Brendon_t

Honest discussion

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I'd like to propose a topic that has the chance of getting derailed easily. Let's talk about building utilitarian stuff with lumber not fully dried. 

Specifically I'm talking about my bench. I checked the mc on my stack today and it's still dropping but my wife made me think,  what's the worst that will happen.

I've seen a grip of YouTube builds of guys using constructing grade lumber for a bench slab,  we all know from experience that home spite lumber is usually about as dry as a cloud. So really,  what's the worst that can happen.  

-You build a roubo with lumber at 15% mc. Milling will need to be done pretty close before being used to reduce the risk of warping. 

The slabs,  so you have a 7 piece and 10 piece slab.  Lag bolted down, sitting on mortises. If you have to take a #7 to it a few times the first year them yearly after that,  is it a deal killer. 

Legs,  I don't think will be long enough to warp or twist and will have the weight of the slabs  on them.

Yall see where it's going.  In getting impatient and with a wet winter hopefully coming,  I'd like to get this thing busted out before that. 

So give me your thoughts.  Whats the most likely outcome, and what's the worst case? 

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I built my big outfeed/ assembly table from yellow pine 2x6 and 2x8. When it dried it cupped and the end result was all 4 edges sloping downwards, but the center of the table stayed flat.

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Patience is a virtue and will pay off in the long run.  Why chance what could go wrong to have it done now with the amount of work you know it will need in the future?  

A couple options would be to kiln dry the material or pick up different material and have a nice stash of good lumber for future use.  

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You're about to bust a ....., nope, mods won't get me on this one! It seems that you're as impatient as I am in some cases. I say go fer it!

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I think in Home Depot or Lowes they have a rack with KD Douglas fir insanely cheap. I also saw a trick online of buying wide boards and getting rid of the mid section so you get all vertical and straight grain Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Patience is a virtue and will pay off in the long run.  Why chance what could go wrong to have it done now with the amount of work you know it will need in the future?  

A couple options would be to kiln dry the material or pick up different material and have a nice stash of good lumber for future use.  

yes it is, and normally I'm quite patient.

The reason for the thread was to really analyze the situation.  

You have the get and the give. 

If the get is the bench build and working for a year and the give is only having to flatten a bit more often, plus leave some extra top material to account for it,   that I could consider a decent risk to reward. 

If the entire slab will never actually dry out and will crack,  that's a different risk reward analysis. 

If I had a kiln within 200 miles,  I'd use it. Unfortunately there aren't any that will dry customer lumber. 

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Well that's what the discussion is hopefully going to be.

i know we can all throw out the anecdotal immediate answers as if we were building fine furniture, I'm hoping to be able to actually say, I know I  SHOULD wait until equilibrium moisture content but if I don't, and start at say 10% , there is a good chance this can happen! this can happen! and this can happen. Then transition to, ok, so if I move forward, I should do x,y,&z to make those not as big of an issue. The wood is not dripping wet. It was high 30% range (which is still pretty low for freshly milled I assume from 2 years dead standing) when cut! dropped to about 22 after the first month! and about 15% the second. Forgot what it was today but low teens.

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I often find wood in my neck of the woods (dried from the hardwood dealer) to be around 12% but, your climate is a bit drier than mine.  If you're below 15% then I would say go for it.  

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Check the moisture content of wood you have had around the shop for quite awhile. Average the results and when your bench stock hits that average start working on the bench. 

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Brendon, I can't offer good advice. My bench top is just laminated 2x4 material, and the slab did move a good bit. I've planed it multiple times, so that I have removed nearly an inch of thickness. But I am in the camp of "it's a workbench, not a massive dining table with vices". I don't care about appearance, only function, and very rarely do I need the full surface of my (hand tool) workbench to be perfectly flat. If I did, I would build a torsion box.

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So let's see...so far you've used your wife's advice (let's assume she knows nothing), and people who build benches out of BORG lumber to be your deciding factors.

Anyone who knows anything will tell you not to work with lumber that has a moisture content higher than 10%, especially in the desert where you live...with the exception of actual green woodworkers who use moisture to their advantage.

Milling your own wood is not all its cracked up to be?  This is why we have kilns.

There's no guarantee that moving forward at this point and building with green wood would be an absolute disaster...and there's no guarantee that it won't.  I personally don't like investing hundreds of hours into a gamble.

Good luck.

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So let's see...so far you've used your wife's advice (let's assume she knows nothing), and people who build benches out of BORG lumber to be your deciding factors.

 

if anything was decided,  this thread would have no reason to exist,  hence multiple times I ask for expectations not rhetoric.

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That's the problem using green lumber...the only thing you can expect is the unexpected.

The purpose of your post - let's be honest - was to get people to pat you on the back and say yeah go ahead and do it because that's what you wanna hear.

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That's the problem using green lumber...the only thing you can expect is the unexpected.

The purpose of your post - let's be honest - was to get people to pat you on the back and say yeah go ahead and do it because that's what you wanna hear.

no actually it wasn't -I should know- I wrote it. I'm an analytical person and question things instead of being a lemming.  Blindly following antiquated anticdotal advice eventually gets you to the point that nobody actually knows why any more. Again,  worth asking. 

I'm a big boy, I don't Need anyone's permission much less your pat on the back.  Experience from others is much more useful. 

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I will rebut Kiki's advice.  Build the top using the moist (moist.... moist... sorry got distracted) lumber.  Like Tom said premill, acclimate, remill and glue up right away.   its your bench.  If you have years and reflattening ahead of you, that is your call.   It will take a long time to fully stabilize once you laminate all the faces together.   I am a more of a gambler and would think of it as a science experiment.  

