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Author Topic: What am I doing wrong?  (Read 849 times)

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Offline DixieReb31

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What am I doing wrong?
« on: June 03, 2021, 02:48:24 PM »
I would have posted pictures, but apparently not smart enough.  Canít figure this system of posting pics.

Anyway, approximately 50-60 days ago I cut some 2x4 SYP.  They have been stickered, air drying in the shade, covered with tin with weight on top. The stack has about 100 boards. 50% of the boards are bowed, twisted, crooked and un-useable.  What a waste.  What did I do wrong?
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Offline att_t_2d

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2021, 02:54:42 PM »
I just cut my first boards a few days ago, so I am just a beginner.  I have seen others post that this can happen when cutting branches due to internal stress from growing horizontally.

Offline btulloh

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2021, 03:02:58 PM »
Stress most likely. Were they leaners or off-center pith?  Usually stress will show up as you saw, but looks like it showed up later for your syp. Sawing decent logs but unbalanced grain from taking boards from the wrong orientation in the log can do it.  Post some closeups of your end grain could help diagnose.

Picture posting tutorial at bottom of forum list.

Oops. Lost my link. Iíll add it in a minute.

Ok. Hereís the link to the pic posting tutorial: https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=100194.0
HM126

Offline doc henderson

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2021, 03:05:55 PM »
the pic process is a learning curve, especially if you do not do a lot of other computer junk.  was it a lot of weight.  I also use strapping, that will loosen over time but snugs stuff in place for moving by forks and the first 3 weeks of drying.
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Offline Southside

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2021, 03:11:27 PM »
Plantation SYP or open / fast growing SYP is notorious for stress and movement.  Balancing the grain, centering the pith, working around or balancing the juvenile wood are all essential to getting it to dry straight. Even then, some will move.  

Did you roll the log and cant as you sawed it? Did you start with large or small diameter logs? 

From your description the drying isn't the issue at all. SYP can be dried fast, really fast and be just fine. Learning how to saw quality lumber from it - that can take a few tries. 
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Offline alan gage

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2021, 04:07:45 PM »
Welcome to the club. You should always feel proud and happy when you're stacking and stickering freshly sawn lumber because you sometimes don't get a chance to feel that way when you're unstickering it after drying.

Did you notice boards moving (either crooking sideways or bowing) as they were being sawn on the mill? Usually that's an indication of stress in the log and problems to come.

Alan
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2021, 05:17:53 PM »
Sounds like you did everything right in the drying process.  

Generally, then defects such as you describe comes down to the wood itself, or the sawing, or both.
Sometimes, there's nothing can be done about the wood while sawing, sometimes there's things that can be done.

That's just part of the learning process.  However, pics of the boards and of the ends would be a help.  

YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wonít roll, its not a log; itís still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyíre burned, and you canít fix them.  Donít burn the cookies.

Offline Stephen1

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2021, 06:48:33 PM »
I was amazed at all the lumber/wood I burned at the Sugar Bush when I 1st got my mill. I figured if I realized %50 useable wood after it was AD I was doing pretty good. No wonder wood cost so much!
I have a better % of good wood now after years of sawing, I still have loss maybe %90?  
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Offline DixieReb31

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2021, 09:09:06 PM »
Iíll admit that I am greener than green when it comes to knowing how to rotate a log/cant  while trying to cut dimensional lumber.  I do center the pith or if the pith is not centered I try to find the center of the log so that the taper is considered.  I have seen boards move left, right, up and down occasionally, but not 50 times out of 100.  Maybe a dozen or so.  These trees came from a fence line that has not been maintained for years.  Some of the trees were 20+ď diameter.  I have not been rotating my cant.  Once I have my cant to my target size I drop down 3.625Ē.  Iíll cut that dimension then rotate 90 degrees and proceed to cut 1.625Ē.  Thatís the way I have read many on here do it.  I think Iím doing it correctly.  Maybe not.
  I finally figured out how to post some picture.  Please look and tell me what Iím doing wrong.  




 
This pic is what I tried to load earlier.  These are jus some of the boards.



 
This is the pile of un-useable 2x4x12

 
End grain.  See how the board has bowed in the background.

 
Another shot of the end grain.  Am I too close to the pith?

 
Iím at a loss........
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Offline Southside

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2021, 09:33:55 PM »
Ok - well chalk it up to experience. The last three photos show vertical grain or QS lumber.  "The best", stronger, better, more durable" - yup, all of the above - BUT - as you learned it will crook (side bend) - and that is what you are seeing.  In that case you would be better to plan for bow so the 2x's could be flexed into place if necessary.  

Being a fence tree it is likely that she was limb heavy to one side - that creates tension and compression wood, which will make the cant move and make lumber move as it dries.  

In the first picture the 2x on the left and the third one over appear to show the remains of some juvenile wood - the different colored, center part, of the log.  Juvenile wood will shrink in length while later wood will not - when the juvenile wood is all on one side of the lumber and it shrinks length wise it causes the lumber to crook to the side.  

