Splitting Wood - Green Versus Dry

      Wood is stronger, and thus harder to split, after drying. April 11, 2008

Question
What wood property makes it more difficult to separate hardwood fibers after they have dried? It seems a little counter-intuitive since I'd think that dry wood would be more brittle/prone to separation, but I find that dry hickory, beech and other hardwoods are more difficult to split when dry vs. when green.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor P:
I would think that dry wood would be more compressible than green wood. The splitting maul tends to sink into dry wood and deform the wood instead of splitting.



From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Dry wood is twice as strong as green wood. This is the main reason why green wood splits easier. The brittleness does not typically occur until under 6% MC. But even if brittleness increases, if the wood fibers are intertwined, the wood will not split well


From contributor G:
Dr. Wengert - what is it about dry wood that makes it stronger (less prone to separate parallel to the 'grain') than green wood?


From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
I do not know.



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Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Air Drying Lumber

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering

  • KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties




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