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Forum topic by DKV posted 03-21-2013 02:49 AM 2183 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3940 posts in 2710 days

03-21-2013 02:49 AM

In the April, 2013 copy of Fine Woodworking Steve Latta states that dropping rough cut lumber on the floor prior to final dimensioning relieves stress. He didn’t say whether it was his stress or the wood’s but I’m assuming he was referring to the wood. Latta believes that when dropping rough parts on the floor the impact releases internal tensions and lets the parts finish warping.

Now, I will believe almost anything you tell me about woodworking but the above is a tiny bit difficult to swallow. It’s kind of like if I talk nicely to the steer that is about to be butchered and get it to chill out right before I put a bullet in his head, the steak will be more tender than if I didn’t whisper in it’s ear.

Could be I’m wrong. Dropping stressed wood and mood setting for stressed bovine just don’t seem to make sense. However, if I am wrong and under the new rules of engagement that dictate clear and honest responses to really stupid topics feel free to let loose with the best you got.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

27 replies so far

View madts's profile


1874 posts in 2545 days

#1 posted 03-21-2013 02:56 AM

That has to be the biggest bit of bull shit I have ever heard!

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View lab7654's profile


266 posts in 2452 days

#2 posted 03-21-2013 02:58 AM

Well it seems that I have a tendency to drop my workpieces after final dimensioning, leaving nice dents or gouges. Not sure what effect it has on the wood’s stress, but it certainly doesn’t help mine.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3364 days

#3 posted 03-21-2013 03:05 AM

I read the same article and had the same reaction you did. Funny!

-- jay,

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2167 days

#4 posted 03-21-2013 03:05 AM

I don’t have any expertise, but it doesn’t sound 100% impossible either. From a physics standpoint, if you have an unstable system under stress, (a board) adding some energy by dropping it on the floor could shock it to get it to move a little. On the other hand, it doesn’t sound like dropping a board would be enough added energy to overcome the strength of the wood that is resisting the warping to be honest. If it was, the board would just split I’d think. So not quite like cow psychology for tenderization, but I don’t buy it either. I’d have to assume he was pulling the reader’s leg.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2681 days

#5 posted 03-21-2013 03:14 AM

Unless the energy was enough to release the tension thus cracking the board (not a desired effect) I think this was a preview of April’s fools day.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 2160 days

#6 posted 03-21-2013 03:23 AM

Whether or not it relieves stress in the board may depend on the karma in the room. I would also expect that the board really, really wants to change.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3514 days

#7 posted 03-21-2013 03:37 AM

I have never thought of letting my wood hit the floor to relieve stress…ouch…!

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3853 days

#8 posted 03-21-2013 03:50 AM

Having observed compression markings in Spanish Cedar
and other woods similar to the markings that occur in
steam bent wood, the idea that physical impact might
speed the process of boards moving towards their
equilibrium point does not seem that far-fetched to me.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2710 days

#9 posted 03-21-2013 04:14 AM

HMike, I know you avidly follow my postings so what do you think of the art of bovine whispering to get them to lighten up and relax? You know I appreciate your opinions and thoughts. Your Texas background could add credence to this little held belief.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14179 posts in 4188 days

#10 posted 03-21-2013 04:22 AM

I agree with Steve Latta.

Some amount of stress is probably released, but to what degree I’m not sure,... however but not allot.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 3049 days

#11 posted 03-21-2013 03:28 PM

Pre-slaughter stress in meat animals is bad. All kinds of science on that.

I have read that using routers/CNC for shaping violin and cello plates somehow shocks the wood’s fibers into having bad tone. Using traditional tools, the argument goes, is more gentle and harmonious to the woods cells, soul and other mystical properties. I immediately thought BS (yah, bad science). If Steve Latta is correct here I might need to re-think that. -Jack

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3056 days

#12 posted 03-21-2013 03:56 PM

If it’s true that dropping the board relieves stress, where does it go? What if my sander, which always seems to be on edge, takes it on? An abrasive personality + added stress sounds like bad company in the shop.

Now I’m thinking maybe I’ll need to add one of these to treat each board before it enters the shop. Do you think that would be adequate?



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3175 days

#13 posted 03-21-2013 04:00 PM

Can’t see it myself. Write to Mythbusters.

View Bsmith's profile


330 posts in 2876 days

#14 posted 03-21-2013 05:12 PM

Sound like it could work. I know in my shop, sometimes I will sling a piece of wood across the shop against the wall and the stress level is effectivly reduced. Just saying… ;-)

-- Bryan

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3640 days

#15 posted 03-21-2013 05:28 PM

I drop all sorts of things all of the time, but it only increases my stress levels.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

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