Splitting timber

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Mono11

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A bit of information and help if you could:-

Why is my Timmber splitting - see photos

A bit of a long story short is a ordered 50 Sleepers which arrived and being hard to get down here( S.E.) i waited a couple of weeks for delievry but 75% were fresh out of the treatment tank and were showing upto 68% moisture in most. Unpertubered and eager as its my own project ( strictly DIY and Gardener by trade ) i tried to pick the driest first and cracked on.

Over the last few days and as you can see , some of the timbers are now showing some heavy splitting and as this is not a "Rustic" job im now more than likely going to relace them because looking at them for too long, hurts my brain ( slight OCD ).

What am i not taking into account so i dont make the same mistake, is it wet wood drying too fast? it has been very hot and its south facing.

Thanks in advance, any advice is most welcome
20210603_183711.jpg




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(The timber screws showing are not in the permanent postion before you wince)

Thanks again

Mono
 

mikej460

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All wood moves and to varying degrees it also splits, but this is really poor and I would demand a refund as they are not fit for purpose. Then make sure you buy better quality sleepers but be warned that there is a timber shortage so you may have to wait. I would also plumb for new, untreated, air dried oak sleepers.
 

RobinBHM

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those softwood boards are cut from either side of the heart, or include the heart -a tree probably only yields 2 of these boards -so thats where they are cut from

the greatest timber shrinkage is tangentially -ie if you look at the end of a board, the greatest shrinkage follows around the growth ring

unfortunately it is the nature of timber and replacement is unlikely to stop the problem. Its possible if you replaced the boards and positioned then smiley face down, the cracks would appear at the bottom not the top.

The other problem you have is the mitres -the boards have shrunk in their width, so the mitres have opened up as a result.

your boards are likely to be either side of b in pic below.

Fig-15-Warping-of-planks-cut-from-an-unseasoned-log.jpg
 

toolsntat

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As an aside to the splitting, I'm just looking at your timber work that is abutting the house wall and wondering if you have considered how damp the concealed timber/brick wall will remain throughout the year?
Over the years, although South facing, might you get some staining on the brickwork from rising damp ?
Cheers Andy
 

Woody2Shoes

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That looks like pressure treated spruce. The ones that are splitting (the worst) may have part of the centre of the tree (the 'pith' - or 'heart' per an earlier post) in them. If you look at the cut ends of the worst split pieces, you may well see an 'eye' looking back at you. When sawing up the logs they try their best to get the most out of each piece, and those are fairly large cross-sections for 'farmed' spruce, so sometimes the pith gets included in some or all of a piece cut from a given log.

I agree with an earlier poster, I wouldn't put timber directly up against the wall like that, TBH I'm not sure I would have used timber at all.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the timber per se.
 

Mono11

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As an aside to the splitting, I'm just looking at your timber work that is abutting the house wall and wondering if you have considered how damp the concealed timber/brick wall will remain throughout the year?
Over the years, although South facing, might you get some staining on the brickwork from rising damp ?
Cheers Andy
Andy thanks for the input. The picture shown is not the final position of the timber and thought has been made that they will not touch the brickwork. Im working along the lines that " Wet soil is my enemy" as i want them to last as long as humanly possible. With that in mind 95% of the surface area sits on 2-3 inch of gravel minimum and with french drains (of sorts ) using 68mm downpipe in the gravel under the timber .

"The whole project sits below house DPC" and as ive said, doesnt touch any brickwork

I cant go down into the ground anymore as we sit on clay, plants wont last 2 years sitting in water hence why i have to go up and really not sure what else you would use thats practical, on budget and asthetically pleasing Woody2Shoes, id be interested in what you would of used instead ?.

Concideration was made to use oak but its is prohibitively more expensive with the amount of stainless steel fixings i would have needed and i would still have to line the timber anyway. Even though i have a very competent mitre saw, i really wouldnt want to start trying to saw oak with the amount of cuts i have. And im solo with no help, i really didnt fancy lugging 50 of them around.

Cheers
 
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Woody2Shoes

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Andy thanks for the input. The picture shown is not the final position of the timber and thought has been made that they will not touch the brickwork. Im working along the lines that " Wet soil is my enemy" as i want them to last as long as humanly possible. With that in mind 95% of the surface area sits on 2-3 inch of gravel minimum and with french drains (of sorts ) using 68mm downpipe in the gravel under the timber .

"The whole project sits below house DPC" and as ive said, doesnt touch any brickwork

I cant go down into the ground anymore as we sit on clay, plants wont last 2 years sitting in water hence why i have to go up and really not sure what else you would use thats practical, on budget and asthetically pleasing Woody2Shoes, id be interested in what you would of used instead ?.

Concideration was made to use oak but its is prohibitively more expensive with the amount of stainless steel fixings i would have needed and i would still have to line the timber anyway. Even though i have a very competent mitre saw and a chainsaw id you wont to get a superb finish, i really wouldnt want to start trying to saw oak with the amount of cuts i have. And im solo with no help, i really didnt fancy lugging 50 of them around.

Cheers

Interesting question - what are the alternatives (at a comparable - lifetime - cost)?

1) Much less, if any structure. I've made raised beds on clay using a few pieces of riven sweet chestnut that have lasted about ten years now (they grew within sight of where they are now and contain no synthetic chemicals)
2) Stone/bricks/blocks/slates/tiles with or without render.
3) Metal (e.g. steel sheet/strip - galvanised or not).

Erm....
PS
e.g. Galvanised Steel Garden Edging · Durable · Decorative
Also, concrete - you can get very creative indeed if you cast your own (e.g. inserting glass/pebbles/shells etc. etc.)
PPS one concrete example:
 
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Mono11

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I guess at the end of the day, its our own preferable preference

Thanks for all the info on this thread

Cheers
 
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