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HELP - Oak splitting 2 days after glue up

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Forum topic by BoilerUp21 posted 05-16-2018 11:14 PM 718 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BoilerUp21

97 posts in 884 days


05-16-2018 11:14 PM

First two pictures are of splitting. Occurring on the ends and along the grain as well.

Moisture reading from leg lumber post glue up…15%!

Moisture reading from a piece of oak from a big box store…0.0%

Moisture reading from rough cut lumber before milling…7.5%

So i bought this lumber about 5 months ago and it has been stored in my garage shop since. Milled some of it to glue up table legs. Everything went according to plan until i noticed cracking/splitting of the wood both at the glue joints and in the wood itself. Obviously the moisture content of the milled lumber (inside of the boards) was higher than the readings of the outside…rookie mistake

Based on the readings, the exterior seemed ok, but i did not check moisture content after milling and before glue up. I assume that i should have milled to 95% desired dimensions and then waited until the moisture content dropped below ~8% before a final run through the planer and gluing up?

I am looking for guidance on this (best practice to follow for future to avoid issues) along with a proposed product to fill the cracks before staining (not too worried about staining the filler, but do not want voids). How will i know when all of the moisture and stress is out of the legs before i fill the voids?

Thanks for any help on this…


10 replies so far

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

3525 posts in 706 days


#1 posted 05-16-2018 11:43 PM

For a pin-type moisture meter, I’ve read that the reading should be taken on the end grain after a few inches has been cut off. That way you’re getting the reading of the moisture inside the wood.

To fill, you can go with Timbermate, or for a more durable fill, epoxy putty. I did a blog post about using epoxy putty that may help. It goes into way more detail than you’ll need, but there are some helpful tips in there.

Timbermate is water based and remains water soluble until it is top coated. If this wood will be for an outdoor project, don’t use it, go with epoxy putty.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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msinc

497 posts in 620 days


#2 posted 05-17-2018 02:26 AM

One of the reasons I bought my own saw mill is because I have found that saw mills that sell lumber don’t usually tell the truth when it comes to how long their wood has been drying. If you think about it who would buy wood that was sawed up yesterday? They are buying it because they have a need for it now. The last batch of oak I bought was several months ago and I was told that it was sawed “last winter”.....when I ran some of it thru my table saw there was water literally running out of the boards.
Looks like to me that your lumber was simply not dry enough to use yet. I metered mine and if I remember right it was at something like 56%, but that was, as above, a fresh cut piece checking in the middle of the board. The old saying, “a year per inch” if you set it outside and cover it is still sometimes just not enough.

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3764 days


#3 posted 05-17-2018 03:08 AM

That’s surface checking. Some woods do it
more than others. I’ve had kiln dried oak do
it after having it around for years, so it was
dry. It may be caused by case hardening,
which is a drying defect the natural material
is inherently prone to. I don’t think there’s
anything you could have done to prevent it,
you just got unlucky.

Wood that does this can be filled or veneered.
I’ve mixed pigments into wood fillers to match
the color of dried stain before. The darker
the easier the match is, imo. I start with light
colored putty and mix the powdered dyes in to
match, adding solvent as needed.

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therealSteveN

1198 posts in 691 days


#4 posted 05-17-2018 06:43 AM

I’m going to address what you have seen with 2 different answers. I am giving both answers because if it was all # I think you would have seen evidence before you started working with your stock. I’ll give you the easy answer first.

It’s a link to read what others have said in relationship with White Oak, especially QSWO. Pay attention to the answers given by David Sochar, and Gene Wengert. Oak cracks, simple as that. However sometimes the cracks are simply from how it was dried.

checks and flakes in white oak causing problems

Next is the exact steps you need to address about how to open up a big piece of wood, to make smaller pieces from it, just know the driest part of the board is right at the end. Once you chop it to length you change that, and it is going to be wetter on the end right after that cut, then the old end was before the cut.

Same thing applies for the face, and sides of each board. We take the board at a more stable state. and as we take off passes with a TS, Jointer, or Planer we expose more of the moisture that used to be “inside” the board. These changes in the moisture on the outside of the board now are also making it look closer to how it was after first being chopped down. Back then you had very careful stacking of the boards so air could go all around it’s surfaces and allow it to “air dry”. Now we grab them, put moisture in between them (in the form of glue) and expect that board to keep looking all flat and nice like it did before we started hacking at it.

The requirement is to always remove the same amounts of wood from all surfaces. If you really open it a lot like with a resaw, some woods do much better to resticker them for a while to allow the board to air out again. Folks who do a lot of resawing have probably at one time or another seen boards come off flat, and consistent, and the next morning they had a pile of pretzels.

Add Oak and I think you are seeing some of both.

-- Think safe, be safe

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Tony_S

906 posts in 3199 days


#5 posted 05-17-2018 10:23 AM



I am looking for guidance on this (best practice to follow for future to avoid issues)

- BoilerUp21

Find a new lumber supplier.
The lumber in the first 3 pictures wasn’t dried properly and the checking wasn’t caused by anything you did, or didn’t do. I’ll almost guarantee the checking was there when you bought the lumber, you just didn’t see it. Unless the checking is extreme (honeycomb) it can be pretty difficult to spot on a rough sawn board.
Read up on checking, honeycomb, and case hardening.
You’re getting a poor reading(s) with your meter as well. There’s no such thing as wood/lumber with a zero moisture content.

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

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WDHLT15

1766 posts in 2593 days


#6 posted 05-17-2018 11:28 AM

I am with Tony. That oak was dried too fast leading to internal checking.

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

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rwe2156

3069 posts in 1597 days


#7 posted 05-17-2018 02:04 PM

Checking, not splitting.

It was there all along and when you milled the lumber, you released surface tension and the cracked widened.

I don’t think there’s anything you could have done to prevent it.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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BoilerUp21

97 posts in 884 days


#8 posted 05-17-2018 06:01 PM



Checking, not splitting.

It was there all along and when you milled the lumber, you released surface tension and the cracked widened.

I don t think there s anything you could have done to prevent it.

- rwe2156

It seems everyone has come to roughly the same conclusion…improperly kiln dried lumber…This was my first time buying from this guy, but I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t something I did before I say I’m never buying from him again.

Is it true that I would not have been able to see any of this checking while milling it? only after it was glued up did the checking become apparent…

Thanks for the input.

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3764 days


#9 posted 05-17-2018 08:04 PM

You can test it for case hardening if you want
more information or leverage in your future
dealings.

https://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog/how-to-test-for-case-hardened-lumber

View BoilerUp21's profile

BoilerUp21

97 posts in 884 days


#10 posted 05-17-2018 08:50 PM



You can test it for case hardening if you want
more information or leverage in your future
dealings.

https://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog/how-to-test-for-case-hardened-lumber

- Loren

Thanks Loren! That definitely confirms my suspicions now. I was having so many issues with the wood closing up on me when I ripped it on the table saw even with the riving knife! I will not be purchasing lumber from this guy again.

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