Rotten Oak - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 25 Old 07-29-2013, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Rotten Oak

I was just about to run my last piece of Oak through the Planner and I noticed this. It was inside the board and not visible until I ripped it to 1/2" x 3/4Ē. The crack only about 6Ē long and the rest of the board is fine.

I just donít want to make another trip to Home Depot to buy another board and I was just wondering if it can be fixed. Iíve been buying this stuff for a long time and this is the first for me to find a void inside the board with no visual signs. There were other boards in the rack like this, but they were visible from the outside.

Iím curious what caused this. Was it disease or water problems? it couldnít be bugs because there were no holes.


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I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #2 of 25 Old 07-29-2013, 04:54 PM
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The only solution for rotten oak is replaced oak. There is a lot of rot in an oak tree as it grows. A lot of them especially older trees the center of the tree rots out completely hollow. I had a tree on my place that the tree was more than 3' in diameter and it was like a big pipe. The wood was only about 3" thick.
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post #3 of 25 Old 07-29-2013, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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The only solution for rotten oak is replaced oak. There is a lot of rot in an oak tree as it grows. A lot of them especially older trees the center of the tree rots out completely hollow. I had a tree on my place that the tree was more than 3' in diameter and it was like a big pipe. The wood was only about 3" thick.
Thanks Steve, I was tempted to try filling it with wood putty and glue it down just to finish but I guess I'll just cut off the rotten part and put it in my scrap pile. I'll buy another board tomorrow, but I think I'll go to a different store.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #4 of 25 Old 07-29-2013, 06:32 PM
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Just force feed TB II or III into the void, and clamp up.






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post #5 of 25 Old 07-29-2013, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Cabinetman , I kind of hoping someone would suggest something.
I really did not want to buy another board and its only 6" of bad.
I think I'll do that and them run it thru the planer and see what it looks like. Its only to cover up the edge of plywood anyway.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #6 of 25 Old 07-29-2013, 09:54 PM
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I see a crack. I don't see any rot. Is it really rotted?

For just a little more, you can do it yourself.
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post #7 of 25 Old 07-29-2013, 10:24 PM
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I also see a crack.....I'd try glue and clamp.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #8 of 25 Old 07-29-2013, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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I see a crack. I don't see any rot. Is it really rotted?
Compared to the other end, this end looks like it has micro termites.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #9 of 25 Old 07-29-2013, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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I also see a crack.....I'd try glue and clamp.
Yes it is crack and I’m not so concerned about that as I am with the soft part of the grain looking like mulch.
It’s not going to take a finish like this unless I can smooth it out with some filler. Otherwise it’s going to look full of holes like a sponge.

Actually the crack is not a crack but missing the soft grain which fell out like sawdust when I ripped it.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.

Last edited by Sleeper; 07-29-2013 at 10:43 PM.
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post #10 of 25 Old 07-29-2013, 11:28 PM
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With a fungus or rot, there would usually be some kind of color change. Insects would leave holes or tracks.

The orientation of the crack looks like a wind shake. The other "soft" areas could be smaller shakes filled with sawdust from cutting. If this is the case, gluing and filling should work OK.

For just a little more, you can do it yourself.
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post #11 of 25 Old 07-29-2013, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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I was looking for my oak colored wood filler, but itís too old and I need a new can. I donít know how much wood filler costs these days, but a new oak board cost $9, so it might be better to replace it if Iím only saving a few bucks.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #12 of 25 Old 07-30-2013, 12:53 AM
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All depends on what you are going to do with this board... can you glue it and turn the piece so the crack doesn't need to be used on the exposed finished side of the project. Glue and fillers will show on a finished surface so buy a new piece of wood if that crack can not be used for a hiddened surface

If this post is for you to learn exactly what the cause of the defect is (bug, rot, moisture or stress crack etc...) let us see a end grain photo.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #13 of 25 Old 07-30-2013, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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This side is the worst side. The other side of the strip does not show the crack as much and could be glued in down. The other side has a graining surface that looks like it was sand blasted and is noticeable. I was going to finish it with clear polyurethane and maybe a thick coat will fill it in. Once I glue it down and it does show, I guess I could cut it out and glue in another piece afterward.

