Old House Journal - - Contents - By Ray Tschoepe

When to avoid mi­ter­ing.

Most join­ery is de­signed to ac­com­mo­date the move­ment of wood—ex­pan­sion and shrink­age—due to changes in tem­per­a­ture and mois­ture con­tent. For ex­am­ple, doors are de­signed with un­fas­tened pan­els to mit­i­gate the sea­sonal move­ment of the stiles and rails and the pan­els them­selves; held tight, joints would open or pan­els crack. Other join­ery is not as easy to con­ceal. Con­sider the miter joints on door cas­ings. Sea­sonal wood shrink­ing across the grain al­ways causes the joint to open on the in­side cor­ner; high hu­mid­ity causes the joint to open on the outer edge. A flex­i­ble filler and paint typ­i­cally are used to mask the prob­lem, and it’s no won­der cor­ner blocks be­came pop­u­lar, as they make a miter un­nec­es­sary. Suit­able join­ery be­comes even more im­por­tant out­doors, as in porch floors.

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