Minimizing warping on SYP lumber?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 08-25-2011 06:45 PM 1288 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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661 posts in 2887 days

08-25-2011 06:45 PM

I’m contemplating making a new bench top out of southern yellow pine construction lumber. My plan is to buy some 2×10s or 2×12s at a home center, cut them to lengths of 6 or 7 feet, and let them dry for a while. After they are dry, I will rip them down to about 4 or 5 inches wide and trim off the rounded corners.

Pretty standard stuff, except that everything I’ve read says that SYP can warp badly depending on how it’s stored while drying and how it is cut. (Schwarz says that drying them on edge can help.)

How long should I let the boards dry? Would it be better to let the boards dry thoroughly before I rip them to width, or should I rip them right after I bring them home? What is a good plan of attack to minimize the warping and the amount of hand-planing I’ll have to do? When I rip them, should I also rip a little off both edges (to remove the rounded corners and exposed new wood on both edges)? Any suggestions?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

2 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3916 days

#1 posted 08-28-2011 05:20 AM

I thihnk with SYP you are taking your chances no matter how long it dries in your shop. They are often dried too fast so the outside ‘case hardens’ so no interior moisture comes out, until you cut into it, then they can spiral like a corkscrew. You may just have to work on counting on a lot of waste as the ones that spiral into uselessness are replaced by ones that are actually stable. I am thinking of build a bench out of SYP myself but haven’t quite prepared myself for the number of 2X10s I am actually going to have to buy and cut to get enough decent wood. I guess the only way to really know is to actually do it, I wish you success with this!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Ole's profile


67 posts in 3280 days

#2 posted 08-28-2011 05:37 AM

I’m still in the process of building a Roubo bench out of SYP based on Schwarz’s book. I got a good deal on 20’ 2X12s. Some of then were literally 100% clear on both faces, pretty impressive stuff. Take your time and sort through the lumber. I ripped mine before stickering it. If you buy pith-centered 12x lumber you may end up with pretty much quartersawn if you rip the pith out.
My remaining stash has been air drying for a year and I can’t say that much of it has warped too much. Get yourself a moisture meter, take samples, and give it time to dry. Proper stickering and some weight on top while it dries should do the trick.

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