checking nightmare

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by longfellow, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. longfellow
    Joined: Apr 2009
    Posts: 39
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 17
    Location: upstate NY

    longfellow Junior Member

    Does anyone have any ideas how to keep their (green) white oak timbers reasonably free from checks while they dry? I have gone through three keels now, and this is a reasonably large timber (rough sawn 2 in x 6 in x 18 foot long). None so far have remained check-free enough to use. That's a lot of expensive fire wood. These are straight grain, plain sawn planks. I have tried the grain in both directions, rift and quarter sawn. Granted the quarter sawn one held together longer but it still eventually destroyed itself (Checks through the rays are the devil with wood sawn this way.). I have employed all of the commonly accepted safety practices; air dry in a cool, shaded spot off the ground, paint the ends, shellac the whole board, hose it down periodically (since the outside will want to dry faster) to try to keep the release of water vapor uniform throughout the plank. Nothing worked well enough to save the plank though I admittedly did not do all of these things to any one of the three keel pieces.
    I do not want to laminate, though I may if no one here recognizes some drastic oversight (which I would be eternally grateful if he pointed out right now.).
    I am headed out soon to pick up yet another clear, 20' white oak tree and have it sawn to my specifications. I should get probably two pieces out of it so am hoping for some good suggestions here.
    Thanks all,
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 494, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    White oak checks like a *******, there's little you can do other then season very slowly (naturally or in a solar kiln), preferably as a solid log, then mill to size. If you mill green lumber, it's going to be all over the place when it's moisture content drops. If you can get some live oak, this will be much less an issue.
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