Does time of year when a tree is cut affect its lumber's stability?

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Forum topic by marc_rosen posted 02-26-2017 12:46 AM 1200 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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143 posts in 3328 days

02-26-2017 12:46 AM

Hey Gang,
Regardless of how lumber is dried- kiln dried or air dried- will it be more stable if the tree is cut down before the sap rises? Another way to ask the question, when is the best time to fell a tree to obtain the most stable lumber?
Thanks for your answers, ..Marc

-- Windsurfing, Woodworking, Weaving, and Woodducks. "Most woodworkers are usually boring holes"

4 replies so far

View WDHLT15's profile


1780 posts in 2623 days

#1 posted 02-26-2017 01:09 AM

The moisture content of a tree is relatively constant year round as it is a living organism. In the Spring when the tree starts to grow, there is more water being transported to the crown to spur the new growth, but the moisture content of the wood is relatively constant over the seasons. So, the stability of the wood is not a function of the season. However, the bark will slip and be easier to remove in the Spring as growth initiates in the cambium. Conversely, in the winter, when growth has ceased and the cambium is not active, the bark is tight and very hard to remove. So, if you want to retain bark on a piece, make sure that the tree was harvested in the dormant season.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View JCamp's profile


819 posts in 698 days

#2 posted 02-26-2017 01:37 AM

Not sure how it effects lumber but for fence posts we always cut them in the winter when the sap was “low” Don’t know if it’s true but old timers always said that they’d last longer that way. It would b my assumption that in lumber it might warp less and have slightly less moisture content Could b wrong tho…..

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Tony_S's profile


924 posts in 3230 days

#3 posted 02-26-2017 11:04 AM

Danny’s on it….and right(as usual). No structural or stability differences that I’ve ever heard or read about.

On a side note though….
Here’s some interesting reading if your a wood geek regarding winter/summer cut (in particular Hard Maple), but only in regard to the color/oxidization.
It’s good to know about the product you’re buying.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View marc_rosen's profile


143 posts in 3328 days

#4 posted 02-26-2017 12:32 PM

Hi Guys,
Thanks for your responses and Danny, thanks for the detailed explanation, it is much appreciated.
Tony, those links look informative. Thanks too.
. .. Marc

-- Windsurfing, Woodworking, Weaving, and Woodducks. "Most woodworkers are usually boring holes"

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