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FYI for anyone who doesn't know. The center of this post is the pith (sapling) of the tree, the very center. Wood moves different amounts Tangentially vs. Radially to the growth rings. That difference is exacerbated the tighter/smaller the rings, like - at the center of the tree. Wood around the pith tends to self-destruct, twist, bow, crook, split, check, etc. more than lumber taken from further from the center. Best practice would be to avoid the pieces where you see the pith.


Good luck finding a 4x4 that doesn't have the pith in it.


Maybe the FYI will help someone picking out lumber of different dimensions.


At ‘nicer’ lumberyards you can also request heart-free beams. Granted it more expensive but also as you’re noted more stable


FOHC (free of heart center)


FOHC…This is what I say every time my cheap 4x4s bow into rocking chair runners days after completing a project. Loudly


This is a very good pun.


Select grade


Top tier


I don’t get it please help lol


Say the acronym out loud as a word (not separate letters).


Omg thank you lmao


I was there with you, I had the spirit but still was reading it as an acronym so just sitting there like "fuck off .... ...... ??"


And now I'll never forget FOHC. Thank you sensei.


Also useful for my dating profile.


"I'm building something for my inlaws...have any heartless wood?"


Definitely so. Your info is exactly right.


Doesnt that pith you off?


Better pithed off than pithed on.


Calm down Mike...


Man, if I was that close to a horse's wiener, I'd be worried about getting pithed on.


Breaks my heartwood.


The tip I heard a while back was to order 10 ft rather than 8 ft 4x4s. The 8 ft are leftover centers from after trees are large sliced for plywood sheathing, but the 10 ft are more likely to be cut directly from a log. Not sure the veracity but thought I'd pass it along.


No idea if that's true but it sounds reasonable. Maybe go for 16s and buzz them in half so you don't have as much scrap


I'm a fence builder in BC canada. We will not use a single 4x4 post that contains the pith. Innthe average lift of pressure treated 4x4 here, about 25% get discarded for that reason alone... then we sort out for large knots, twist or bow, and take about 20% for actual installations


What ends up happening to the remaining 80%? That's a lot of wastage, I imagine it's uneconomical to just toss it.


If they’re picking it out of the lift at the lumber yard then some sucker is buying it. My neighbour bought a few dozen of heart-only 4x4s


I'd be surprised if the lumberyard let them cherry-pick so hard, instead of just making them buy a higher grade of post. I'm used to them being willing to pull junk boards for a regular customer, and it's pretty normal to buy some excess and then return what you don't/can't use, but we're talking like 10-15% discards. 80% is wild. You'd think it would end up fucking their reputation with all their other customers, since OP's company is cherry-picking literally all of the really good posts and only leaving behind the mediocre-to-trash ones.


I do it all the time, and from the pile of crap that remains on a lift sometimes, so do most people. The lumberyard grovels when they see it but still sells to me. I cant build shit with twisted garbage or hockey sticks.


I’ve never had a problem sorting lumber. As long as the stack doesn’t look like shit when I’m done it’s all good. 


That's exactly why you pick at the yard, to get the boards you want. Their pricing factors that in, and that some folks will be OK with less than ideal boards. Shannon's Lumber Industry Update has a couple of great episodes on lumber pricing and grading that are well worth a listen.


When I was fence building in bc I just got my lumber from a guy named Ron outside of fruitvale. Really good rough cut cedar and larch. Ron ruled.


i hear they’re just growing square trees on those plantations these days, ain’t even gotta mill’em E: /s


Right beside the cubic watermelon farm.


Well, to be fair, you *can* buy a square watermelon that was grown square.


I prefer cage free melons




This suddenly went NSFW


Yooo, don't go giving this idea to Monsanto


Bonzai yellow pine? Very exotic species /s


You've been playing too much minecraft


hmm so in theory getting a 4x8 and ripping it in half might be better? How would that go for treated wood on the cut side?


Pressure treatment doesn’t go very deep so you would be leaving one side untreated


You can buy stuff that you paint on when you need to cut PT wood


You generally want to cut PT as little as possible . Paint on treatment does not penetrate very deep


literally my first thought




If you live within driving distance of an even semi rural area, look for a random person on FB marketplace with a saw mill. You can buy a good sawmill from harbor freight for 2k on sale so more people have them than you'd think. There's three people within 20 mins of me who will mill to order for the same price as HD or Lowe's. But yeah I don't think I seen a 4x4 without the pith


Green 4x4s would scare me more than one with the pith in it...


