Heartwood? Sapwood? Does it matter?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 02-13-2012 03:57 PM 764 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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660 posts in 2706 days

02-13-2012 03:57 PM

I’ve started making a workbench out of southern yellow pine 2×12s. Some of the boards are cut through the center of the tree (quartersawn). I’ve ripped the boards in half, so each board is approximately 5 inches wide with the heartwood along one edge and the sapwood along the other. I need to rip these boards down to 3.5” wide, which I can do by removing 1.5” from either edge.

Southern yellow pine looks pretty similar throughout the board, so maybe it doesn’t matter which edge I remove, but I was wondering if it is important when using other types of wood to either use or avoid the heartwood or sapwood, if possible. Any thoughts?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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1747 posts in 2499 days

#1 posted 02-15-2012 04:24 AM

Remove the wood from the pith side, or the side that was closer to the center of the tree. The center portion of the wood that forms when the tree is young and for about the first 10 years of growth is juvenile wood. It is not as strong as the more mature wood on the outside of the tree. The most important choice would be removing the side with the pith in it (exact center of the tree), especially if the pith is present in the board.

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

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