Shake – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Tree Wood and Lumber Glossary

What is Shake?

Shake is a term used in the lumber industry to describe a separation or crack that occurs along the grain of wood. It is commonly found in trees, particularly in softwoods such as pine and cedar. Shake can vary in size and severity, ranging from small surface cracks to deep splits that run the length of the wood. Shake can significantly impact the quality and strength of the wood, making it less desirable for use in construction and other applications.

What causes Shake in trees?

Shake is typically caused by internal stresses within the tree, such as wind, temperature fluctuations, or rapid growth. These stresses can lead to the formation of tension wood, which is weaker and more prone to cracking than normal wood. Shake can also be caused by improper handling of the tree during harvesting and processing, such as dropping or dragging the logs. In some cases, insects or fungi can also contribute to the development of shake in trees.

How does Shake affect the quality of wood?

Shake can significantly reduce the strength and durability of wood, making it less suitable for use in construction and other applications. Wood with shake is more prone to splitting, warping, and decay, which can compromise the structural integrity of a building or other structure. Shake can also affect the appearance of the wood, creating unsightly cracks and blemishes that reduce its aesthetic value.

What are the different types of Shake?

There are several different types of shake that can occur in wood, including:
– Heart shake: a crack that runs parallel to the growth rings of the tree, typically originating in the center of the log.
– Ring shake: a crack that runs perpendicular to the growth rings of the tree, often caused by internal stresses or rapid growth.
– Cup shake: a crack that occurs along the circumference of the tree, usually caused by wind or other external forces.
– Star shake: a radial crack that radiates from the center of the log, often caused by tension wood or improper handling.

How can Shake be prevented or minimized in lumber?

There are several methods that can be used to prevent or minimize shake in lumber, including:
– Proper handling: Careful handling of the tree during harvesting and processing can help reduce the risk of shake. This includes avoiding dropping or dragging the logs, as well as storing them in a dry, well-ventilated area.
– Slow drying: Rapid drying of wood can increase the likelihood of shake, so it is important to dry lumber slowly and evenly to minimize internal stresses.
– Treatment: Some chemical treatments can help prevent shake in wood, such as applying a sealant or preservative to the surface of the wood.
– Selective harvesting: Choosing trees that are less prone to shake, such as those with straight grain and uniform growth, can help improve the quality of lumber.

What are the implications of using wood with Shake in construction projects?

Using wood with shake in construction projects can have serious implications for the safety and durability of the structure. Shake weakens the wood, making it more prone to splitting, warping, and decay over time. This can compromise the structural integrity of the building, leading to potential safety hazards and costly repairs. In addition, wood with shake may not meet building code requirements or industry standards, making it unsuitable for use in certain applications. It is important to carefully inspect and test wood for shake before using it in construction projects to ensure the quality and longevity of the structure.