develop for maximum effectiveness.
On other species, like poplar, maple,
and even walnut, I usually get by with
minimal losses not using it. It should
be noted that my customers are usually
shopping for small quantities of lumber,
so they can decide on a board by board
basis if an end check is problematic for
them. For operations sending out large
amounts of lumber to customers, using
a wax and emulsion coating makes the
most sense to help produce the greatest
amount of usable lumber out of each
bunk. At the very least, sealing the ends
of the lumber lets your customer know
that you tried to prevent end checking.
My greatest gains fighting off end
checking have occurred in my sticker
selection and placement. While strides
have been made to produce fluted
sticks that reduce sticker stain, very
few people have given thought to using
stacking sticks to reduce end checking.
Awhile back, while at a friend’s
sawmill, he mentioned how lumber will
split on the ends, back to the first stick.
After that, I paid more attention and
changed how I stacked lumber.
I started using solid sticks on the ends
of the lumber to reduce end checking.
Since the ends dry out quickly, they don’t
sticker stain, and even if they did the loss
of lumber would be minimal. Beyond
using solid sticks, I also use up to 3-inch
wide sticks on the ends. The extra width
helps hold in even more moisture and
still doesn’t risk staining the ends.
In my opinion, placing wide, solid
sticks at the ends of the boards can be
effective, especially in relation to cost
and time savings. This isn’t a perfect
method, but you would be amazed at
how well it works to reduce end checking. And, if you have prized lumber, you
can always add an end sealer to the mix.
Source: Scott Wunder is the owner of
WunderWoods in St. Charles, Missouri, a
custom woodworking shop, 314-574-6036.
He also blogs at Wunder Woods.com.
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