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Novice here. When buying boards, what should one looks for when examining the endgrain? I'd like to get boards that will be more stable over time with less chance of cupping and twisting. Is tight grain better? Should I avoid boards that contain the center/heart?

Again, I know nothing about this stuff and you guys have been a great resource in the past. Any replies are much appreciated.

WV
 

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The only thing you can do as far as watching end grain is select wood that is cut more from the exterior of the log. It will be the wood with more horizontal end grain. The wood with the heart seam is more likely to cup warp and split.
 

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Steve is correct, horizontal grain is the best. A board with a circle end grain is the heart wood and it will twist.
 

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If you are talking about construction lumber, then any given board may warp. As Steve mentioned, try and avoid the boards with the pith.

Boards with the grain running more from the top to the bottom rather than side to side may be more stable, but with construction lumber being not as dry as hardwoods, a lot can happen as the wood dries.

If you are talking about hard woods, then the lumber yard would know how the board were cut. Hard woods are cut sometimes for the grain pattern on the face, e.g., quartersawn, and sometimes for the yield from the board, e.g., plainsawn.

See post #12 in this thread.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/quarter-sawn-44559/
 
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