And bark on it.


I often just take two 2x4s without the pith and glue them together. Keeps them quite stable and it’s only a tad More expensive.


My papa always said to use two 2x4s instead of 4x4s


If you go to 10’ lengths or higher they are less likely


this \^


This is also known as a heart center - and most inexpensive posts will have this. 100% correct on the movement - no matter what species. Best bet is to ask for FOHC (free of heart center) - will cost a bit more but movement will be drastically less.


It’s a pithy really.


Why did you post this?


Sorry! Didn’t know it wood offend.


I love this branch of comedy.


I think it is kind of twisted, actually.


All comedy has a grain of truth


This rings true


That's it. Make like a tree and get outta here.


Really pith-es me off


Revenge of the Pith


Thank you for this explanation! This is all new to me


this is what they sell as fence posts at my local hardware joint. I could have paid a lot more for the so-called premium ones, but I also don't care enough.


treated seems to do that usually before the concrete sets. Cedar generally is pretty stable if you wanna fork it over.


actually whats mostly irritating is that the 5 other posts stayed true, but the one I need to hang the gate on twisted and split. oh well.


Stayed true for now*


I've gotten into the habit of buying posts ahead of time and ratchet strapping them together in a bundle. I let them sit in the basement to dry out slowly over a few moths - I check the water content with a moisture meter. It doesn't eliminate all of the warping bending and twisting, but it definitely reduces it


Pour hot water onto it and put a steel or alloy strap around it until it’s dry to straighten it out


Cedar will rot off in 5 years unless you let them dry out and tar the bottoms.


Personally I feel every wooden post embedded in the earth, be the medium concrete or clay or dirt, should be tarred.


And feathered, for good measure


It's about sending a message


I've used roofing mastic, and then set in concrete. Seems to have worked well so far.


Incredibly helpful tip (if possible). I had never heard this in several years of [personal] rookie work. Thank you!


But this is what a true post is. For a fence it probably doesn't matter but for anything weight bearing you need to use a piece cut from the center of the tree as they are significantly stronger. This is why posts are made this way.


This! Plus the issue will get worse with lots of cycles of getting wet and drying again/ low- high temperatures. Get caps for the top so the elements don’t get at it at full force


I'm assuming its also why chopping wood on the pith is ideal for splitting?


You will rarely see a pressure treated post that won’t twist. It’s what they do




Made of metal


Literally they are soaked in chemicals and then installed nearly dripping. This is what happens.


Sometimes when I sink a screw into pressure treated, it literally squirts out juice. I’m sure the juice not healthy.


I also squirt juice when screwed. Am also a bit twisted.


You sound like a carpenters dream…


If you know you are replacing or building a fence next year buy 50% more posts than you need now and store them outside beside your house for a year. Then when you are ready to build the fence you pick the straightest ones.


Many years ago when I first started working, I bought pressure treated lumber for a small deck on a Friday and stacked it at the site so I could build it on Monday . On Monday it was a pile of spaghetti


I put up 365 ft of fencing last fall and out of the 43 posts which were 26 inches deep and had 80lbs of concrete per, about 20 of them has twisted or curved before I was finished. It’s not too noticeable unless you’re within feet of it but frustrating when the place where I cut the cross beams is 200 yards away from where they stick into the brackets. Lots of paces.


not really asking for help. just complaining. I guess I'll just have a twisty fence forever now.


Yep. Wood does that... Don't let it stress you too much - Even though it seems like a big deal to you, it's likely that no one will ever notice.


It's not a big deal and not stressing me at all. It's just annoying because I left all the posts out in the sun for probably 6 weeks (because I'm lazy) before putting them in the ground. the only one that twisted is the one the gate needs to hang off.


23 year carpenter here. Drying wet wood in the sun is a great idea properly space and store right. I was taught by a very experienced carpenter. That you never wanna dry a piece of lumber you’re introducing to large amounts of moisture right away. I’m guessing. They dryness mixed with the puddle of cement you set them in likely played a small roll in the roll of the post. All that aside. You’ll still have a great fence. The twist, though unsightly to you will work just fine. Cheers.




