Woodworking projects under way. #1: Resawing a dry 2x and watching it twist....

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 03-17-2011 08:20 PM 2596 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Woodworking projects under way. series Part 2: Washer toss game board started. »

I am working on a project for another forum, and I have to resaw some 2x construction grade stock for that project. Mind you, I have no moisture meter, but the stuff has been in my garage/ shop now for 3 years, if it is ever going to be dry, now is the time… Anyway, so I get the stuff all set up, get the band saw set up, and the board i started working with was straight as a… well board when I started. Unfortunately when I finished, you could almost watch the thing curl up like a potato chip…

I should have opted to do a different sort of project, and I have plenty more of this type of stock so I can start over on a new project, but dang… This is NASTY…

For what it’s worth, I got to be a genuine idiot too. I set the tension on the saw, I set the distance on the guide blocks, set the height for the upper guide so that it was just off the work piece, got to sawing, what I didn’t notice, and I am NOT sure how, is that I still had my 3/16” blade in the saw! To quote Homer Simpson, D’oh!

Oh well, this particular work piece is now most likely going to end up laminated up to other bits and pieces, into a segmented turning eventually…

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11 comments so far

View Steven Davis's profile

Steven Davis

118 posts in 3369 days

#1 posted 03-17-2011 09:32 PM

Wood is a complicated 3D structure and cutting it breaks a lot of those bonds, so even if it is dry, it can certainly warp. I think (member shipwright) and some others have fiddled with adding moisture to recently cut pieces to allow them to be flattened.

Best of luck!

-- Steven Davis - see me at

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3590 days

#2 posted 03-17-2011 09:54 PM

I have several 2×4’s I aquired 10 or 20 years ago, and they seem to be far better stuff than what I get these days. I seem to have better luck with fir from Stahlman than yellow pine from the box stores. I cut up a bunch of red cedar from Lowes and had little problem, if that will work for you.

I also picked up a 2×12 yellow pine stick from Lowes with the intention of cutting it down into quarter-sawn 2×4s to see if those are more stable.

-- Greg D.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 3139 days

#3 posted 03-17-2011 10:00 PM

me being a “glass-half full” guy, I’ll say that you are lucky that board didn’t explode on the cut. I have had a few perfectly looking boards (2×4 and 1×6 pine) do that on the TS (a little more “at risk” there with the instinct to try to control it when it starts to go)...and on a few, I mean EXPLODE.

Certainly reinforces: wear those safety glasses, stay clear of the “path” and if it starts to go, just hit the off switch, get out of the way and let it go! Sometimes one gets lucky and gets a sign that something isn’t right at the start of the cut. Sometimes not if the problem is at the end of the cut where your hands are.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 3139 days

#4 posted 03-17-2011 11:03 PM

skarp you are probably right

but then again after 30 years of doing this stuff I had never seen a board “explode” on a table saw either until it happened just recently on a perfectly tuned saw and a good blade. I really should have taken pictures but I was busy (speechless) looking for the shrapnel.

I’m not an engineer but seems to me that boards with severe internal stress being held together by a few critical strands can get goofy when the “umbilical cord” gets severed. and in a way it explained why what starts as a perfect sheetrocked wall might cease to be perfect with time.

hence my advice to plan the path in advance and stay clear of it. and of course those safety glasses.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3628 days

#5 posted 03-17-2011 11:51 PM

I’ve certainly heard people advise that:

- you thoroughly acclimate it (which you did),
- you clamp it up—say, between two pieces of MDF—immediately upon cutting—and leave it for a few days.

In truth, I don’t know if that will stop a taco shell from becoming a taco shell.

Some boards are just born bad ;-)

OhByTheWay: how DID the 3/16”-er work for re-saw ??? Inquiring minds want to know !

-- -- Neil

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3441 days

#6 posted 03-17-2011 11:55 PM

Sound like case hardening to me. The link below describes it:


-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3619 days

#7 posted 03-18-2011 04:57 PM

Hmmmmmmmmm, another dangerous and totally unanticipatable experience I have to look forward to.

A piece of wood does not come with a guarantee…....other than a rare replacement promise, if you purchased it at a BORG or some such.

It’s a little like surgery. The old saying is, ‘if you don’t have complications, then you aren’t operating’. The rationale behind that statement, is that between the complexity of the human body, the inifinite types and amount of abuse we place on our bodies, the ever changing spectrum of disease, the complexity and of our ever changing, improving procedures and equipment, and the infinite minor variations of technique and ability in the surgeon, which changes with aging and experience…............there is an unpredictable and random element in every case…...which can lead to results and situations that are not intended, and can never be completely avoided. Unintended consequences.

Much of that statement applies to wood and woodworking.

It’s understandable that you never see a guarantee in medicine. I guess there can’t be a guarantee in woodworking either, other than if you fail the first time, you can start chuck the project and start over again. Most often that is not possible in medicine.

Wood is the corpse of a living thing, and will probably never be a totally predictable product.

However, the wood we work on is dead. We surgeons don’t get to turn off the engine while we overhaul the motor, and we can’t go out and buy a replacement if we fail.

So count your blessings, David, at least you can throw away that piece of wood and find another. And you don’t have to keep the tree alive while you make something out of it….............(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3686 days

#8 posted 03-18-2011 05:12 PM

Mmmm Taco Shell…. Man I’m HUNGRY!

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View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3628 days

#9 posted 03-18-2011 05:52 PM

And … if memory serves … Jim has to go in through the exhaust pipe (technically, NOT tailpipe, but …) !

The other succinct way to describe the situation is: the best laid plans of battle never survive the first bullet from the enemy.

-- -- Neil

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3686 days

#10 posted 03-18-2011 06:07 PM

Jim, while this is all to a point true, the corpse of the long dead tree I was working on was, well LONG dead, and I sort of figured the internal structures having well dried out had stabilized. I was a bit stunned to see the amount of twisting / cupping. In a 24” long board resawn to 3/4” there is cupping of greater than 3/4” in this thing… I might POSSIBLY be able to cut it up smaller, and utilize it for something like pen blanks, but why, it’s construction grade pine after all…

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View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3628 days

#11 posted 03-18-2011 06:12 PM

Is(n’t) Pine the true culprit, here ?

Somebody else warned me—when I built a jewelry box from red oak walls with a pine roof—to get some finish on the pine, PRONTO, lest it twist up before my very eyes.

So … maybe that’s just the essential nature of the thing.

Not sure if—in SPF—“S” and “F” do it, too. I was warned, during construction of my workbench that—had I used SYP (I used Doug Fir, instead) the same thing was likely to happen.

Playing it safe … after ripping and planing my benchtop planks … I clamped them up for the day or two, until I could get back to them to do the glue-up.

But maybe “S” and “F” are much less tantrum prone than their dysfunctional sibling, “P.”

As Fred Flinstone might have said: Russ’n-fuss’n-brick-n-brack’n construction-grade lumber !

-- -- Neil

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