Pith Centering in Cabin "D" Logs

Other Versions
A sawyer wonders how best to avoid distortion as he produces wall logs for a cabin project. February 26, 2005

I plan to saw 5"x5" "D" logs (1 natural face, 3 flat) for a cabin. I can air dry or kiln dry. Will the logs curve as they dry if the pith is not centered, or if two pithless D's are taken from two sides of larger logs?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
They will likely warp. Some species will warp very little; others (red pine) will warp a lot.

From the original questioner:
Thanks, Gene. So I should center the pith?

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Pith centering is best, but if you take unequal amounts off opposite faces, expect warp.

I'd think about making the D-logs a bit bigger... 6 inches or so.

I've built two log houses in white pine without the pith totally centered (one was sawed on three sides, the fourth left naturally draw knifed) and never had a twisting or warping problem, even putting them up in the green stage. I've seen terrible things happening to poplar, though, doing it the same way.

If you take Gene's advice and cut evenly on the two opposite sides, if the log does spring, it will be in a vertical plane and you can hold it down with the logs on top as you build up your wall.