Controlling Cant Checking

Cants check as they dry because of uneven shrinkage. It can be controlled, but not completely prevented. July 28, 2006

I live in South Georgia and run a small sawmill. We cut only heart pine - Longleaf, Shortleaf and Loblolly. Most of what we cut is from salvaged trees that have been lightning struck or wind blown. When we do not have orders to fill, we cant our logs to make them easier for future handling and to bring the moisture content down. We stack the cants under a metal building with open sides. After several weeks or months the cants will check, some severely. I realize some checking is inevitable but I was wondering if this is a good practice or should we leave the logs whole until we have orders to fill?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Dr. Gene Wengert, technical advisor Sawing and Drying Forum:
Cant checking is hard to avoid as the outside is trying to shrink while the inside is not. You can control the checking by putting a saw kerf on the face that you want to check. You could also drill a large hole in the center to allow room for shrinkage. Note that failure to dry will result in stain, so storing the cants (or even logs) in warm weather is often not a good idea. I would encourage you to consider developing an inventory of some items that you consider to be standard products.