Framing lumber is typically sawn "horns up" or "horns down" so that 2x's bow rather than crook.  Balance juvenile wood on each side of a piece of lumber or eliminate it entirely to reduce movement - put the cant into a post or a beam instead.  Lastly - flat saw SYP with the grain peaks or cathedrals centered as you saw and movement due to shrink will be better balanced.  Watch for stress in the lumber and or cant as you saw - flip the cant to balance it and eliminate it from the remaining fiber.  Even if there is no obvious stress I always "balance saw" SYP and flip every couple of cuts to keep things from moving.  

With all of that - I still get stuff that moves when it dries - so I cut it shorter or rip it narrower to clean it up after it's done moving.  
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Online Don P

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2021, 09:46:37 PM »
Agreed, the top end grain shot looks like the release of growth stress, normal for that grain orientation. The next shows drying stress from the juvenile core shrinking lengthwise. The bottom shows what looks to be massed pitch, look for the cause, I see what looks like several bands of shake, an old injury or infection but perhaps an unhappy tree.
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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2021, 09:54:20 PM »
Glad you figured out the pic thing. They really tell the story and Southsides explanation covers it. Youíll gain experience quickly, and the more you saw the more youíll understand the answers. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that a quartersawn syp 2x will want to split when face nailed, so flat sawn is the better option for most framing lumber. So flat sawn, balancing the grain, etc. will work better for you and dry straighter in most cases. Then again, some logs donít listen, but thatís part of the challenge. It takes a some time to get it figured out, but itís a good journey. And none of us are ever through learning!

Looking good!  Youíre making sawdust!
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Offline DixieReb31

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2021, 10:09:18 PM »
Growing pains for sure.  Lot of effort for little reward. Thank you so much for the info.  I have not been looking for ďhornsĒ, but I will.  If I rotate horns up or down, do I still center the pith?  If I have a log where the pith is as much as 2 or more inches of difference do I just find the center of the log and ignore the pith?  Do you even use the center core of the log or try to cut around it?  So many questions!
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Offline Southside

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2021, 11:04:06 PM »
For framing lumber I usually get the bark parallel to the mill, assuming the pith is somewhere near the center of the log. This should keep the pith on both ends within say a 4x4. Later on you can center the pith into a single cut, sometimes two depending on the log. 

This helps with keeping the grain cathedral peaks centered in your lumber increasing the odds of it drying straight.

If I am quarter sawing flooring then it's completely different as I center the pith and don't drop the toe roller when I roll the log. In that case the log is broken down into multiple cants with the vertical grain as my goal and I deal with the pith later. 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2021, 11:35:43 PM »
What you did was saw out some excellent furniture grade quartersawn boards, which are always edged in a straight line rip saw or edger after drying to take out the crook.  

However, thatís the wrong orientation for framing lumber.   ;D



YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wonít roll, its not a log; itís still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyíre burned, and you canít fix them.  Donít burn the cookies.

Offline DixieReb31

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2021, 11:48:59 PM »
It may be QS, but it was purely by accident. I did not intend to do it. I made a cant and started cutting. I will surely rotate the cant next time. 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2021, 07:26:10 AM »
A lot of times, youíll get stress in one plane or another, either when sawing or when drying, or both.  So the sawing patterns are based on the intended use of the wood.

You did a fine job in cutting straight boards, but Mother Nature threw you a curve ball.  (Pun intended). :D

Sawing is a continuous learning experience, thatís what makes it fun.  

Most times, the center of a log is turned into a 4x4 or something.  It helps isolate the pith somewhat, keeps the grain in the piece balanced so it wonít bend too much when it dries, and since itís pretty thick, the cracks it will develop arenít too bad.  


YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wonít roll, its not a log; itís still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyíre burned, and you canít fix them.  Donít burn the cookies.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2021, 09:22:15 AM »
I know the results are disheartening but the curvy wood isnt junk.  Its fine to cut short for furniture pieces, utility shelving braces, chicken coops, livestock shelters, jenga style jackstand blocking or concrete form bracing etc etc
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2021, 09:40:18 AM »
As mentioned, this is somewhat normal for syp.  For the first 17 years of growth, the cells in the tree spiral instead of going straight up and down the stem...less at year 17 than at earlier years.  Then, at about 18 years, the spiral reverses direction, but is not as steep.  Slow drying and cool drying will have more warp than fast and hot.  Stacking sticks should be 24Ē apart and perfectly aligned with weight on the top.
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Offline alan gage

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2021, 11:04:59 AM »
A post from the past that I found helpful with regards to framing lumber: https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,99660.0.html

And another, perhaps more specific to hardwoods: https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,90483.msg1392800.html#msg1392800

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2021, 06:55:46 AM »
Yellowhammer,
1)  is this description (picture) you gave back in 2016 only for hardwood?  Could you possibly make one for the way you cut SYP into construction lumber?  That would greatly increase my learning curve!
2) You said earlier that you ďlevel the bark on SYPĒ.  Iím new, so I still am learning Sawyer lingo, do you literally put a 4í level on the log or just eyeball level?






