Q. Is oak lumber from stored logs as good as lumber from fresher logs? We think that there is a difference in processing as yields seem lower.
A: You have indeed “discovered” an important fact. The lumber from stored logs is likely to be of lower quality. Such lumber is likely to have more end splits (which often does not affect the grade, however), more insect damage (small pin holes, but the insects do not survive kiln drying that is 130F or hotter), and discoloration in the dry lumber due to fungal staining in the sapwood (blue stain fungus) and chemical oxidation staining in the sapwood and sometimes the heartwood. Sticker stain is much more likely. Stored logs can also, if stored for many months, develop some white-rot decay (which appears as zones of white surrounded by a black zone line). Finally, and perhaps most important for the oaks, is that stored logs are many times more likely to have lumber that will surface check and honeycomb than fresh logs. (This checking risk suggests that 4/4 lumber should be dried similar to 8/4 to reduce the checking.)
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