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ANSWERED!!Why is this small wedge driven into corner of 2x4?

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ANSWERED!!Why is this small wedge driven into corner of 2x4?

Postby wrenchguy on Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:56 pm

Here's a link to other forum i had it posted. Scroll up to Davids answer. http://lumberjocks.com/topics/43064
thanks


I'm working on daughters 110year old house in plymouth taxachewetts and have run across this thingy driven into the corner of 2x4. The thingy looks tobe a wedge of wood as u can see the endgrain of the wedge. This is the 3rd or 4th time i've come across these. I've seen them in 2x10's and other 2x4's, always driven into the corner. Why and what purpose are these. Maybe this is a sawyer question. Any ol'crew bosses here that might know the answer?
Anyone know a good sawyer fourm?
thanks.
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Last edited by wrenchguy on Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why is this small wedge driven into corner of 2x4?

Postby Sashguy on Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:55 pm

Looks as if there are no Sawyers on the forum, so here's my best shot. First off, 110 years? I'm in the walls of 110 year old homes on a daily basis, and these appear to be much older than anything that I deal with. It also appears to me to be worked by hand. Also note that the wood is so old and dense that whoever tried to drive the modern wire nails into them bent them over and basically gave up. That's my typical outcome when nailing 150 year plus wood unless I drill first Perhaps these are early salvage?

Insofar as the pegs, it would be my guess that they were placed to prevent warping. Note that picture 2 is warping a bit.
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Re: Why is this small wedge driven into corner of 2x4?

Postby wrenchguy on Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:39 am

"I'm in the walls of 110 year old homes on a daily basis, and these appear to be much older than anything that I deal with."
--research shows built 1904 by the plymouth cordage company, research also indicated that it was precut at the company carpenter shop and school.

"It also appears to me to be worked by hand."
--there is no indication of this,(except beams in basement) which surprised me until i got into the attic. the jacks and hips were machine cut with precision. i first thought this was a sears or wards precut home.

"Also note that the wood is so old and dense that whoever tried to drive the modern wire nails into them bent them over and basically gave up."
--what u see is original lath nail, not pulled but flattened over. its framed with eastern white pine, not hard.

Perhaps these are early salvage?
--yes, some of the wall studs show indication of being resawn. the wood beams in the basement are older barn or ship timbers.

"Insofar as the pegs, it would be my guess that they were placed to prevent warping. Note that picture 2 is warping a bit."
-- the peg isn't big enough to do that much. pic 2 shows some of the kraft paper insulation from the left bay giving this visual effect.

if ur interested, here are a couple other sites i have this question posted.
http://www.owwm.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=123455
http://www.papawswrench.com/vboard/inde ... ;topicseen

thanks 4 ur comments.
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Re: ANSWERED!!Why is this small wedge driven into corner of 2x4?

Postby Sombreuil_Mongrel on Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:29 pm

I have built a good number of houses, and you see this even in new lumber. I believe it happens during handling at the sawmill when logs and rough lumber are thrown about with abandon; large splinters force themselves into green lumber. Imagine if you fell bodily into a pile of huge slivers
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Re: ANSWERED!!Why is this small wedge driven into corner of 2x4?

Postby GothicHome on Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:19 pm

Well I too have been thinking on this. My thoughts are the stud was cut from the tree close to the hart wood. Making the growth rings tight. If the wood was cut before it was properly seasoned it would crack over time following the growth rigs. The framer just installed the stud as is with the crack in place. The lather came by later, found that large crack was making the stud spongy to hammer a nail into and just pounded in a wedge to fill the gap and provide for some back support for both his lath and the plaster. I also noticed two lines running parallel about 20 degrees off horizontal. It may at one time held a temporary brace for the wall during construction(not related). Now this may be over thinking it, it may just be a sliver from the mill as SombrEuil says. Or technology from ancient alien visitors we haven't figured out yet. I know this is possible, I watch late night tv. :D
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Re: ANSWERED!!Why is this small wedge driven into corner of 2x4?

Postby wrenchguy on Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:41 am

answer link to other forum i had it posted. Scroll up to Davids answer. http://lumberjocks.com/topics/43064
i asked him for more info.
thanks
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Re: ANSWERED!!Why is this small wedge driven into corner of 2x4?

Postby Sombreuil_Mongrel on Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:38 am

So David believes it is a "shake stop". Okay, for nomenclature: shake in this context is a defect in the lumber where thewood splits exactly between growth rings. It's a pretty seroius defect, because it is only revealing a problem of the makeup of the tree. Normally growth rings are bound tightly by the presence of the wood's own cellulostic "glue" which is why lumber doesn't fall apart in the first place. The shake ("wind shake" it's also called) means that some force was strong enough to break this bond. Unless it is controlled in some way that particular member has to be culled. I'm guessing the wedge, then, is intended to be driven into the split as a wooden nail to prevent this kind of split from spreading.
From the pictures, it does not appear so, because the wedge is driven in as to cause shake, not control it. I'm still puzzled.
Google images for shake defect:
http://www.google.com/search?q=wood+sha ... 80&bih=854
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Re: ANSWERED!!Why is this small wedge driven into corner of 2x4?

Postby Texas_Ranger on Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:41 pm

Wind shake is awful! We've got a window with a bottom rail that is falling apart due to this. I tried gluing it back together as a stopgap measure, but that didn't help at all. I've also seen floor boards that suffer from that problem - not nice to the feet!
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Re: ANSWERED!!Why is this small wedge driven into corner of 2x4?

Postby wrenchguy on Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:08 pm

this is what i got from david today.


Wrenchguy
This information came from several sources, all older men who worked in the late 1800’s & early 1900’s in the timber/balloon building era. Two from the Fall River/New Bedford MA area and one from Maine. They each had their own name for them, “SHAKES PIN”, SHAKES WEDGE, SHAKES STOP & Wedge Wicks”, They all said that this was a learned technic, passed on from master to apprentice. It was explained to me that these pins help stop faming from drying to fast. They were use more in the hot summer months when framing was exposed to the sun for weeks or months at a time. Remember that nearly all framing and sheeting lumber at the time was “green” usually delivered to the job site the some day it was cut from the log. In balloon construction, a 2×4 that is nailed to the bottom plate at the foundation is also nailed to the top plate at the roof line. Sometimes these 2X4’s can be over 20 feet long or longer, with better than 60% moisture, standing on end, in the sun to dry and already fasten to other wet lumber. Like you I have not found any written verification for this, just hearing this from the old-timers that worked in this era. Hope this is helpful.
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Re: ANSWERED!!Why is this small wedge driven into corner of 2x4?

Postby wrenchguy on Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:55 am

Heres what von posted today on lumberjocks. thanks.

yep, wedge wicks, as they are known to folks in my area. not at all common with today’s pre-dried lumber. I’ve seen them myself in many many many centennial aged buildings and construction. they were usually put in at 45’s on the corner to keep the hole they made (or used) from splitting the timber any farther. most wedges were sourced from the same board they were put into. probably from scrap cutoffs or such
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