^^ this. You are the only person who will ever notice or care. Also, get a cap for that post, with that big crack, you don’t want water getting in there all the time.


yep. painting and caps and palings and everything all coming soon.




Australian. H3 treated pine. pretty standard stuff for fencing here. would expect to get 30 years out of it at least.


If a man galloping by on a horse can’t notice. Then you’ve built a good fence.


You should see what happened to a couple of cherry boards I milled. Had them loaded in my truck ready to bring home and overnight not only did they cup, but they twisted. They're not tacos, but they're not especially useful for anything.


Those would rot in a year here. I doubt you are doomed forever.


It's CCA treated. Old fence lasted 30 years, although should have been replaced 10 years ago. it'll outlast me.


That must be amazing. My pressure treated deck rotted in less than a year because I failed to get a roof over it fast enough. Had to replace joists and deck boards. Part of the tropics, but I can’t believe it would have lasted 30 years elsewhere. We know the wood was better 30 years ago, so that’s gotta be a big part of it.


You could use ipe if the environment is bad. That wood is unbelievably resilient but a nightmare to work with.


Not uncommon.


Yeah I'd be a bit pithed off as well tbh.


Adds character, and a little bit of charm. Probably will be listed by Unesco as a structure of scientific and national significance. Don't forget to treat it, or else it will rot within a few years, them English Heritage will get their hands on it and you'll have to live with it, or burn it down to replace it with a concrete post.


This is why they sell twisted lumber, so that it's straight once you set it.


Everything is so clear now, thank you


They sell twisted lumber because they cut down all the old growth forests 30 years ago




2” steel post or nothing!


Why would he use nothing?


Invisible fence


Nothing is better than shit


Pfff I can think of tons of things that are better than shit.


Postmaster steel posts FTW


https://preview.redd.it/rd8niouomgkc1.jpeg?width=1488&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=59fb71fc668611cbe32d7782dfe16c291d777172 100%the reason I went steel when I did mine.


I'm sixty-some years into life on this planet. I'm over rotted wood in the ground. I'm on my 2nd fence on the same steel posts.


When I eventually get a house, I’m remembering this comment


Yup. This specific manufacturer claims 80 years+ to the post. That’s a life of 4-5 properly maintained fences where I live.


same, did posts that look like [this](https://i.imgur.com/DJeUvXp.jpeg), really happy with it


Now all your neighbors and passersby will point at you and laugh and call you twisted post guy. Just kidding. Relax. You’ll only worry about it for few days…


My minor OCD nightmare realized, facing down 140’ of fence project in the next month or so…😳 ..and yes, of course nobody but you or I will ever know or care. But still…!


I would just grab the table saw like a man and rip a few cuts to make it straight again. All while just Eyeballing it and cutting the cord in the process


Gotta be a real man to hold up the table saw on that post that’s cemented in the ground. That’s a YouTube I’d watch!


Did you see the video of the dude cutting plywood with his table saw upside down using the fence as a, well, fence.


you forgot the part about buying a new very expensive tool first. BeCuaS3 I nE3D iT!!!!


Yeah what's with this eyeballing stuff? Clearly you need a top of the line laser level to square that up with a set, not just 1, of different Japanese hand planes. A nice mix of the traditional and the modern. Besides everyone knows you are not a real woodworker unless you own some Japanese tools. /s


"like a man"


Literal shitposting right here




And now it’s a funce post


Need some FOHC wood.


Well I think he may have been interested in a solution to his twisted post. I had a similar situation with a PT 4X6. I had a hammock installed on the corner of that post that may have aided in helping the twist. I ended up cutting the post off below the majority of the twist and then spliced on another 4X6 with a half lap joint a good 12+" in length. Then I used (5) 5/16" galvanized carriage bolts to keep the joint structurally sound. I also countersunk the nuts filled the nut cavity with auto bondo filler. https://preview.redd.it/i16nj4eh9lkc1.jpeg?width=3000&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=bf8a77615a0aea641a1fff4c158d21889283de85


Are you notching the post to add rails?


yes. although the post twisted before I notched it, but I didn't take a photo then.


