I picked up a huge trailer load of oak boards. Averaging maybe 4″ thick by 10″ wide by 12′ long. I grabbed about 40 boards(HEAVY!!) for free except trailer rental.
It was left outside in a huge pile (I only took about 1/4 of the pile), uncovered and unprotected. Could have sat there over 5 years. Animals were in it and what a mess.
Anyway got the stuff home and crosscut each one to see what they were like. Pretty much all of it has cracks going into the wood from the radial rays that make up the quartersawn look. Some cracks go all the way to the center of the board and basically make good fire wood. But some of the boards after heavy milling do produce good workable wood.
My question is why did this happen? Would a tarp over top have prevented the cracking? Would stickering have helped? I assume the answer is yes.
My 2nd question is there anything I should be worried about in using these boards? They stayed very straight and in milling them seem to be stable. Any thing else I should be worried about?
Some things to keep in mind:
If the wood was out of doors or in a barn the moisture content is quite high. I would sticker it up indoors in a controlled enviroment with a dehumidifier running for a few weeks before using it.
Watch out for metal in the wood. Also dirt and stones embedded in the surface may dull or nick the planer/ jointer.
If it was free, enjoy what is workable and burn the rest.
I think it was probably incorrect drying that created all the cracks.
Do the ones that are cracked have the pith or very center of the tree in them? If so then this is why they have radial cracks. Sounds like what you have is a bunch of the cants left after all the grade lumber was sawed off the log. That would also explane why they were just stacked to the side, neglected and finally given away. Even so, it is a good find and there should be a lot of usable wood.
The Professional Termite
It is extremely hard to dry oak in thickness over 8/4. so 4" thick is asking for trouble.
If the heart or pith is left in it, there is no way to cure without checks. Since wood contracts more tangentially than radially, as it dries, you can improve your odds if you cut out the middle couple of inches around the heart and throw it away.
Thanks for responses.
No, this pile was made from very large trees. The guy who had it cuts trees down for a living and called in a sawyer to saw this up. Trees must have been huge. He unfortunately seemed to be a bit lazy and jsut dumped it all in his backyard.
Almost all the boards were not cut form the center.
Also been sitting in my dry basement for about 8 months.
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