Q. I am thinking about using delta post oak for making some interior doors. Is this a good choice?
A. Delta post oak has total radial shrinkage of 5.4 percent, from 28 percent MC to 0 percent MC (radial would be the width of a quartersawn board) and a shrinkage of 9.8 percent tangentially (width of a flatsawn board). For comparison, northern red oak is 4.0 and 8.6 percent which is over 15 percent more stable than post oak; but red oak is still considered a high movement wood.
Checking is likely, more than other oaks, so slow careful drying is required.
My conclusion is that there are many other woods that are much more stable and trouble-free. Depending on door size (larger is worse), in addition to a premium finish to make sure that any moisture changes are very slow which will minimize shrinkage and swelling, you may need some metal stabilizers to prevent twisting. Even then, you may still have issues, especially if you are picky about ultimate flatness.
My conclusion is that delta post oak is a very good wood, but not the best choice for an interior door; that is, is that there are many other wood species that are much more stable for making doors.
Gene Wengert, “The Wood Doctor” has been training people in efficient use of wood for 35 years. He is extension specialist emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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