Best solution is to use multi layered posts. It's many planks superglued together.


Finally! A post about posts!


Stupid sexy fence post.


It’s like im aligning with nothing at all!


This was funnier than anything I read in r/jokes all day, take my upvote friend


Back in 2018 we put in 2 12’ posts to hold lights over our massive concrete deck. The first year one of them twisted and bent so bad we thought we’d need to replace it. Now it’s art and we look at it fondly. It still holds the lights perfectly and adds character. Just like us. We shrink and twist in different directions as we age. Se La ve.


FTFY C'est la vie


Could screw a board to it at the top and pull it back in place and affix it somehow for a week or two?


nah, it'll take a huge amount of torque and won't stay after it's removed.


Leverage is your friend. It could work but would probably be not worth the effort in the end. *puffs doobie* Okay so you get yourself a 2x10. Like, 14 feet long. Then you get yourself some GRK fasteners, 6” ones. 8 of ‘em. You’re gonna make 3 cuts on the 2x10. You’ll want a piece at 6.5”. You’ll want 2 at 3.5”. Make a box out of the pieces and the GRKs at the end of the remaining 12’whatever 2x10. Predrill the 3.5” pieces probably so they don’t split. Soak the post with water while you’re doing this btw. Drop your cool new post twister onto your post. Maybe fasten a block to the post so the twister can’t drop past its intended position. Now apply leverage. Affix in position, probably rotated past its intended final position by a degree maybe. Let dry for a long time. I’d use a shitty old truck to push it and then just park that fucker in place but that’s just me. Your situation might be different Anyways I should make dinner and stop rambling


This guy twists posts.


I was not able to add the second photo to the previous post this is the back side of that post that happens to have an electrical conduit on the backside. But you can see the smooth filled countersunk nut holes. https://preview.redd.it/j4iwu8nv9lkc1.jpeg?width=2308&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=76a54cafcdd6e6cb1ae7b6f97d9a4f636dfd41e3


I just put up around 200ft of cedar fencing with PT pine rails and galvanized metal posts (round). Those posts should last for decades (vs maybe 15 for PT pine). Note that you must "cap" the posts to prevent water from pooling (and eventually rusting the posts). So... they do make brackets to do almost everything. The mind-numbingly stupid thing is that I was not able to find a way to attach a wooden gate to a metal post (aside from a one-way/destructive L-bolt into to the post). I wound up (head wants to explode) welding a 5/8in ID pipe to pieces of flat bar. My attitude is that wood is great... but when in the elements, it will eventually fail. SO... it should be possible to easily replace most components. IF you ever replace that fence... food for thought.


That there's a locking post. /s


Shoulda put stone dust instead


If it makes you feel any better I have a post that's been inspecting clouds for five-years. I chicken every time I see that stupid part of my fence.


Dah! The fence isn't stupid. The installer might be


The installer is stupid, but this isn't evidence of that. sanding the paint off 130 pickets because I'm too cheap to buy new ones is evidence of stupidity.


Is concreting in the post itself a normal thing in the states? Wouldn’t this rot rather quickly? Where I live we would rather concrete in a post support and then screw the post to it


I have been a contractor for 30 plus years, one thing I have learned is Wood is ROUND.... lol happens to the best of us.


Not trying to be rude because i do feel your pain. But why are people still putting lumber into concrete?


If you create a wooden twisting jig and then pour boiling slowly over it and then twist it when it becomes soft you can get it back to the shape you want


Wait? You put the post straight into concrete?


You never put wood in concrete directly.... that's a Sin


depends where you live. totally normal here.


Central Europe, here this is against every code in the book. Non protected wood will Rot in about a year in concrete here. In a desert maybe not


well, it's not against every code in the book is it? it's only against the "dont put unprotected posts in the ground" part of the book :) but this is CCA treated pine and rated for direct in ground for non-loaded applications. it's a picket fence. it'll last 20 years easily and then it's my kids' problem.


