planning treated boards

Keye

Keye
Corporate Member
I need two 1"x6"x6' treated boards planned to 1/2". Will the treated boards damage my planner blades?
 

FredP

Fred
Corporate Member
It shouldn't effect the blades however it may affect the feed rollers. I once ran some stock that came from a telephone pole and it literally ate the feed rollers on a delta lunch box planer. The machine was new fresh out of the box. Different chemicals though. May or may not be a problem.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
The old formula used arsenic which is poison to humans. I would not plane that.


3. There are three types of pressure-treated wood: borate, alkaline copper quaternary, and noncombustible.

Not only is pressure-treated wood different from typical lumber, but it also comes in different types. They break down into three categories:

  • Borate products are pressure treated with water-based mineral salt solutions. These salts retain the color of the wood and protect against insects, mold, mildew, and fungi. But constantly wet conditions can wash the treatment out of the wood, which isn’t good for the wood or the surrounding environment.
  • Alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) wood is treated with an environmentally friendly solution containing copper and ammonium alkyl. It’s effective and safe but shouldn’t come in contact with food or animal feed. Also, it does tend to change the color of the wood.
  • Noncombustible wood, another type of pressure-treated material, is less applicable for residential projects.
The Alkaline Copper Quaternary is most likely what you will have for any of the box stores.
It shouldn't hurt your planer, but I would clean well after using.
Wear a face mask at least N95, even though the wood is supposed to be safe you don't want that stuff in your lungs.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
Big box store treated lumber will plane fine. (Its about all ACQ now). As with any pine, you may have to clean the rollers more frequently. I have done it numerous times. Let the wood thoroughly dry first (a week or two minimum with the boards on end/edge or stickered to provide air flow on all sides). When wet or damp, the wood tears instead of cuts, and the fibers make a mess of your equipment as well as the surface will have tear-outs.

Creosote treated boards are different, and I would be leery of the health issues as well as destroying the rubber on the rollers. Can be really tough on blades, also.
 

Oka

Board of Directors, Vice President
Casey
Staff member
Corporate Member
As always wear a respirator and other PPE.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I think the old CCA treated wood got a bad rap from a real icky sounding word: "arsenate" Back in the day I asked a salesman of CCA wood about this. He shook his head and responded that there were two kinds of arsenic: Monovalent and Pentavalent (IIRC). One type is the type the wife puts in her husband's food for the last so many years. The other is the type they use in CCA that is naturally occurring in shrimp. He added that you would get more arsenic from eating a shrimp dinner from Long John Silvers than you would from eating a CCA 2x4.
Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but he seemed to know what he was talking about. I remember him saying that it was the chromium or copper that could cause problems when the wood was burned.

Back in the day I built a lot of things from CCA treated wood, treating it no different than regular framing lumber I'd use for raw material. So did most other woodworkers and woodworking shops that I knew of. It wasn't use a lot because of the trashy grade of lumber and not because of any dire chemical threat. I suspect the same is true of today's pressure treated lumber except the grades of lumber may have gotten worse.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member
Only problem is most of it is 99% moisture content. Basically, waterlogged. To get it dry enough to make anything out of takes a long time. I woudl sticker it for 3 or 4 months before I thought about working it.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Only problem is most of it is 99% moisture content. Basically, waterlogged. To get it dry enough to make anything out of takes a long time. I woudl sticker it for 3 or 4 months before I thought about working it.
That's an excellent observation if you're using new wood from the big box stores. There used to be sellers of specialty treated lumber that was dried to 15% after treatment but even then 15% is a bit wet if the project is out of the weather.
I used to go by the lumber yards and big box stores and choose the best sticks in the framing lumber sizes I wanted and I did just that about letting them dry for several months. Usually I could get 1-1/4" to 1-1/8" thickness of fairly stable stock.

If you want your 1/2" to be fairly stable, maybe dress to 1" and let it dry some so the twisting and warping could be straightened out by face jointing.
 

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