The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Timber Framing/Log construction => Topic started by: forrestM on February 02, 2021, 06:11:29 PM

Title: Universal timber sizes?
Post by: forrestM on February 02, 2021, 06:11:29 PM

I have a pile of ash logs I would like to turn into timbers before they rot. I donít have a specific plan for a timber frame project in the future, and I know each project is different...but Iím wondering if there are some general timber sizes I could go ahead and cut to, so that no matter what I cut it may be useful In the future, or something that someone might buy from me. I figure whatever we come up with I would oversize by an inch or so so that it can be cleaned up / straightened when the time comes. 

Any advice on some practical sizes?

Title: Re: Universal timber sizes?
Post by: DonW on February 03, 2021, 12:02:54 PM
When you have no intended use at the outset, meaning application, meaning time-frame, meaning storage and so on and so on it's a good practice to mill the wood to the thickest practicle thickness, leave the wane and then take precautions to properly season based on these dimensions.

Also with Ash it is better to remove its bark. 
Title: Re: Universal timber sizes?
Post by: pineywoods on February 03, 2021, 01:14:57 PM
I frequently have people come to my mill and say "I need some boards" What size ? Don't really know. OK what will you use them for? Most of the time what they want is either 2X4 or 1X12, just have no idea what sizes lumber comes in.  Maybe I should just sell them 2X3 or   1X9 ?
Title: Re: Universal timber sizes?
Post by: Stephen1 on February 03, 2021, 06:47:02 PM
 Ash beams tend to check bad from my experience. 
Title: Re: Universal timber sizes?
Post by: Brad_bb on February 03, 2021, 09:31:31 PM
On the contrary I've had good luck with Standing dead ash.  

So first thing you need to decide is are you going to use nominal dimensions or actual dimensions?  In other words do you want an actual 8x8 or 7.5x7.5?  I prefer actual dimensions and that extra half inch is noticeable.  I also usually oversize timbers by 1/2" in each direction, because I will go back and plane them later with the mill planer/jointer.  So to end up with an 8x8, I'll cut it 8.5x8.5.  So if it bows I'll at least be able to take off that much to help straighten it.  That usually works unless I suspect it will bow more than that.  Usually you won't get much bow on a boxed heart timber, which Is what I typically do.  You will get checks though, and that 1/2" will help you square it up again.

So typical sizes I mill to on hardwood boxed heart?
8.5x8.5  (typical posts)
8.5x10.5 for shorter span tie beam or purlins, or king post
8.5x12.5 for tie beams, which must be a higher quality beam, also could be for king post

4.5x8.5 Free of heart or boxed heart for brace stock

I mostly cut Ash, Walnut, and Cherry

Oak is a different story.  I don't get to cut much oak.  Oak that I've purchased can move a bunch as it dries, so it's best to get it close to when you need it, cut the joinery and get it assembled.