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
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).
On Jul 4, 9:18 am, email@example.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
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
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.
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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