Wood Checking

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Project by DaveyDave posted 07-13-2010 01:28 AM 5879 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Wood Checking
Wood Checking No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
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Does anybody know a solution to get rid of wood checking that has already occurred? I have been sanding with no good result. Also any suggestions as to how to keep it from checking more before the project is finished? Will mineral oil help my situation?


12 comments so far

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 4405 days

#1 posted 07-13-2010 01:34 AM

Hi Dave,
These look kind of minor compared to major checks and I bet they disappear wihen the project absorbs the finish. but I could be wrong. I like your picture frame joints, they look very tight.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View vicrider's profile


188 posts in 4182 days

#2 posted 07-13-2010 01:58 AM

With the caveat that I don’t know what your project is, I’ll offer an opinion. The picture indicates that the checks are relatively minor. This type of checking is usually caused by uneven drying of end grain. If the wood’s moisture content has stabilized (which is a variable of local conditions but for interior uses should be around 8%), I believe the use of a grain filler and a proper finish would limit further checking.

-- vicrider

View olddutchman's profile


187 posts in 5219 days

#3 posted 07-13-2010 02:10 AM

Hello Dave. I am guessing that it was air dried. The checks and problems that I get are like those on My air dried wood. If I misjudged the condition of my wood, and it haden’t dried good.

-- Saved, and so grateful, consider who Created it ALL!!!

View DaveyDave's profile


22 posts in 4312 days

#4 posted 07-13-2010 02:41 AM

well the wood had a coat of wax on it when purchased so I am guessing that it was green. The wood is jobillo. I put one coat of finish on a small spot and It seemed to lower the visibility, so I figure when I finish the whole thing they shouldn’t be very noticeable. Vic, not sure how to check if the drying has stabalized or not and being in michigan and the wood being in my garage some days are humid and some are not so I guess that would also play a role in it too. Thanks for the comments guys, and richard thanks for the comment on the frame. I will post pictures of the project when it is finished. I will admit that the idea is borrowed from a fellow lj member.

View Sawmillnc's profile


150 posts in 4338 days

#5 posted 07-13-2010 04:10 AM

Checking is a problem due to too quickly drying the wood whether it be in log form or in the green stickered lumber.

Too much air flow or heat will accelerate the drying process which can vary greatly between species.

Air drying can cause cause excessive loss in lumber IF not properly handled, but so can improper kiln drying.

white oak/ red oak are some of the worst to dry in terms of difficulty and poplar and pine the easiest.

-- Kyle Edwards,, Iron Station , NC (near Charlotte)

View vicrider's profile


188 posts in 4182 days

#6 posted 07-13-2010 05:11 AM

I use this meter to see if the wood is really wet.

“Mini-Ligno ”:

It is fairly accurate for the price, but you could spend a lot more if you desired.

Wax coated blanks are usually sold green and will need to be dried or treated either before after working. Search LJ’s or Google ‘working with green wood’ to get lots of options. Also search for how to use polyethylene glycol (PEG)to treat green wood.

there’s lots to learn about the subject.

good luck.

-- vicrider

View jaedwards575's profile


90 posts in 4341 days

#7 posted 07-13-2010 06:04 AM

To prevent these minor checks from spreading, I drop in a a little CA glue and once the thing is done moving, just sand it down and finish it. Ive had pretty good results with this method. Also doing the paper bag thing works well. (it also adds about a month to the drying process.)

-- Aaron Possom Town, TN

View childress's profile


841 posts in 4825 days

#8 posted 07-13-2010 07:37 AM

Honeycomb checking, which is what you have, follow the planes of the rays and is caused by case hardening of the wood due to improper drying. These types of checks occur at the end of the drying process after surface checks have closed up. If you resaw this piece, it will cup. So hopefully you don’t need to cut it anymore. I would try what jaedwards says above and hope that the wood has reached EMC. If it hasn’t, these could get worse…

-- Childress Woodworks

View DaveyDave's profile


22 posts in 4312 days

#9 posted 07-13-2010 06:53 PM

Thank you everyone for your comments. I unfortunately have one more cut to make, so I am hoping that it does not cup we will see… However I will not be able to get to that until later this week. If I were to get the cut and put a poly finish on it will this stop the checking or at least slow down the process to make it dry at a better rate? I know my best bet would be to let it finish drying first. Not really sure what my best method is since this is the first and last I will use green wood unless I dry it first.

Thanks again

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

533 posts in 4535 days

#10 posted 07-14-2010 12:54 AM

hey DaveyDave, It looks like this may be the project that you sent me the private message on?
If so, I’d highly recommend using a different, well dried piece of wood to start with. That project is certainly not one that you want the wood to crack or twist on you. You want it to be as perfect as she deserves! With even small checking like that started, it’s a sure indicator that the wood isn’t dry. Also told by the fact that it was waxed when you started with it. There is no telling how much more that wood will crack on you.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but i”ve been through that. And for some projects you may get lucky, but again if it’s the one you were telling me about, I wouldn’t risk it!
Good luck.


-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View DaveyDave's profile


22 posts in 4312 days

#11 posted 07-14-2010 01:37 AM

Thanks Ryan, I think there is a good possibility that I will start over with this project using a dried wood.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 4825 days

#12 posted 07-14-2010 07:15 AM

If your thinking about starting over anyways, just go ahead and finish this one and see what happens. As stated above, the checking isn’t that bad and you never know, it may finish up just fine….Worth a shot.

-- Childress Woodworks

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