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Forum topic by john2005 posted 08-24-2013 06:27 AM 1009 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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john2005

947 posts in 829 days


08-24-2013 06:27 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question milling

I was able to round up a few logs from a plumb tree. It was cut down 3 months ago and stored under a deck in the shade till I was able to pick it up. Problem is, (after getting this 4-500 lbs of wood home) that after I milled it into 1” boards, it is wanting to crack. In fact most of it is wanting to crack. I have the ends sealed and keep it under a tarp until I am ready to cut the next piece, but its cracking at a faster and faster rate. Today I cut one board out of the center and it had cracked almost the entire length 3 hours later. What do I do to slow this down? Somebody please help me, this is beautiful wood! Thank you

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.


33 replies so far

View sciolist's profile

sciolist

1 post in 514 days


#1 posted 08-24-2013 06:53 AM

I know this is probably something you don’t want to hear right now, but I don’t think you can do anything at this point but wait things out. You don’t mention a species, but I would bet that the wood is probably still very wet, overall. 3 months for air drying timber is, IMHO, too short a time for the water content to evaporate evenly across your boards, so they’re going to crack if you work them. If you have a hygrometer, you can check the moisture content of the boards that you have, but I would probably sticker the pile, put it all back under the tarp, and forget about them for at least another 3 – 6 months.

-=T

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richardwootton

1244 posts in 606 days


#2 posted 08-24-2013 08:02 AM

Possibly stick and stack it, and add moisture (?) and re-tarp it to slow the drying process? I have a lot of walnut that I accidentally waited too long to seal the ends before I got it stickered and have a lot of checking or cracking, mainly at the ends of the boards. I would not work with it for a good while, but I sure would like to see pictures!

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1033 posts in 786 days


#3 posted 08-24-2013 10:50 AM

Are you talking about plum wood from a fruit tree? Most fruit woods prone to cracking, splitting just looking at it.

Since do not know diameter of logs here is my best guesses.

Cutting through pith (center of log) dealing with juvenile wood prone to splitting. Cracks can radiate outward from the pith too!

You are dealing with some reaction wood bent trunks or limbs.

Not enough air circulation under the deck, logs stored directly on the ground and picked up more moisture or did not lose much in storage. Temperature too hot under the tarp cut boards drying too fast; again not enough air circulation.

Might look for tips, trips & techniques of air drying on the web. Several good You-tube videos.

-- Bill

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john2005

947 posts in 829 days


#4 posted 08-24-2013 09:05 PM

It is plum, like from a fruit tree. I did cut the pith out as part of my attempt to stabilize the wood and I have kept it under a tarp to slow the drying. I have 4 pieces that are about 4-5’ long and the largest starts at 14” dia and ends around 8” on the smallest section. Its all fairly straight, and interestingly doesn’t even have too many branches. I thought this would be an easy one, but its not looking like it. I had even started to rough out a bowl that was about 8” dia. The old belt on my delta lathe wore out before I could hallow it out so I put a bag over it and walked away. I came back the next day with a new belt, but it had already split in half.
I am suspecting that most of it has to do with the wood coming from seattle area and me trying to work it in MT. LOTS drier here. I have it in the garage which is the coolest place on the property, and its covered but its not enough. Anybody ever risk running a humidifier in their shop with all their tools?

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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bondogaposis

2523 posts in 1002 days


#5 posted 08-24-2013 09:46 PM

It is so hot and dry here right now the wood is drying too fast. Single digit humidity. I would spray water on it and keep it covered until the weather changes. It might not work but you have nothing to lose at this point.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Don W's profile

Don W

15018 posts in 1219 days


#6 posted 08-24-2013 10:07 PM

Is it stacked and stickered? Is it only cracking wen you work it? How are you working it? How thick is it cut?

If you try to re-saw or work lumber that is still to green it will split. I doubt its dry in 3 months.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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john2005

947 posts in 829 days


#7 posted 08-25-2013 06:39 AM

I like the spray water idea. I had thought of a humidifier but didn’t want to rust all my tools . That would probably be more controlled. Thx
It is stickered and stacked and all I have done by means of “working” is run it through the bandsaw, rough milling out 1’’ boards. I have a few that are 3” blocks for spindles but the bulk is 1”. I thought if I got it opened up it would dry more evenly, but that is not the case. One of the logs had even started to split almost the entire length so that one I cut out the split before resawing the rest.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

925 posts in 1006 days


#8 posted 08-25-2013 07:22 AM

Actually, wood can dry in three months. Someone said on this site that wood takes an average of an inch per year to season, but that is a huge falicy. Wood can dry alot faster depending on species, conditions….
If I put a log under a porch here, it’d probably not season all that fast, considering 90% humidity and almost daily rain fall, however if I were to put it in a climate controlled area stickered with good air movement it’d dry alot faster. But he’s in Montana, so his conditions are vastly different. What I’d suggest is run down to the harbor freight and pick up a cheap moisture meter. That would give you an idea if your lumber is already too dry.

Iffen people were to actually read up on what classifies hardwoods and softwoods, they’d understand that the cellular structure of trees is not the same, and that there is a huge difference in softwoods and hardwoods on their structuring. But instead we’re gonna throw around the falicy inch rule and claim it as law…

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1254 posts in 600 days


#9 posted 08-25-2013 02:13 PM

don’t be so harsh it is just a generic rule of thumb not goshile

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

925 posts in 1006 days


#10 posted 08-25-2013 07:40 PM

Have to be, too much ignorance on the site about it shawn. A general rule of thumb, which isn’t even accurate in the first place, gets taken for dogma by those who have no real education on the matter, who then misinform the masses, who then continue to do the same. It’s like people teaching that the world is flat still.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15018 posts in 1219 days


#11 posted 08-25-2013 07:52 PM

So what is the average time it takes wood to dry?

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1126 posts in 1127 days


#12 posted 08-26-2013 02:05 AM

Depends on the species and your particular climate conditions. The real fast drying species are soft maple, yellow poplar, black walnut, and cherry. The oaks have to dry slow or they will have internal checking and honeycombing. In my climate with a lot of good air drying days, I would say my “average” for most species is 6 months. That would be to dry down to 15% moisture. Can’t get much lower than that with our humidity in Middle GA.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View john2005's profile

john2005

947 posts in 829 days


#13 posted 08-26-2013 05:03 AM

I have to agree with TCC here. It is dry year-round and while most of the native woods are pines, firs and spruces, an 8” log can dry in one year. Cracking and checking are commonplace though, unless you try to slow it down, which is what I am hoping to do. Beautiful wood, hate to loose it.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

709 posts in 1609 days


#14 posted 08-26-2013 03:23 PM

If it cracks that quickly then the wood is simply under too much stress to stay together. Drying rates and temperatures will not mean much, if anything, if the wood is unstable. Some wood is just that way, seems that tree is too. I’ve had boards split their length once sawn, just the way it goes. Get what you can from it, try to not expect much.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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john2005

947 posts in 829 days


#15 posted 08-29-2013 04:59 PM

Any of you think that cutting into smaller width boards (say from 5” to 2.5”) would help in any fashion? Or is my stress issue still going to ruin me? Thanks for the feedback

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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