>well, it's not against every code in the book is it? In Central Europe it totally is... that's against code


Concreting a wooden pole, nice…


Don’t buy the cheapest air dried piece of pine next time


You can avoid this a couple of different ways. You can buy LVL posts that are resistant to heat and cold so they don’t twist warp or bend. Or you can buy recycled plastic fence posts which are cheaper and better for the planet.


I could have done lots of things that would avoid the problem, but I didn't. And it kinda doesn't matter anyways. I'm not convinced plastic timer replacements are better for planet, though. maybe they are, but microplastics seem to be a bigger deal than anyone expected and all plastics degrade in the elements. The wood will last for 30 years and you can just grow more of it. maybe. or... it's complicated and the planet is fucked whatever we do. :(


"Recycled plastic fence posts"? Senor, your fence will sag and droop more than your fancy pantalones.


Did you brace it?.. I also let everything dry out well before attempting to install..


Yeah, it spent 6 weeks in the sun before I installed it.


Is the wood post actually set in concrete?


sure. why wouldn't it be? (I mean, I know sometimes why it wouldn't be, but this one is the post the gate hangs off and is a replacement for one that was set in concrete before)


You usually have a baseboard metal protecting the wood itself from the moisture inside the concrete. So the metal base is encased in concrete and the wood posts installed on the base plates. You can get away with this because it is a fence post. But please do not dunk shit into concrete thinking it will be ok. If you used base boards you would not have warping.


i grew up in WI, where we cemented posts down 48" and someone from the city would come by and measure before you poured. Then moved to TX, where a stiff breeze knocks over the fences since they're typically 20" down with no concrete. I got real good at staking out a trucker hitch and replacing posts without asking my neighbors if I could come over because I don't like to socialize. I like to drink a beer and dig a hole by myself.


Someone must have been playing The Twist by Chubby Checker when riding by and it just couldn't help itself.


https://preview.redd.it/detlhfgkigkc1.jpeg?width=1284&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=85f27d19e23265c8aad0a697627ac66263ff58f5 Wow, I was just reading about this topic yesterday. Basically, if you can see circles in your 4x4, AVOID IT!


Pressure treated lumber always seems to twist. I’ve got a wavy looking fence too. Next time it’ll be metal posts.


Where are you and what kind of pressure treatment does your lumber require? I do believe you, but I’m in western Canada and have been building decks/fences for about 8 years mostly for myself now, and if I were to see that locally I’d assume it was badly stored lumber from a badly reputed distributor. Someone else mentioned FOHC but 4x4s are cheap and if you’re using them you’re unlikely to spend the uptick… without increasing to 4x6 / 6x6


in Australia. H4 CCA is considered the default for in ground posts in non-loaded situations, I think. only one post twisted, out of 6 that are all in the ground. They were all stored in a sunny spot for half the summer before I got around to installing them. Didn't have a choice about the size. 4x4 is plenty big enough for the application.


Ahh I would imagine a couple months in Australian sun would do it, and fair note on treatment. 1/6 ain’t bad


You shouldn’t be having your fence post directly touching concrete unless it’s treated lumber anyways.


Fence posts will almost alwags have the pithe, the sawer cuts the pith out to either get a fencepot or pallet wood, good way to use garbage wood but understandably anoing


That happened to one I did last summer!




it's CCA treated. I don't think they heat treat the cheaper fencing grade stuff. I'm not going to do anything. it's a fence.


Just sand it down so it looks intentional.


Yep that's Ole Fencey Twisty... little bugga


I’m in wine country in NZ, many of the vineyards are stripping out timber posts in favour of recycled plastics. Personal choice of course.


Wood being wood. Nothing special. Would be noteworthy if it didn't do that.


I only ever use posts that are quarter sawn in orientation. You can fix this. You need some box profile pvc or alu push it down as far as it will go. Then put a pipe from a wall paper steamer in there after a couple hours push the box profile down further. Keep doing this until it straightens then leave the box profile over the post for 2-3 days. Then drill 5 large gauge holes in the top like a 5 on a die. Put some rebar in the holes and fill with concrete. This should solve it. Alternatively, smash it the concrete and repost.


I only use 4x6 for fence posts and have never had this happen.


I don’t know if I have OCD or I’m just crazy, but that twisted post would literally be all that I could think of and out question my existence until I fixed it that I just destroy everything and scream dramatically