Why did the dry wood split?

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Forum topic by spunwood posted 09-04-2013 01:18 AM 957 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1202 posts in 3073 days

09-04-2013 01:18 AM

Just resawed a 20×7x7 part of a barn beam. Made little pieces 3×4x5. Brought them in the house which is about 50% humidity and in a day they have major splits in them. I was hoping to make a tractor bandsaw box with them.

What happened?

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

7 replies so far

View UpstateNYdude's profile


918 posts in 2220 days

#1 posted 09-04-2013 01:23 AM

Has the wood been outside at all, and changing climates for wood can cause all sorts of bad things to happen, and how drastic of a change in climate from where you were storing it previously is it to what your house is like?

-- Nick, “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2129 days

#2 posted 09-04-2013 01:31 AM

Wood can do that, especially when super dry. Just like cutting the straps off a bundle of dry 2×2s. Once I ripped some 100+ year old nicely dried out 4×8 white oak into 2×4s – and to my surprise they did twist slightly (a few that didn’t were quarter-sawn).

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3949 days

#3 posted 09-04-2013 01:32 AM

If the wood was at 10 to 20% moisture content before you moved it into the 50 percent humididty it probably sucked up the humidity at different rates on top and bottom causing the warping, if enough tension is introduced into the wood the splits occur to relieve the stress. The other thing is if the barn beam was stable as a beam but once it was cut again internal stresses that were contained are now free to warp and twist and perhaps even crack the wood. Did the pieces with all four sides with new cuts warped differently than the boards with one or two ‘old’ faces?

-- "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 spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 3073 days

#4 posted 09-04-2013 01:32 AM

The house is about 70 and it was 90 outside, but i bet it is like redsled said

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 4161 days

#5 posted 09-04-2013 02:59 AM

Sometimes older wood just has built up internal tension that is able to cause cracking or warping after re sawing into smaller pieces so that tension can do its dastardly deeds. Also very likely moisture changes play into it as others said.

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 3073 days

#6 posted 09-04-2013 11:22 AM

Thanks fellas. Next time I will leave it outside after resawing for a bit longer. Too bad, I may have to cut some new pieces for the bandsaw box.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View WDHLT15's profile


1797 posts in 2713 days

#7 posted 09-04-2013 12:03 PM

What happened is that the shell of the beam began to dry when you brought it inside at a much faster rate than the core because the beam was so thick. This sets up a lot of stress, and something had to give. Hence the splits.

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

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