I guess I donít really care that much as to the cause of it. I just donít want to buy another like it. I went through about 10 boards before selecting this one and it was bad. It looked good before I cut it to size. I ripped about 1/8Ē of to get a straight edge before flipping it over for the finish cut and it wasnít until I cut the exact length to size on the miter saw that it really showed or that I noticed it.

I just wished I knew before cutting the rest of the pieces, because I could have used it somewhere else, but oh well. I havenít bought the boards for the doors yet and I think Iím going to buy them to the finished size and hope that this doesnít show up again when I rabbit them.

Anyway itís in the middle of the night and I got to go to work in another hour, so weíll see what I end up with on my way home. LOL

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #14 of 25 Old 07-30-2013, 06:56 AM
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I would check across the grain at the crack, and see if there is a differential in measurement on another area. If there isn't, gluing/clamping may cause it to be pinched. If that area is larger, then the gluing/clamping would be appropriate. Of course, if your piece was machined slightly out of parallel, that could account for a different dimension.






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post #15 of 25 Old 07-30-2013, 08:27 AM
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If it was me I would replace the board. If the project is important I wouldn't knowingly put a piece of wood in it that you had to repair to use. If the repair fails the project may be ruined. Sometimes it's hard to see defects in wood especially when you are in a store shopping. I normally buy 20% more wood then the project needs so I can cut around the bad spots.
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post #16 of 25 Old 07-30-2013, 09:14 AM
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If it was me I would replace the board. If the project is important I wouldn't knowingly put a piece of wood in it that you had to repair to use. If the repair fails the project may be ruined. Sometimes it's hard to see defects in wood especially when you are in a store shopping. I normally buy 20% more wood then the project needs so I can cut around the bad spots.
The trick is to do repairs that don't fail. The piece could be replaced, but its replacement could look just fine, and have fissures that aren't noticeable, but fail later. Sometimes you just can't win.






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post #17 of 25 Old 07-30-2013, 09:41 AM
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The trick is to do repairs that don't fail. The piece could be replaced, but its replacement could look just fine, and have fissures that aren't noticeable, but fail later. Sometimes you just can't win.








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I'm just seeing more going on with that board than the crack. There is a certain amount of rot there in the soft tissues of the end of the board enough some of it is coming out of the crack. It would be like a bad joint filling the void with glue to make up for the wood that is gone from the crack. I think there is a pretty good chance the repair would fail eventually. It would cost a few bucks to replace that board but he could use 90% of it on the next project. I don't think it's worth it.
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post #18 of 25 Old 07-30-2013, 11:11 AM
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I've seen oak like this before... Normally I don't use it but I have and it was ok.
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post #19 of 25 Old 07-30-2013, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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I stopped at Lowes on my way home from work and bought a couple more red oak boards. The grain looks a lot better but not so straight, so I picked up the straightest boards they had. I donít know where Home Depot gets their Oak from, but itís a big difference in quality from Lowes.

Itís funny because I buy a lot of 4x8 sheets of Luan mahogany at HD and itís so much better than the crap at Lowes. The quality is not always consistent though and sometimes I have to wait for the next shipment, but if itís good I stock up. So I have to shop around and unfortunately Lowes and Home Depot are my only choices for wood here in the desert.

I would probably be more enthused in the fine woodworking if I had a better selection of woods.

JohnnyB
"I do what I do well, but I still like to dabble in what I donít do well"
I just like to build with wood and a means to save money by doing it myself.
I've been building things out of wood for 40 years and I'm still just an amateur.
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post #20 of 25 Old 07-30-2013, 07:15 PM
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I stopped at Lowes on my way home from work and bought a couple more red oak boards. The grain looks a lot better but not so straight, so I picked up the straightest boards they had. I donít know where Home Depot gets their Oak from, but itís a big difference in quality from Lowes.

Itís funny because I buy a lot of 4x8 sheets of Luan mahogany at HD and itís so much better than the crap at Lowes. The quality is not always consistent though and sometimes I have to wait for the next shipment, but if itís good I stock up. So I have to shop around and unfortunately Lowes and Home Depot are my only choices for wood here in the desert.

I would probably be more enthused in the fine woodworking if I had a better selection of woods.
If you live anywhere near a major city I would look for a hardwood lumber company. You could probably get a better grade of wood for about 30% less than what you are paying the box stores. The box stores are just buying from one of them and doubling the price.
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