Quick question for you guys to hash out for me. I am trying to make my wood choices to build a stem, stem cap and stem knee. These are about 5 to 6 feet long and from 2x stock (actually, more like 1 3/8" in todays lumber choices).
The two choices I have on hand are some doug fir I've had laying around for about 5 years or so, or, some SYP I picked up a few months ago. Both options were got out of 2 x 12's, taken straight out of the center of the tree, such that both had a center pith section, plus straight, quarter sawn grain on either side. The pith sections were ripped out and tossed, leaving residual pieces of long, straight, quarter sawn grain.
Issue is that in both cases, it appears the tree started out in life in a dense stand, that was eventually thinned and the tree took off growing. Both have an area of very tight growth rings in the middle, but then those widen to nice rings of around 12 or so per inch. In order to get the width I need, I'm either working between the sapwood and tight inner rings, or have to include both tight and not so tight rings on the same board. Because these have to be laminated together, I have been trying to avoid using flat or plain sawn pieces to avoid any cupping down the road. The boards in these pictures are remarkably straight, with nominal warping or cupping. For some reason, the doug fir pieces are bowed about 3/8" from end to end, but clamped as they are shown, these bows cancel out and the lamination would be dead straight.
Issue with the SYP is to get the width I need, I have to include the transition from fine to not so fine grain, and will include some of the very cupped rings along the side as well. Is this going to cause problems, or do I need to keep looking?
As an alternative to these two choices, I also have several flat sawn boards similar to the one shown in Doug Fir that I marked out for the stem knee. You can get reasonably wide pieces of quarter sawn from those, but the grain isn't as tight and the concern I would have about those is cupping when they are laminated together. On the other hand, the laminations narrow down a lot so the cupping issue may not even be a factor.
May sound like much concern about nothing, but these will be permanent, structural pieces. No reason to build in a problem if it can be avoided.