 

 That being said,  It might never fully dry once you laminate those boards together.  The face grain of the middle boards will be burried so the  boards will only shed moisture through the end and edge grain.   Will that make the top more stable (because it will shed moisture so slowly)?  Or will the thing go nuts as the surface  dries and the middle is still moist?  I have no idea.  

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Experience from others is much more useful. 

Well if that's the case you didn't need to ask the question.  Hundreds of years of experience has determined best practice is working with dry lumber.  If you question that, you're no longer an analytical person, you're a conspiracy theorist at best and delusional at worst.  You already knew the answer before you asked it.  The evidence is not "anecdotal," it's concrete.

And with that out of the way, if you didn't want people to remind you of reality, I again have to question your motives.

Work with properly seasoned lumber or face the possible consequences...it's a truth as universal as the apple and Newton's head.

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Work with properly seasoned lumber or face the POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES .it's a truth as universal as the apple and Newton's head.

^which was the question from the start.

I get that saying the immediate and sometimes douchey thing without filter is your thing, and that's fine,  but your not a very good psychic. My intentions are not clouded in ulterior motives and digging for your secret approval.  

I started with and will ask again,  do you have any experience with working with lumber not fully dried? 

 

 

 That being said,  It might never fully dry once you laminate those boards together.  The face grain of the middle boards will be burried so the  boards will only shed moisture through the end and edge grain.   Will that make the top more stable (because it will shed moisture so slowly)?  Or will the thing go nuts as the surface  dries and the middle is still moist?  I have no idea.  

that's a really good point I didn't think of.  Only having 1.75" on each side would definately slow the dry to a crawl. 

I built my big outfeed/ assembly table from yellow pine 2x6 and 2x8. When it dried it cupped and the end result was all 4 edges sloping downwards, but the center of the table stayed flat.

Steve,  thank you for sharing your experience. What was the outcome?  Did you re flatten it or leave it be? 

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I try to learn from other people's mistakes as often as possible.  I don't have to go out and build something out of green wood to know that it poses considerable risks...there's enough evidence out there already.

Wood moves as it dries.  We know this.  We don't have to experiment.  It bows, cups, twists, cracks.  We know this.  If you expect these kinds of potential issues in your bench to be of little significance, then by all means, carry on.  If you plan to build your bench and expect it to keep its shape for the most part and experience very little movement other than what's expected due to seasonal change, then conventional wisdom says you should wait.  It's as simple as that.  You can scoff at conventional wisdom if you wish...that's your prerogative...but it's conventional for a reason.  Time tested fact.

The title of your thread is "honest" discussion...are you sure that's what you want?  When you claim someone is a douche because they don't assuage your willful ignorance...I have to wonder.

And with the juvenile personal attack I've come to expect from you, I'm out.  Enjoy your twisted, wonky bench.

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You risk more than flattening issues. Wood that is not properly dried and laminated is subject to warpage and uneven shrinking that can cause delamination. You'd be working with wood that is not balanced, that's the whole reason to mill close to final dimension and let it acclimate.

Think hard wood flooring. They say let it sit for 2 weeks in the enviroment from the store. I can tell you first hand that nailing hard wood florring per the manufacturers recomendations to soon can cause gaps that will never go away. Those gaps are your glue joints. There's no pretty picture to paint here, the facts are your taking a risk that will lead to warpage and delamination...not just an occasional flattening, The bench is not a quick do-over, it's high risk what you propose.

Edited by Janello

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I've worked with not-fully-dried lumber on two occasions. The best I can say is that it acted with interesting variety. Some milled straight and flat and stayed that way. Some came out wonky. And some seemed to be alright when it came off the saw, but days later it bowed.
Both cases were with reclaimed wood; some 8 and 10/4 planks of Oak, and a chunk of Elm.

The Elm was large enough that I had to quarter it with a chain saw before I could get it on the band saw. It's really dry here and unless my lumber is fresh off the truck from another region it doesn't register on my moisture meter. The Elm didn't register, so I thought I was good to go, but there was a dense section in one of the quarters that caused every slice I made to bow dramatically.

The oak was a real bear to work with. It had been a boat dock and was semi-submerged in a lake for decades before it came my way. The main trouble with it seemed to be that the outside surface was quite dry but the center still had too much moisture even though it had been sitting in the barn for seven years. When resawing I often got one flat board and one bowed beyond usefulness. I had to mill up about double the lumber to make a blanket chest.

 

 

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Don't let it fully dry:

Worst case, you end up with a pretzel and you'll have to admit that Eric is right.

Best case, you end up with a slightly less pretzely bench and you still have to admit that Eric is right.

Not sure you want to go down either path.

Let it fully dry:

YAY, solid bench you can enjoy for many years to come.

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The bench is not a quick do-over

That's the money quote as far as I'm concerned.  I sympathize with your wanting to get started, but no way I'd risk it if I were in your shoes. I think Eric's right - the problem is that improperly dried lumber tends to cause problems and you just *don't know what will happen.*  If you were building an outfeed table in a weekend, I'd say yeah have at it.  But for a lifetime bench that will take you months to build and has a lot of joinery/hardware that requires precision milling and measurement, no way I'd risk a do over.  

Personally, I'd follow Kev's advice and pick up 200bf of kiln dried maple or ash, build the bench, and save your air dried lumber for future projects.  You'll have a nice stash to use.

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