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smarsh 02-18-2007 06:44 AM

HELP!!! 2x lumber splitting like crazy...
Please help! Doing construction/rebuilding on my house and the 2x10's I'm using are splitting end to end.

I have a load of lumber from HD (not a "real" yard) that I'm using now for repairs and later for a small addition. Some of the lumber is in my basement but most is in my garage. Both are unheated but the basement has a dehumidifier set to 35% humidity. And it's in the 20's here in NJ. I buy from the orange box because I can select the lumber myself - the yards don't let me.

BTW - Not a big fan of the orange box, but other lumber from them has been fine including very straight KD DF studs. I have a new bath framed in the basement using a little bit of everything and nothing has warped or split after months w/the dehumidifier.

Currently I'm replacing some 60" long 1st floor joists (exposed to the basement) and 3 pieces from a 2x10 from the garage and from the basement have split end to end while just sitting fitted snug in position without any fasteners. It's Douglas Fir, but I can't help noticing that the growth rings are quite far apart. Also, most pieces are centered or nearly centered w/the tree, causing me to believe these are small trees being harvested.

One other point: Before starting I trimmed off the ends which were already split 6-8" per end at the store ...

Any idea why this is happening? What can I do about it? Is it really the source I'm getting this stuff from? Can it be something done wrong at the mill? Can you return cut wood??? :confused:

I'm in a bind because we have about 250 sqf. of open joists and I need to get these in and subfloored before someone falls through... :(

Thanks guys!!!
I get by with a little help from my friends...

Daryl in Nanoose 02-18-2007 08:32 AM

Sounds to me like the lumber is cut from a bad section of the tree so when it starts drying it splits. So you either go get some more and take note of the end grain or you can take them down and push glue in the cracks and clamp togeather then glue and screw some 1/2" plywood to both sides of the joist and then reinstall. Myself I would go get some more.

glennjanie 02-18-2007 11:11 AM

I agree with Daryl and would like to add another point. Have you checked the grade stamp on this lumber? It has a lot to do with the quality you can expect. The stamp should tell you the Mill it originated from, how it was dried, a grade designation (#1 or Select being the best, with the words Kiln
Dried; #2 has some knots in it but they are solid; #3 or Utility is the cheapest, it is usually S-dried and has knots and knot holes as long as they are not over 1/3 of the width of the board). Spliting is almost always a result of poor drying.
I have never seen a lumber yard that would take back wood that has been cut but they might take back what is not cut; I'm sure they will want to sell you a higher grade next time.

smarsh 02-18-2007 11:58 AM

It's grade 2 (at least it says that) may be S-dry (blurry stamping) and is D-fir.

I have tried getting #1 in the past at real yards and was either told "ewe... that's real expensive" or that thay have to order whole skids of it. Essentially telling me to forget about it.

The last board I used has been in my garage for about 3 months and had a growing split within 4 hours of being fitted. (????)

glennjanie 02-18-2007 03:17 PM

S-dry is exactly what I figured it was; that means Surface-Dried which leaves a lot of moisture in the heart of the wood. Moisture that freezes and splits boards; or if you put it in as a rafter and deck over it quickly in 90 to 100 degree weather it will dry too fast and still split. A drying kiln has a controlled temperature for a controlled time which dries the whole piece to 14% moisture content all the way through.
Blured stamps are the oldest trick in the lumber business. When I see a blured stamp I interpret it to say "Got-cha".

smarsh 02-18-2007 04:11 PM

So for construction lumber (#1 or #2) that is not specifically marked/sold as KD, is there another option than S-Dry?

glennjanie 02-19-2007 08:43 AM

We live "in the woods" and often use local "native" lumber; hardwoods that are cut, sawn, stacked with air spaces and allowed to air dry for 6 weeks in the summer months or sometimes up to 6 months. However, this lumber is not smooth planned and has no grade stamp at all. You just know the sawyer and trust him to sell you the right lumber.
As far as I know there is S-dry, Kiln dried and Air dried.

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