Drying wood?

I cut a couple of 8' 6" long basswood logs in June of this year. I finally got them sawed into 4 X 4's and planks last week. I had not coated the ends of the logs with anything. Now, of course, there is some end cracking. I did paint the ends of the sawed wood yesterday with some old white paint. My next step is to sticker them in an attic (with plenty of ventilation) above my woodshop to dry.
Here's the question: Should I saw off the cracked ends and repaint them before I put them up to dry? Or--- has most of the damage already been done?
Pete Stanaitis ---------------
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I doubt they have dried significantly, so they may check a little more. There is likely a good bit more drying to be done. If the present checking is not too long, up the length of the boards, cover/ wrap the checked areas (rather than paint, lengthwise, along the board faces). Maintain the painted ends.
I wouldn't cut off the checked ends, yet. Do your cutting when you're ready to do the future project, when the boards are dry enough for doing the future project.
Most useful lumber, in a home, is in lengths of 8' or less. Most lumber is milled in lengths a bit beyond 8', as you did. This extra length allows for checked ends to be cut off, later, hence fitting the 8' or less in-home use. I've always cut my logs, or had them cut, to 9', so as to have 6" cutoff allowance on each end.
Sonny
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On 10/21/2011 10:05 AM, Pete S wrote:

End grain wicks moisture out of the wood faster that the face, encouraging splits due to uneven drying. Painting the ends helps slow this down, waxing slows it down a lot. I've had great success melting wax with an old steam iron (less the steam) into the end grain. I've also melted wax on a whole entire lamp I turned green with good success. Splits can and will still occur just due to internal stresses in the wood, to varying degrees, but waxing helps a LOT in my experience.

Unless you are using a kiln, a 4x4 is not likely to dry in 6 months, my guess is more damage could/will occur.
--
Jack
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A couple of area lumber mill owners who air dry, or partially air dry have told me the rule of thumb is 1" of thickness / year (SE Kansas and SW Missouri = humid). Both air dry for a few months and then put it into a kiln to get it into the 6%-9% range.
RonB
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