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Logs sawn through and through, (top left) produce wide boards but these tend to cup on drying (bottom left).
Softwood logs are usually converted directly to the section sizes required in construction and joinery and efficiency of out-turn is obtained by maximising yields in these sizes. Sawn timber sections have fairly rough and slightly irregular surfaces which may be further machined to improve smoothness or dimensional accuracy. The appearance is influenced by the angle of grain exposure on the surface of the board, while the behaviour, particularly in terms of dimensional stability and distortion, is affected by internal stresses during drying. Quarter-sawing (right) produces narrower boards but these are more stable on drying and in use. It may be used for converting some hardwoods because of their higher value but such conversion is at the expense of yield since it produces narrower boards and costs are increased by the repeated turning of the log during sawing.

It has become common practice to machine (by planing or fine sawing) the top and bottom surfaces of members such as floor joists to ensure an even depth and thus flat floors and ceilings. It is produced in a limited range of sizes and is widely used in the timber frame industry. However, some are used structurally where longer lengths, increased spans, greater durability or their decorative value are required. Standard dimensions of sawn softwood are between 75 and 300mm in width and between 22 and 300mm in thickness. Fully planed timber sections have a smooth, well presented finish and are appropriate where high levels of dimensional accuracy are required or where finished components will be handled. Larger sections are sometimes available or can be formed by pairing sections together or by laminating.

Timber machined or surfaced is commonly reduced by 3mm for sections of 150mm or below, or 5mm for larger sections. Most hardwoods are imported in specific thicknesses but random widths which are within an agreed and accepted range. Smaller sections are also available and where necessary can be cut from sections within the standard range.

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Published at: Backyard Shed

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