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Dealing with wood defects

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Checks, Shakes, and Knots
checks in wood
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Checks, shakes, and knots:
Checks are cracks across
the growth rings, and
shakes are cracks
between the rings. Knots
are remnants of branches.

Checks, Shakes, and Knots

Solution for checks and shakes: These cracks occur at the ends of boards, so you may simply cut off the bad areas. But don't be too hasty. Good narrow pieces often exist on either side of a check.

Shakes, because of their orientation, usually have to be cut off. Be leery of boards with excessive shake. This may be a result of the board simply being dropped on one end, but shakes also can be a sign of improper drying.

Solution for knots: If they're tightly held in the wood, knots usually pose just appearance problems. Use these boards in inconspicuous places where the knots won't show. Loose knots, on the other hand, may fall out or be pulled free by cutting bits and blades. Cut out and discard areas with loose knots.


Comments (5)
ckwood3640978 wrote:

I agree with dhellew21. I've never considered tight knots to be a defect. Sure, there are projects where you want clear grain, but IMHO that's rare and for most projects, as long as the knot is not separating from the grain, it's not a defect.

3/29/2016 03:52:05 PM Report Abuse
Phellis wrote:

I had a few pieces of Oak that were crooked and my solution, due to limited space and tools, was to align and clamp the board with the outside crook parallel to the edge of my workbench then use a HD trim bit in my router to straighten the crook. Then I ran the routed edge through my joiner and finally used this straight edge to guide the board through my table saw to trim the inside crook off for a nice straight board.

11/6/2014 11:13:01 AM Report Abuse
dhellew21 wrote:

There is nothing wrong with knots. Knots and the grain around them add character and color to the wood. Small knots can be glued in place with super glue, larger ones with gorilla glue before processing the wood.

11/6/2014 10:34:42 AM Report Abuse

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