Reply by Lazyman

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Posted on Cedar Fencing - Cupping Issues

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8308 posts in 2678 days

#1 posted 09-13-2021 07:25 PM

I’ve made a couple of projects with western red cedar pickets. Most were wet when I bought them, probably because they are usually shipped on open rail cars or trucks and got rained on in transit. Plus, I doubt that they were kiln dried in the first place since they are destined to be outside. The good news is that they dry pretty quickly after milling to size and thickness. The secret to success in my experience is being very selective when picking them out of the stack. Ignore any that already have any signs of warping but especially look carefully at the end grain and make sure that neither end has any of the center (AKA pith) or the first several years of growth rings (AKA juvenile wood). The flatter the rings, the more stable the board will be. It is also important that the ring pattern at both ends is similar. This helps to insure that grain doesn’t run diagonally so that it is consistent from end to end.

BTW, If you have a bandsaw, my favorite source of relatively cheap lumber (pre-pandemic anyway) are Douglas Fir 4x4s. I resaw them into 3 1×4s to get vertical grain. if I undersize them slightly, I can usually get a 1/2” board as well. Likewise, I carefully select the 4×4s for very straight boards with the smallest rings possible and no juvenile wood growth rings. It is not as weather resistant as cedar or redwood for outdoor projects but can yield some pretty nice looking boards.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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