Test for Honeycomb

A method for testing dried lumber to detect honeycomb, with advice on how to prevent the checking that leads to honeycomb. June 13, 2014

Gene - I attended the drying class recently and during one of the particle exercises you demonstrated how to test for honeycomb. I believe the process was:

Select a representative piece of lumber.
Cut 18" to 24" from the piece.
Cut a 1" piece from the larger section.
Flex the 1" piece; if it bends honeycomb is not present. If it breaks, honeycomb has occurred.

Is this correct?

Forum Responses
(Commercial Kiln Drying Forum)
Gene Wengert-WoodDoc
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Not correct exactly. Do you have a copy of “Drying Hardwood Lumber”? If so, look at p. 102.

From the original questioner:
I am looking at page 102. There is not a figure designated for honeycomb check. We could use the figure for "1/8 inch slice surface check" as this would provide an internal look into the wood for honeycomb. Is this the direction you wanted me to go?

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Exactly - just cut surface check wafers and if the interior pieces stay together, no honeycomb. Note that almost all honeycomb is an end check or surface check first. So when you have positive test results for surface checks continue testing for honeycomb.

From contributor E:
The Knowledge Base link below may be of help.

Drying Hardwood Lumber

From contributor K:
Really useful information. What do I have to do if I have 5,000 board feet of KD lumber in which samples are showing honeycombing?

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
If you are the one that dried the lumber, starting at green, then you are in trouble. If someone else dried it, then return the lumber. IN the future, you need to slow down the initial drying, as almost all honeycomb is the result of surface checks getting worse. So, prevent surface checking (above 50% MC), and you will prevent honeycomb.