Wood Checking - Understanding Natural Wood Checking


 

Wood Checking

WOOD CHECKING

Both White and Red Cedar Found in many rustic furniture are subject to the natural process of checking.  This is a completely normal process in the "seasoning" of the wood as it dries. Scientifically, checking occurs as cedar releases moisture and shrinks/expends as the wood dries. As cedar dries, the exterior or sapwood is exposed to the elements causing it to dry and shrink faster than the inner surface.  The inner surface known as heartwood tends to dry slower causing checking to occur. 

Checking is defined as:

  • A lengthwise separation of the wood from traditional or kiln dried seasoning that can extend through the annual growth rings. Wood naturally dries from the surface to the center causing moisture fluctuation. 

It is important to note that the result of checking is neither a split or a crack. In short it is an opening on the woods surface running parallel to the grain.  This checking may be present in your cedar furniture, wooden swing set or etc and is a normal part of the process.  This wood checking can not be controlled by the manufactures or builders and should be thought of as perfectly normal and expected when purchasing cedar.

 

It should be noted that checking does not affect the structural integrity or performance of the wood itself.  The checking does not pass through heartwood in the cedar and thus keeps the item strong and structurally sound.   Checking is not an indication of damaged furniture or goods and a varying amount of checking is to be expected.  This feature adds a unique and rustic furniture look to your log furniture and porch swings. 

 

 


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