1/4" sheets of Ganadillo (janka=2450) at WC this past week. Planning on making a finger joint box L16" x W5-3/4" x H2-3/4" with hinged lid and insert bottom. I am currently planning on having a dado’d bottom insert (floating).

QUESTION: I was thinking about using a scrap of Soft Maple (Janka= ~1000) to make the 1/4″ × 5-1/2" bottom insert. So would the wide difference in hardness make this combination unwise?

How about a 3/8" rabbeted bottom insert? While I doubt the Granadillo will shrink/swell that much, I was wondering about the Soft Maple movement…?

FWIW, I have some single veneer 0.2" available AND some multi-layer as well.


Don’t know if I am biting off more than I can chew, but I just picked up these Granadillo boards for making a small finger-joint box. I know the going wisdom is to not use this thin of board for box-making, but I couldn’t resist!

Help me out here. I would like to incorporate either the Ash or Maple into this box. Got the box-joint jig worked out for the sides. I am “assuming” that I will need to either laminate the tops and bottom and/or make the top a lift-off top. Trying to hinge 1/4" boards appears to be an obstacle at the moment.

I want to finger-joint the sides, but am OPEN to ideas for top and bottom joinery.

  • Thinking of laminating the bottom, cutting a rabbet that would flush with the bottom of the walls and fit in a dado in those same walls.
  • Should I think about doing same for top and then cut off top? How should/could I hinge 1/4" walls to top? Hinging is my big concern…
  • Should I consider making the base out of a more massive piece of ash/maple dado’d to fit the outer walls of the box? And maybe a matching lid frame w/Granadillo insert? Still how to hinge?

Any problems joining/laminating hard and soft woods together? Anyone done this?
Granadillo = 2450 janka
White Ash = 1360
Soft Maple = 1000


The wood looks great.

I would make a floating bottom with probably a 1/16 deeper dado.

With the width at 5 3/4 I don’t think there would be much expansion especially for a box that is going inside a house.

I could not find the granadillo expansion rate but here is a good link to calculate expansion: it has maple and ash expension rate.

given the dimension and some of the ash and maple expansion coefficient, it will not be a great movement .

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

Thanks for the link, now have it bookmarked. Looked online a bit and found this on a site that is in Austin, just an hour away. Not sure exactly how to interpret the movement, other than to think it is talking about movement from harvest-to-dried state. Doesn’t seem like useful info for already dried wood.
Specific Gravity: 0.79
Hardness: 2450 Janka
Density: 63 pcf
Tangential Movement: 4%
Radial Movement: 2%
Volumetric Shrinkage: 6%
Durability: Excellent

I think 1/16" dado sounds about right for a floating bottom of granadillo, but was wondering if I might be able to laminate some maple/ash to that bottom plank and do a combination of rabbeted(maple/ash) and the dado’d grandillo? Now thinking about having a maple/ash skirt-base and sides with the granadillo on front, top, & back.

Personally, I don’t feel very creative and have always preferred following others’ plans/designs, and making slight alterations as needed. This is a brave new world for me, actually trying to “design” something… Been Googling finger-joint boxes and see just how varied things can get. Hmm…

Oh yeah, another thing I like about these boards is that the appear to be quarter-sawed, and should remain flat w/out cupping. 8-)


I can’t help you out much here, but that is some beautiful looking wood. Good luck on your build.

Losing fingers since 1969

Picture does not refer to granadillo.
picture came from this site:

The 1/4 per 12" tolerance in the article probably refer to a wood that move most; I am thinking pine or the likes.

I think you have to worry of the bottom and the top only.

longitudinal and radial, I usually ignore.

Tangential is the beast. That’s usually where the width of the stock will be substantial. again with your stock dimensions, it is still a small movement.
Quatersawn, if I remember correctly, alleviate the wood movement.

in your case ash or maple movement would be very similar.

I am blessed to be in the San Francisco bay area where we do not have too much swing in humidity. Texas would have some more variation. The only time were I sweat for wood movement was for my outdoor picnic table.

Rabbeted or not the wood is going to move. Ash/maple and granadillo move at different rate.

Laminated strips of contrasting color could add some nice element to the design. Sketchup or photoshop couldbe useful to determine the final look. I personaly use the color printer combo I have. Cut and glue:)
I would just add a piece of ash next to my stock and see how it looks. you first picture on the red mat made me think padauck might work. Maybe too intense..

As for design and creativity, I am on the same camp as you.
I usually ask my wife’s opinion. Logic and design together is rare. I say let you idea flow. The wood you are starting with is beautiful.
The bottom is not visible from outside so I don’t care so much for it. the inside is usually lined with fabric/padding.
My boxes bottom has always been plywood.

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

Thanks Lanwater, many things to think about. I am beginning to think about using either the ash or maple in more substantial ways in order to accent the Granadillo. Yeah, top/bottom are my biggest issues, though I am not against adding/gluing a small block near each hinge. The hinge screws are ~3/8" tops and the Granadillo is 1/4". Beyond that, I am completely open for suggestions. BTW, Chicago screws are too big unless I go with really big/larger hinges to accommodate the heads of even the smallest ones.

All I know is,… Geez! I am NOT an artist! I struggle for “craftsman” at the very best! I just wanna’ have fun… 8-)


Have fun and good luck with the project Mike!

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

Sometimes when getting ready to do a project we haven’t done before, we gather TMI (too much information) ,if you’re concerned about wasting hard to find wood, make a practice box out of pine or poplar and just go for it . If you’re doing woodworking for fun,then expect to make mistakes,take the fear and pressure out of the project,use each project as a learning experience.Enjoy!
I find so many folks are much more creative than myself ,so I often do the same thing as you Mike , I get inspiration from other folks work,there’s nothing wrong with that, unless we claim someone elses design as our own.

woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

OK, I just went back and looked at your reference image and “discovered”, after sleeping on it, that since the Granadillo is quarter-sawn the tangential axis is the 1/4" thickness.

So that means that tangential movement is just 0.01" at 4%. I am assuming (a dangerous thing) that that would be at the extreme range of humidity changes and not what one would see normally happen in a home. Plus, don’t very dense woods change moisture content very slowly as well?


I am sure that inside a house it will not be the higher end of the interval. Also the finish you put on, although not totally impermeable,
will prevent most of the moisture from going through.

I have a blanket chest I made about 5 years and glued one of the panel by mistake. By the time I realized what I have done it was too late to undo.
It still has not cracked on me.

I was hopping some of the more experienced member would chime in on this very important subject. Oh well!

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA