Here’s something strange that happened to me today.
(I should start off by saying that I’m a reasonably experienced amateur woodworker).
I was making an object that required a long row of holes into which protruding dowels would be set. The workpiece was formed out of some nice pale pinkish-brown hardwood of unknown identity (reclaimed timber from a pallet carrying Japanese electronic goods).
Anyway, I drilled a row of 6mm holes, then gave them a very slight countersink, then spent about 5 minutes sanding the piece. When I came to insert the dowels, they were too big for the holes - in fact, their ends only just fit into the countersunk recess.
I thought I had used the wrong sized drill, but there it was, still on the bench, where I had placed it when I put in the countersink bit, and yes, it was a 6mm bit. It wouldn’t fit in the holes any more though - not even nearly. The holes were only about 4.5mm diameter.
Bereft of understanding, but needing to press on, I just fitted the 6mm drill again and drilled out the holes, again. The dril bit in sharply and removed little curly toenail-like shavings from each hole - there was hardly any countersink left now, but that wasn’t a problem.
So I started to fit the dowels - 42 of them in total - a fairly time-consuming task, as each one needed a thin smear of PVA glue before inserting and tapping home. It got harder and harder to insert each successive dowel, and toward the end of the job, I was having to apply such force that I feared splitting the timber and thought I might have to get the drill out again.
So here we seem to have a type of wood that expands measurably upon cutting. I’ve never heard of such a thing.
Some other pertinent facts:
-The dowels are precut manufactured things - they’re very uniform in size and they are indeed 6mm in diameter.
-I was using a proper 6mm dowelling drill with a lip and spur tip - designed to cut right to the edge of the hole, rather than push the fibres aside.
-There’s no chance I was mistaken about the initial hole size - I always test drill and dowel in a piece of scrap, also, it was the only drill bit on the bench.
-The timber should be quite stable - it’s been in storage in the corner of my (dry) garage for nearly a decade.
-Atmospheric conditions were not unusual at all - certainly not especially humid.
So… help me out here? has anyone heard of a hardwood that expands after cutting?