Milling Timbers to Minimize Warp

      Either "box the heart," or stay away from the pith altogether. March 16, 2015

I'm currently milling timbers for a timber frame workshop that I'll be building for myself. Due to the size of the logs available to me I've only been able to mill one timber per log (I boxed the core). However I've just received a load of large logs which will give me the opportunity to mill two to three timbers per log (each will be free of the core). I'm thinking that these will be the best, most stable timbers. Just checking to confirm this before I start cutting. Most of the timbers I'll be using will have the boxed core.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
The wood within 15 rings of the core (technical term is the pith, although centering the pith in a timber is called "boxing the heart") has a strong tendency to warp lengthwise, but the wood further away does not. So, if the rings are not centered in a timber, the edge closest to the pith is likely to shrink lengthwise and create a warped timber.

From the original questioner:
Thanks Gene. So if I understand you correctly, I'm ok with timbers cut from outside of the heart, and I should do my best to center the pith in timbers when I box the heart.

From contributor B:
It seems to read that if a person cuts a timber without the pith then the side that was nearest the pith should be at least 15 growth rings away. But other than that the pith should be centered as well as possible.

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