 
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Offline DixieReb31

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2021, 07:02:17 AM »
I apologize, I got confused on who said what.  It was actually Southside that said he makes the bark parallel to the mill.  My bad.
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Offline Southside

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2021, 07:28:01 AM »
Definitely no level to be found.  Eyeball them and if you are not sure you can use your band to check the height across the log by running the saw head down to the opposite end.  That's also a good way to see if a big log will fit between the guide rollers.  Often will prevent wedging, trying to back out of a cut, chain saw nipping, and saying bad words.  ::) 
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Offline WDH

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2021, 08:13:50 AM »
Always try to balance the rings in pine.  The rings on one side should be a mirror image of the rings on the opposite side.  Never split the pith.  Never leave juvenile wood on only one side of a board.  Always put the juvenile core of any log in the center of the boards. 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2021, 08:27:21 AM »
I think we are all saying pretty much the same thing.

Every sawing pattern has trade offs, this pattern will produce very flat and straight (almost no cup, very little crook) boards.  However, itís crucial to watch for the stress in the cant when sawing and rotate out of it.  This pattern will produce lumber with some slight bow, but staying out of the stress will reduce that.

Also, especially with high sapwood hardwood, such as walnut and cherry, itís imperative to get out of the sapwood, which will really pull a board as it dries.  Learn how to identify all the different wood types and boundaries in a log, (itís in there and has a story to tell, you just have to find it) and try to totally contain them in one board, not have transitions in the board.  Those will be bad actors.  

Sawing straight wood means paying attention to every single board that comes off the mill, both as itís being sawn, as well as how it looks when it comes by in the dragback.  It can be done in a glance, but takes a little practice, but Iíve had people stand next to me when Iím sawing and not know how to slice up a piece of cheese, and by the end of a few hours, be able to ďcallĒ the rotations and flips real time.  

Also, there are no real hard and fast rules, if you follow a fixed pattern there will always be a few bad boards.  When Iím sawing a low dollar log, itís not as crucial, but if Iím sawing a $1,000 log, I pay a little more attention.

For example, Iíd recommend you go back through the stack you just got out and look at the grain and see which direction the boards bends.  I guarantee the vertical grains sawn ones will have mostly crook, the flatsawn ones will have mostly bow.  Some will have twist, and will have a spiral type cut pattern.  Some will just be what they are because they are ornery.

I have an advantage because we dry, sell and clean up every board I mill, so if I have flat boards when I stocking the shelves, thatís good.  If I have crooked or bowed boards and canít put them on the shelf, and have to spend time to fix them, then it means I can only blame myself.

Anyway, it come with experience and desire, and youíll have it down pat in no time.  Just learn from the ones youíve done to improve the ones you will do.  

Learn how to identify shake instantly, it is probably about the only defect that you canít correct, and it will ruin every board that it is in.  Totally unsellable.  


YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wonít roll, its not a log; itís still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyíre burned, and you canít fix them.  Donít burn the cookies.

Offline DixieReb31

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2021, 03:29:44 PM »
Much thanks to all who have given their knowledge freely.  Very much appreciated!
When I grow up I want to be as smart as you guys!
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Offline customsawyer

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2021, 06:55:08 AM »
In looking at the end grain of the lumber. It looks like you squared up to a about a 8" cant and then split it in half to get 2 boards at a time. As you have now learned that don't turn out the best lumber. We all had to learn the same lesson.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2021, 11:16:52 AM »
Refer back to Reply #19 that alan gage made.  Pay attention to the first link that he shared and the sawing procedure detailed there.  Also review WDH 's Reply #23 above.

No matter what you do you will occasionally have a log that had a bad history and it's lumber will give you problems.


 
This is over 4Mbf of 2X4's sawn from 17 logs, one of which exhibited stress and produced 4X4's with some crook.  Thankfully it was one of the smallest log so not much heartburn.  As you can see, they are laying dead straight.

When sawing framing lumber, saw down to your targeted cant from the sides and saw through from either the hump or horn faces.  You should not have to "look" for the sweep in a log because very few are completely straight with a centered pith.
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Online Don P

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Re: What am I doing wrong?
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2021, 12:07:47 PM »
This is a good chapter from the Wood Handbook to become familiar with. There is a lot of technical jargon and tables which you should not use for designing a building... but, the general information in this chapter is gold.
Wood Handbook--Chapter 4--Mechanical Properties of Wood (fs.fed.us)

I'd start with the section on knots, pg 27. Notice in that section a knothole would actually be a stronger stick than a nice intergrown red knot, they explain why, its all about slope of grain. On pg 30 is a section on ring orientation, someone made a comment about strength in relation to orientation, there is the gospel, kind of depends on which strength property we are talking about. Anyway that is a very good chapter, one I have read and reread since I bought my first copy with lawn mowing money, and I understand something new just about every time. There is a lot there and in my fifth decade of reading that section I am apparently one of the slow children  :D
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester


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