Well, the wall hasn’t gone up yet – the start got postponed a day or so. And I had time to start ripping down the yellow pine 2×12s This proved interesting, so I thought I would post a short snippet about that. I ran into a frustrating problem so I will probably post this on the forum as well.
My plan is to build a big heavy Holtzapffel bench a la Chris Schwartz et al. Supposedly, yellow pine is a good candidate, strong, heavy and relatively cheap. I’ve never used it before as I am from the West Coast originally. It’s widely available here in the Midwest so I figured that would be a good choice.
I bought the yellow pine a little over two months ago from a local lumberyard. Southern Yellow Pine #1. Bought a total of 14 16-foot 2×12s. With the help of one of the lumberyard workers , I picked through the bunk (which we had to open, stripping off the plastic) and chose the boards one by one, trying to get good, straight boards as free of knots as possible.
The lumberyard delivered the wood the next day and I stacked it in my garage , stickered with one-foot lengths of 1×2 furring. The garage has radiant heat in the floor and I kept the garage at 60F. I checked all the wood when I first stacked it with my moisture meter. Values were typically 8-12%, with a few at 6-7% and a few higher – one or two of them at 20%.
I rechecked them this past week and they were all down below 10%, many of them at 5-6%. I figured they were probably ready to be ripped. My plan was to cut them into 6-8 foot lengths, depending on knots, then rip them down to 4 1/2” widths. So I started crosscutting the 16-foot lengths down with my circular saw and that was when the first signs of potential problems arose. Most of the cuts weren’t a big deal, but on some of them my circular saw started to bog down a tad. The saw is a fairly robust Milwaukee with a 24 tooth Freud rip blade so that seemed a little surprising, but I persevered.
But when I got to ripping them on the table saw I got some real surprises. My saw is a SawStop 1.75 HP cabinet saw which I equipped with a Freud LMT72 24 tooth rip blade. I bought the blade specifically because I was a little concerned about the difficulty I ran into simply cross-cutting the boards. I figured that ripping the long pine might be an issue with the 40-tooth blade that comes with the saw.
My worries were soon confirmed. Most of the boards I managed to rip, but I ran into a number of them – maybe as many as a third of them – where I simply couldn’t rip them. Instead, I got part way through the board – usually no more than afoot or so and the board would start closing up so fast and tight that it pinched the blade, smoke would start coming off the blade and the blade would stall. Then it was a real hassle to get the dang board off the saw.
After a couple of these, I got more sensitive and as soon as the blade started to bog I would stop. When I checked the problem boards I noted that they tended to be heavier than the others, but surprisingly, they weren’t measurably wetter. A couple of them were only 7% whereas some of the boards that I was able to rip were 8%.
And when I say they closed up, I ain’t kidding, as you can see.
The top board in the photo is near the heart of the tree, but that wasn’t the case with all of them by any means.
So I put the problem boards aside and continued on. I did finish ripping all the rest and now have a respectable pile of wood ready for the next step.
My biggest problem is that with bows, twists and knots, I am not sure I have enough for the whole bench and yet am not sanguine about being able to rip the rest. I don’t want to wait a year to finish the bench. Well, have to take a week off for my real job and wait for the work on the new wall to be done, so I’ll revisit it in a week or so.
-- Ric, Seattle Area, "Design thrice, measure twice, cut once... slap forehead, start over"