This week I’d like to address an interesting phenomenon and one that’s important to know about as a homeowner.
While most problems with wood construction are presented to and dealt with by the woodworker, this waits until the worker is long gone, and attacks the (often dismayed) consumer years later.
Did You Ever Notice?
Some woods have lovely, straight, uninterrupted grains. Larch is one example; Cedar is another. We like to use these for siding and fences, because they stay straight, don’t warp easily, and are pleasing to the eye besides. They also take stains well.
The problem, with Cedar, in particular, is that the few knots that there are have a tendency to fall out as the wood ages, and the grains check and expand! You’ve probably seen it before; children peer through knots in fences like Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer, straining for glances of the mysterious neighbors’ lives. Ever find that a piece of siding is completely fine on the ends, but rotten and crumbling in the middle? Look carefully, and you very well might find that the rot has grown out from a spot where once there was a knot, and then there was not.
Watch Where You Mow…
In the cases of both siding and fencing, the best thing you can do is keep a sharp eye out for loose and fallen knots. A knothole can be plugged in a number of ways, but it’s far easier to do a good-looking job of it if you have the original knot.
Apply a glue like Titebond to the outer edges of the knot, then replace it, wiping off any excess glue. If you can’t get the knot to stay where it should as the glue expands, try this little trick: carefully staple the outer edge of the knot to the surrounding surface. This can actually be done with a paper stapler and staples, which are less obtrusive than industrial staples. They can also be removed much more easily, and don’t leave big holes and scars.
Should you lose the knot, you can always plug it with one of your own makings. This can be time and work intensive, though, so it’s better if you keep track of the original.
Your Woodworking Expert,