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Old 02-16-2009, 07:31 PM   #1
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Can you UNtwist wood?


I bought three 2x12x16' for stair stringers and kept them in the house propped up from the main floor through the opening to the attic (the new second floor) on a 45 degree angle.

Somehow, two of the boards got a twist in them, even though all three boards were exposed to a controlled environment. The twist is about 2 inches from end-to-end.

Is there a way to put a subtle twist back into them? I was thinking about putting a weight on a long pair of 2x4's on a 90 degree angle (like a hockey stick) with the other end wedged under something and leaving them in the rain or something - does that sound feasible?

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Old 02-16-2009, 08:22 PM   #2
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Can you UNtwist wood?


I doubt it. It's worth a shot though.
This is like closing the barn door but... I band all my stock together with ratcheting ties if I need to store it for any length of time.

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Old 02-16-2009, 08:38 PM   #3
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If they're for stair stringers it really shouldn't be a big deal. Worst case, you just install some 2x blocking between them at the top and bottom of the stairs to force the twist out of them.
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Old 02-16-2009, 09:00 PM   #4
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Can you UNtwist wood?


Thekctermite,

I was sort of hoping you would reply, you have always given everyone good advice.

Does the "weighted" idea hold any water?

If I use the "blocked" method, should the straight board be in the middle, or to one of the sides? I probably have a better time putting one of the twisted boards to the wall side of the new staircase so that I can try to untwist it by securing it to the studs in the existing wall. Make sense?
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:33 AM   #5
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Eric, you could try to do something to naturally get the twist out of them, but it probably won't be permanent. When wood is cut from a tree, the stresses in the grain pattern don't really go away. They change, and twisting is the wood's way of dealing with the stresses that it had as a tree...It doesn't know any better. If this is treated lumber it is Southern Yellow Pine, which is known for its bendy/twisty behavior.

I'd put a good straight piece against the wall of the home. I'd put the bad one in the middle, and another good one on the outside. It shouldn't be too tough to get the twist out of it that way by using the blocks between the good members and the bad one. Use 2x10 blocks more or less, and use deck screws in a toenail pattern to fasten them. Screwing or nailing right into the block's end grain won't be as effective.
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:17 AM   #6
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Is bringing them back to the store and buying new a possiblity? I know HD would take them back. Stairs are difficult enough without having to deal with twisted wood.
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Old 02-17-2009, 05:17 PM   #7
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Can you UNtwist wood?


Thanks for the replies guys.

The wood is Douglas Fir (what I was told is good for stringers). I was going to buy it from HD but chose to get them from a lumber yard to try and establish a relationship with them for my second floor addition. I once bowled with a worker there and he said just send them back, but I got them back in mid-November so I didn't waste time calling figuring that the manager may say that it had been too long.

I have to order the next wave of lumber (5/8" T&G for the subfloor) so I will ask then and see what happens.
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Old 02-17-2009, 06:22 PM   #8
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Always try to keep your stock lying flat on stickers. It will be less prone to twisting. Also buying good quality lumber makes a difference. What Home Depot or Lowes sells and what you can buy from a good lumber yard are two different types of lumber. Any western species of lumber is usually better than any eastern species. I try to look at the grade stampings as well.
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I have to order the next wave of lumber (5/8" T&G for the subfloor) so I will ask then and see what happens.
You sure about that? 5/8" is pretty sub-standard for floor sheathing although it does meet code. 3/4" (23/32") is pretty much the industry standard.
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Old 02-18-2009, 03:48 AM   #10
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Can you UNtwist wood?


It is what the architect shows on the drawing he made for me just over a year ago (unless the standards had chaged since then). The town has already approved it, and it shows 5/8" on the drawing, does that mean I can't change it?

I know, I know, it sounds silly - The only way of knowing would be for them to pull off the top step riser and check thickness at the second floor landing.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:12 AM   #11
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Can you UNtwist wood?


5/8" will make the span for most floors from a codes (minimum standards) standpoint. Would I tile over it? Absolutely not. Would I sheet my floors with it? Absolutely not. 5/8" (19/32") isn't widely used in residential construction except occasionally on low-slope roofs.

In the old days they often did what was called two-for-one (or 2for1) floor sheathing, which was 3/8" plywood over 5/8". Very solid. You don't see that much anymore just because it isn't cost effective.

I'd be asking my architect what on earth he was thinking when he specified it.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:32 AM   #12
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Can you UNtwist wood?


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
5/8" will make the span for most floors from a codes (minimum standards) standpoint. Would I tile over it? Absolutely not. Would I sheet my floors with it? Absolutely not. 5/8" (19/32") isn't widely used in residential construction except occasionally on low-slope roofs.

In the old days they often did what was called two-for-one (or 2for1) floor sheathing, which was 3/8" plywood over 5/8". Very solid. You don't see that much anymore just because it isn't cost effective.

I'd be asking my architect what on earth he was thinking when he specified it.
good points, just cause it is code only means it passes. In school a 65 gives you a D and passes, wouldn't you rather have an A
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:57 AM   #13
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Can you UNtwist wood?


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In school a 65 gives you a D and passes...
I just had a flashback to trig class in college.
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:30 PM   #14
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Can you UNtwist wood?


FWIW department: The home builder I worked for in the early '70's always used 3/4" plywood for the first layer of subfloor and then 1/2" plywood for the next layer, staggering the seams, and with roofing felt in between the two. I've seen many homes constructed this way since then, including my own home. I have torn out many a bathroom floor for repairs after a leaking toilet and found this type subflooring. Is this just something common in S. GA. or is this common elsewhere? And Yes, it makes for a really sturdy flooring. I had a contractor come out two years ago to look at installing radiant floor heating using a "Hot water" tubing type system and he told me he hated these floors as they were hard to transfer heat to the interior. He actually recommended the electric grid system over his for my house but I have not done either, yet. Thanks, David

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