Timber framers work with green oak because it can be sawn and chiseled easily. Dry oak is merciless and will blunt your edged tools as if you were cutting through metal.
The down side of using wood with a high moisture content is that as it dries it shrinks. Not only does it shrink, but it shrinks in different directions – tangentially (lots), radially (quite a lot) and longitudinally (barely at all). What all this technical stuff means in lay terms is that timbers will invariably develop big splits or shakes, and in addition will twist and cup to varying degrees.
It’s an important part of the framer’s job to be aware of likely movement and shrinkage so that the timbers can be selected and oriented appropriately. In this way the structural integrity of the frame is maintained.
The cracks can sometimes look alarming as they appear, but rest assured, they will settle down, and one of the many extraordinary properties of oak is that as it gets older it gets harder.
If you're considering an oak framed building (or larch, or douglas fir), let's talk. We'll gladly put together an outline quote (completely free, with no strings attached). And we need very little information from you to do so.
Equally, we're always here, at the end of the phone, to talk through your ideas.