Is there some way to find these problems BEFORE I buy the wood?


craigo

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I just bought some 8/4 cherry with the intention of resawing it, which I am new to.  I'm using it for the top of a toy chest.  I did all the difficult math to figure how much I needed. I paid about $100 for 14 board feet, more than I needed.  The surface was very smooth, and appeared to be planed flat. Maybe a few small knots, but other than that a beautiful piece of wood. However, when I resawed some of it to about 1" I found the interior had several splits in the middle.  They were almost a foot long, probably 1/4" deep (1/8" on each half of the resawn wood) and 1/8" deep. These were certainly not suitable for the top of the chest.  I'm sure I can salvage much of it. This is the first  time I've seen cracks inside a board, and I was so disappointed. My questions :

 If you don't have x-ray vision, how can you tell if there are cracks inside?  Certainly, others have experienced this problem; I don't think I got some wood from the only tree in the world that had interior cracks.  Is it common?  Should I prepare myself to purchase more wood than I need to accommodate the chance I'll encounter splits often?  Thanks for any answers you can provide.

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Sorry about that for what wood costs these days you'd think it would be good. Having said that it sounds to me like it wasn't dried correctly was this a commercial lumberyard? If it was I would probably call them and have a discussion about what happened. I cut some plywood form Menards one time and it started delaminating on me I took the cut up 4x8 sheet back in pieces and they did give me my money back. I have never bought plywood there again :)

If it was CL or FB probably just buyer beware unfortunately.

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You could always stabilize the cracks with epoxy and turn them inside. Cracks in the center of a board like that aren't good, I'd probably never buy from that source again if I found that. If he is just a middle man tell him, he might appreciate knowing that his source isn't good. Also at $7.14 /BF for 8/4 you not really getting a bargain, you should be getting properly dried wood.

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I was able to rip 1/2" boards for the face rails and stiles to bury the cracks.  The top is 3/4", and the cracks would be visible once the top was open.  Since the top was too deep for a toddler to open, I made one 3" board of the top non-opening, so I did bury another crack under it.  One thing I was able to to though was to rip a few 1" strips of the cracked pieces.  Then I fed them into the planer, leading and trailing the good boards.  That way, the cracked boards accounted for the snipe, rather than the good boards.  I was pretty proud of myself for that.  (Full disclosure, not my original idea.  Not sure who provided it, but it was on a Youtube video.  I only remembered it.) I'm going to make sure to follow that process for future projects.

 

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On 7/29/2023 at 6:49 AM, craigo said:

I was able to rip 1/2" boards for the face rails and stiles to bury the cracks.  The top is 3/4", and the cracks would be visible once the top was open.  Since the top was too deep for a toddler to open, I made one 3" board of the top non-opening, so I did bury another crack under it.  One thing I was able to to though was to rip a few 1" strips of the cracked pieces.  Then I fed them into the planer, leading and trailing the good boards.  That way, the cracked boards accounted for the snipe, rather than the good boards.  I was pretty proud of myself for that.  (Full disclosure, not my original idea.  Not sure who provided it, but it was on a Youtube video.  I only remembered it.) I'm going to make sure to follow that process for future projects.

 

You’ll have to do the best you can to salvage the wood.No crack is a good crack anywhere unless it’s what you want to see it.  good luck with the project.:)

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  • 5 weeks later...

Identifying internal defects like cracks or splits in wood before purchasing can be challenging. While x-ray vision isn't available, there are steps to minimize the risk. Firstly, examine the wood for any visible signs of knots, checks, or irregularities. Look for even color and consistent grain patterns, which could indicate stability. Secondly, ask the seller about the wood's history and storage conditions. It's also a good practice to buy from reputable sources with quality control. While internal splits can happen, they aren't extremely common. Purchasing a bit more wood than needed to account for potential defects is a wise strategy, ensuring you have enough usable material for your projects.

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