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Problem ripping birch boards

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  • Problem ripping birch boards

    I purchased a 5/4 thick piece of birch about 6” wide and about 6’ long.
    I needed to make a block about 2” square. So I ripped two 2 ¼” strips
    from the board with the intention of gluing them face-to-face and then
    trimming it to the final size.

    My problem is – when I ripped the pieces, they curved almost like a “c”
    or banana. It’s like the wood was under great pressure that got relieved when
    I ripped it.

    What is happening? Is it something I did or didn’t do or is it a problem with birch or …?
    How do I prevent this from happening in the future?
    I would appreciate any ideas or suggestions.

    Thanks for your help.

  • #2
    Couple of things could have happend. The wood may have been kiln dried too fast, or it wasn't dry enough.

    Get a moister meter, and make sure your wood is dry. Also let the wood sit in your shop for a few weeks before working it.

    [ 01-14-2004, 02:49 PM: Message edited by: K.M. Delano ]
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    • #3
      Sounds like the wood was too wet. Did this happen right after the cut and was the cut uniform in width? I try to have the finished piece against the fence, it seems to limit that problem.
      I would use biscuits on the pieces and alots of clamps between staight boards and it may straighten.


      • #4
        Sounds like you may have come across some wood that was under stress, do a web search for Wood Longitudinal Stress and you'll see several good definitions of what it is. When the wood was originally growing it may have been under extreme stress(leaning, a heavy branch, etc.), or the stress came about from the drying process. When you ripped the board you relieved the stress and viola, a bannana shaped board. I've seen wood curve away from the cut and wedge between the blade and fence; and close up behind the blade binding it and popping the breaker.


        • #5
          All these reasons are good ones. Sometimes theres' nothing you can do about warping b/c when you rip pieces of wood you are releasing certain pressures. That is why when you're working with pure wood rather than plywoods, it's a good idea to have a jointer / planer. I don't do much work with natural wood for this reason. Mostly plywoods. I don't have jointer or planer.