cedar arbor, posts splitting badly

I'm building a cedar arbor using 6x6 posts. I ordered "appearance grade" lumber and when it came in fresh and "wet" it looked great. I let it dry in the garage for about four weeks but some of the posts have been continuing to split. In some cases the split is going the length of the post and in other parts splitting edge to edge. I expected some amount of surface checking but this has progressed well beyond that. My lumber yard guy said it should have settled to a normal level by now but it seems to have gotten worse since I installed a few of the posts. Any advice? I wonder if I have any recourse with the yard since these posts are turning into anything but "appearance grade" (and they were pretty pricey). thanks, Ron
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On Jul 4, 9:18 am, snipped-for-privacy@msn.com wrote:

Not exactly sure what you mean by fresh and wet, or appearance grade. Even if the posts were kiln dried, and it sounds like they weren't, you'd still experience some checking. You have no recourse against the lumber yard as you've already installed some (signifying acceptance) and it was your handling of the wood that led to the splitting - or at least that's what they'll say.
I'm not sure how you are differentiating between splitting and checking. Checks can be large, extend all of the way to the center of the rings, and not materially affect wood strength - particularly in posts. Post a link to some pictures so we can see what exactly you're dealing with.
R
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Thanks for your insight. I guess the right phrase is checking (rather than splitting). I have had a few checks go to the center of the rings and open up to maybe 1/4 in. I don't think they will affect the structural integrity of the posts but of course they aren't as aesthetically pleasing as they were when I first got them. The appearance grade (this is how they are referenced by the yard) equates to a "#2 or better" grade (with no wain) as I understand it.
I believe the wood was cut by the mill in Oregon just before it was shipped to the lumber yard in Idaho as part of my order. Some of it was still moist to the touch when I got it. It doesn't help that the climate here is so hot and dry. Boy, I've learned a lot about what it means to dry lumber. Fortunately 4 of 6 posts have very little checking and my 2X lumber has almost none. In the end I think the arbor will look great and the checks will be more noticeable to me than anyone else. It was just a surprise to see the checks evolve as they did. It also sounds like it's par for the course to a large degree.
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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com wrote:

If it was green material as it sounds as it was, it's impossible for it to air dry w/o checking/splitting. A month of air drying for 6" stock is just getting started on the drying process.
Your only hope has long passed -- if you had coated the ends to slow the rate of moisture loss and prepared a drying kiln arrangement w/ a plastic tent and some air movement and had them stacked and stickered properly to allow adequate air flow you would at least had a chance of getting them dried in a few months to a state somewhat less checked.
You got what you got, probably, as far as the yard is concerned. Probably a certain amount of unfamiliarity w/ what you were actually buying comes into play here as well. I'm w/ Rico, I don't know exactly what "appearance" grade means other than assuming it was relatively clear. But, if as it sounds, it was clear but green, drying is a real science and the thicker the piece the more difficult so just letting them sit was a recipe for disappointment, unfortunately.
--


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Thanks for your note. Yes, it was very newly cut wood when I got it. It was cut to order. I've sure learned that drying lumber is a science. I think the project will work out fine in the end. I just wish the rep at the lumber yard would have offered some of the same tips you did when I placed the order.
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