I have dozens of old pine barn timbers that I would like to make into flooring boards. Since all of them are either 4×4 or 4×6 size, it looks like i will have to just flatsaw to get the widest boards possible (I wanted the “plank flooring” look, but 6″ boards are the best i can do with what i have). It looks like each timber was cut from a single (relatively small) tree, as even the 4×4 timbers have the heartwood centers. I have my own portable sawmill, but am new to the milling operations. I am concerned with two things- 1) curling of the boards and 2) seasonal shrinkage of installed flooring.
As for curling- Since these are old, dry timbers, can I assume that the boards will not curl after I cut them, regardless of the grain orientation? Can I install them right away?
As for shrinkage- I have read that dimensional changes will be greatest where it is tangential to the grain, which means most of my boards (flatsawn through the heartwood) would be a ‘worse case scenario”…am I asking for trouble here?