Timber mantel end checking - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-13-2018, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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Timber mantel end checking

I have two hard maple timber mantels that I rough cut about a year ago. Since then, they have been air drying in my shop. They were both cut around 8' long and have since checked on each end about 5/8" wide and 12" to 18" deep.

This past weekend, I cut the mantels to length which almost removed the checking down to only 1/8" or so. I'd like to hammer in some sort of clamp, maybe an S-shaped piece of metal or something to try and hold the checking.

I've searched and can't find anything on the internet that would work. I feel like I've seen something similar on railroad ties. Anyone know what I'm looking for and where to find them? Thanks
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-13-2018, 09:03 AM
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Yes.... Check with a local log yard/sawmill or google. They're used alot in my area with walnut logs. I see more now in plastic for sawing safety. You may check with the company that sales anchorseal (united???), I just can't recall which company I've seen selling them.

Drying beams.......98% of the time you'll have checking if there's any heart/pithe in it. Free of heart has less checking due to a different shrinkage direction BUT can check due to outside dries quicker (shrinks) than inside.

I'm seeing people wrapping near ends with heavy steel band giving a rustic but strong resistance to spreading from checking....noticed I DIDN'T say stop the checking.

Our timber as a whole in Americas are "young" trees NOT the old slow growth virgin stands our ancesters had. This causes thicker growth rings which equals higher shrinkage as it dries causing MORE wood destortion in the changes.

I hope this helps.....we love pictures!!!!
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-13-2018, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks @Tennessee Tim! It's odd that I can't find anything when I google it. I just don't know what they're called. As you suggested, I'll contact some folks. I'll try and take some pictures this weekend and post them.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-13-2018, 11:12 AM
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From Railway Tie Association, Frequently asked questions.

I came across some old ties that are currently being used as fence posts. They all have S-shaped bands hammered into the both ends of the tie. Do you know what these are called and what they are used for?
The S shaped bands are called S-Irons and were once applied to ties to minimize end splitting. Some are still in track today, but railroads now use gang-nail style end-plates to control end splitting.

https://uccoatings.com/products/s-irons/

Hope this helps.

Gary

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post #5 of 12 Old 12-14-2018, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmercer_48083 View Post
From Railway Tie Association, Frequently asked questions.

I came across some old ties that are currently being used as fence posts. They all have S-shaped bands hammered into the both ends of the tie. Do you know what these are called and what they are used for?
The S shaped bands are called S-Irons and were once applied to ties to minimize end splitting. Some are still in track today, but railroads now use gang-nail style end-plates to control end splitting.

https://uccoatings.com/products/s-irons/

Hope this helps.
Thanks @gmercer_48083! Exactly what I was looking for but couldn't find anywhere. Really appreciate you taking the time to let me know.
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-14-2018, 10:12 AM
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TechnoVol, Being curious... when you get them could you post pictures? I am wondering about the dimensions, are they sharpened, and are they hardened or do they bend? It seems that they would work well, I have seen them in RR ties when walking along the tracks.

Gary
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-14-2018, 07:41 PM
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Hi TechVol,

I would add the following to what others have offered...Let me know if I can expand on anything?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TechnoVol View Post
I have two hard maple timber mantels that I rough cut about a year ago...They were both cut around 8' long and have since checked on each end about 5/8" wide and 12" to 18" deep...
Please note that checking in a timber is absolutely normal and does not affect structural integrity at all 99.9% of the time. We actually precheck our timbers on purpose very often using a method called:

背割り(Sewari) "Spine splitting method."

So...doing nothing is fine too...

As to "S Clamp" and related applications of mechanical fasteners for retarding and arresting checking in log bolts...These are being employed less and less in the "S" pattern even by many railroad tie Sawyers as it has been determined that a full "end cleat" is more effective in stopping chronic end splitting in speciality logs or species (like Yellow Birch and Sugar Maple.)

Please note, these are not left in timbers and are not that aesthetically pleasing either...

So...What do you do when a client really just doesn't like (or "feel good" ) about a big hairy split in the end of a timber like a mantel...

For those types of clients (and we have them often!!!) we will apply a mechanical wood cleat of some form. The following link will giver several examples...More if you need to see them:

Repair Methods in Wood and other materials...

Let me know if I can expand on anything for you...???...
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-14-2018, 08:04 PM
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Railroad Tie Cleating...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmercer_48083 View Post
TechnoVol, Being curious... when you get them could you post pictures? I am wondering about the dimensions, are they sharpened, and are they hardened or do they bend? It seems that they would work well, I have seen them in RR ties when walking along the tracks.

Hi Gmercer,

The "S" type are being used less and less by many railroad lines and veneer log sawyer companies. These either don't work will or require more of them to get the job done before going to the mill.

Sealing the end of the log with wax has also become a mandate in many yards and the application of a full end staple or cleat as well...The following are just a few examples...





Note...some of these are made of plastic so they can be milled through while others (traditional forms) are made of wood so they too can be mille through...

Last edited by 35015; 12-14-2018 at 08:12 PM.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-15-2018, 08:32 AM
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Jay, So what I gather is Spine Splitting helps to control the checking down the length of the slit by relieving tension?

Gary
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-15-2018, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmercer_48083 View Post
Jay, So what I gather is Spine Splitting helps to control the checking down the length of the slit by relieving tension?
Yes, it's basically you're telling it where you want the "check" to be (as usual it's a bit more info needed as to understanding wood and it's movement) you just can't cut it anywhere, any direction or any depth, it does have it's specifications needed.....it can be used in a since to relieve to the hidden side so it wouldn't show.

Jay can fill in more details if needed.
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post #11 of 12 Old 12-15-2018, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmercer_48083 View Post
Jay, So what I gather is Spine Splitting helps to control the checking down the length of the slit by relieving tension?
Hi Gary,

As T. Tim offered (most correctly I would add) it is a method to relieve the bolt (aka log) or timber's interstitial stresses in a controlled manner.

As Tim also offered there is a great deal to this method. It's not difficult to do or learn (per se) but there is a lot of ways to do it and reasons why as well.

For just a few examples; in a timber within a structure, it can be as simple as a kerf to the pith on the upper side (beams, girts, joist ect) or the side/back for a wall post/struts and nothing more complicated than that. This way the stress that would normally possibly twist, bow and/or check the timber has now been intentionally placed where I want it to be located. 95% of the time the wood is very predictable in what it will do and does just as intended. The wood does not check and only the kerf will open, and seldom is this to a degree to affect aesthetics much, if at all.

In green furniture like a large Trestle Table, or Kas/Armoire a section of wood might be kerfed, allowed to rest for a bit (weeks to months depending on species) and then this kerf would be filled with a full length spline to hide its presence. Then the wood planned and/or jointed as necessary and shaped to its final shape. This is one of hundreds of modalities for working in green wood within the folk traditions...

Hope that was of some help?

j
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post #12 of 12 Old 12-16-2018, 09:47 AM
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Thanks, A day without learning... is a day wasted.
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