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Why Is That 2 x 4 So-So-So Crooked?

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Apr 19, 2012 01:01 AM
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by Glenn Meyers last modified Apr 18, 2012

Seasoned carpenters and lumber mill operators may not talk much about the warped wood they have to build into straight walls, roof systems, and stairways, but they remember the days when the wood they cut was figuratively straight as an arrow and any deviations got summarily tossed into the scrap pile without second thought.




 

 

Seasoned carpenters and lumber mill operators may not talk much about the warped wood they have to build into straight walls, roof systems, and stairways, but they remember the days when the wood they cut was figuratively straight as an arrow and any deviations got summarily tossed into the scrap pile without second thought.

Those days of yore may have been good for top-notch carpenters, but they were bad for forests and how they were managed. Without much regard at all, lumbering operators clear-cut old growth forests, maximizing their profit margins and leaving behind a scarred eye-sore. For doubters, just look out the window of an airplane when flying over Washington or Oregon. Clear-cutting may have seemed great to corporate bean counters but the practice reeked of stupidity and greed.

At the time all of those grand trees were being felled, it is doubtful the idea of sustainability and balance was proposed by any soul brave enough to utter the words. Now those patches of dirt on the mountainsides will probably stay ugly for a minimum of a half-century, and far longer before any of the timber might be considered at a premium grade. By the way, did anyone mention replanting?

With the world population continuing to grow at an eye-popping rate, there is a demand for more and more of this sustainable product. As a result, pine farms are created to produce much of today’s dimensional lumber. To spur more productivity, the trees are injected with hormones. They may not resemble the Hulk busting out of his shirts as his muscles grew, but the effect is similar. Unfortunately, today’s harvest of trees is far feebler than old-growth wood because the rate of growth has happened so fast, the growth rings are unstable, not tight like they should be.

The result: twisted pieces of lumber that can never be returned to stability or straightness unless they undergo an outrageously expensive and time-consuming steaming and forming process.

Hopefully this helps in understanding why some of the wood you purchased is little better than trash.

Photo: Eggybird



 

 

 
 
 

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