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found wood #9: kiln-dried Douglas fir stickers

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 06-22-2009 03:37 AM 5001 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Largest Eucalyptus log - I knew it was over 200lbs! Part 9 of found wood series Part 10: Full, fallen Jacaranda mimosifolia tree - wish me luck! »

As a home hobbyist in a big city, not working as much in BF as in “oh look, a log!” I decided to keep things simple on myself and go with KD DF for stickering my slabs. I have a bunch of really old, really dry stuff, and in fact tried to build some finger-jointed frames for another project I’d like to post about someday, but dropping one only a foot to the ground caused all 4 corners to shatter. It’s that dry. I figure that means it’ll be fairly inert, though who knows what the moisture in the slabs will reactivate. Only one way to find out!

Here’s a video I edited together of how I spit out a bunch of 1”×1”×9” stickers on my band saw. I used the table pin as a stop for the right edge of the fence, which it turns out sets it to about exactly an inch away, and the table edge itself for cross cuts, which is about exactly 9” from the blade. With all of this built into the machine, it’s all super repeatable later, with no thought or set up times. That’ll encourage me to make more stickers any old time I have a minute, and I’m going to need a lot more,

stickered slabs and new Douglas fir stickers

This is what I’ve been wanting to avoid. See all the mismatched 2×2s, plywood scraps, poplar pieces, and whatever else I had lying in piles being used here as stickers? The new pile on the front of the saw is the big stack of new, uniform, glue-free, totally dry stickers, ready to go.

Btw, these are European olive (Olea europaea) at back left, Indian laurel fig, AKA Green Bay laurel, AKA Cuban laurel, AKA Chinese banyan (Ficus microcarpa “nitida”) in the center, and a little log of Australian cheesewood, AKA Victorian box (Pittosporum undulatum) in the front left. The stickers, of course, are kiln-dried Douglas fir, and maybe some ancient pine.

logs stickered improperly, with new, proper stickers waiting to go

I watched for screws, and found 1, and staples, and found many in the ends where the price stickers were stapled in, and got all of them out as I went. Here are the crappy, hole-ridden or finger-jointed ends from a bunch on the band saw table, and on the floor behind it.

scraps of wood on band saw

And here’s all the new scrap I made cutting all the 2×2 scraps down to 1×1. As 2×2 in the US really means 1.5×1.5, and the saw kerf is about 1/16”, these are all in the 7/16” thick range. Firewood, I’m guessing. Check out my right shoe, only a few hours before it got covered in Anchorseal. Oh, now I’ve made myself sad again.

leftovers from cutting 2x2s to 1x1s

This is what I’ve been wanting to see – my log racks filling up with stacked and stickered lumber. It’s even less room than I’d hoped, unfortunately.

stacked and stickered wood

I can put about 6 of these setups in one section (of 4 shelves), on one shelf. That means roughly 24 logs per section, with 2 sections currently open, or 48 logs total. The bottom shelf is the tallest, probably good for the thicker logs, and they get smaller going up, so these won’t fit on the next shelf up, nor the top one. Not a whole lot of room!

sticked slabs in my wood storage shelving

Of course, I won’t slab everything. I’m going to be making pen, bottle stopper, dish, bowl, and other size turning blanks. I think I’m going to end up with some tall stacks out on the patio, though I’ll need to set up to block the rain, and to guard against earthquakes with something to stabilize them from above. For now, I can slab nearly 50 logs, which is a good start.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator



8 comments so far

View lew's profile

lew

10027 posts in 2407 days


#1 posted 06-22-2009 04:01 AM

Gary,

Here in south central PA there are lots of sawers. Everyone I have visited uses 3/4” thick stickers for all of their air drying. Might save you a little room in your new drying shed.

Lew

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1000 posts in 2033 days


#2 posted 06-22-2009 04:20 AM

Very interesting, Lew. That would also open up non-2-by material. I have an awful lot of 3/4” poplar lying around, and it’s pretty bone dry, too.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View lew's profile

lew

10027 posts in 2407 days


#3 posted 06-22-2009 04:50 AM

These stickers must be around the saw mills forever. I was at one place and they were just piled up- out in the open. Some of the stickers looked like they were many years old- all worn, ragged and weather aged. The sawers don’t seem to be too concerned about them. I guess as long as they are all the same thickness and long enough to reach thru a layer of wood…

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 2000 days


#4 posted 06-22-2009 07:09 AM

From USDA Forest Service Pg 44
Sticker Size
For piling hardwoods, the stickers are usually made from 1-in. thick lumber, either rough or dressed to about 0.75 in., and from 1 to 2 in. wide, usually 1.25 in. wide. For piling softwoods, the 1-in. thick stickers are generally wider, as much as 4 in. Sticker length is determined by the width of the package or pile being constructed. ..... All stickers should be of uniform thickness to minimize warping. Miscut lumber from which stickers are being ripped should be surfaced on one or both sides prior to ripping in order to produce stickers of uniform thickness.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 2000 days


#5 posted 06-22-2009 07:23 AM

also….
Gary are you concerned about warping? Typically the weight of the lumber in the stack acts to resist the tendency for the boards to warp/cup as they dry. I have also seen examples of homemade stacks (where the stack is small) use concrete blocks on top of the stack to resist warping. Given the size of the pieces you are drying I am not sure what the solution is but I believe warping could be a problem given the growth rings and the thinness of the planks in your photos

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1000 posts in 2033 days


#6 posted 06-22-2009 11:03 AM

Thanks for the info, jlsmith. I am concerned about the warping, actually. Olive warps pretty badly, and checks terribly. I’ve not seen wood check as badly yet. 9” logs would open up with 3/4” splits in multiple places along the entire logs, and rounds from small logs in the 4” range would split and open sometimes a full inch, like Pac Man.

I’ve read extensively on the drying process, and have come across the idea of weight holding them flat, putting the heaviest timbers on top, the cinder block method, and even wrapping straps around the stickered areas to pull them down tightly, but there’s not really any room in my racks for it. I’ve been thinking of making some kind of wedge system where I could put 2 more stickers on top, then wedge something in against the bottom of the next shelf up. I’m not sure at such short lengths it will make much difference, though.

One thing to know about what I’m doing is that I’m not a professional, nor making much at all for money. I’m very much a hobbyist, learning by discovery. I’m playing, really, and such, not looking at any particular slabs with future ideas in mind. I’m more a ‘take things as they come’ kinda guy, so if something warps, I’ll cut it in half to get rid of most of the cupping, then plane each half down to flat, and just make a project with the smaller pieces instead. That’s no excuse for shoddy processes, though, so I’ll still keep thinking about it. I think I’m going to move to 3/4” stickers to give me more room – perhaps enough to stick some of those 2” thick rectangular pavers on top.

Edit: Another thing… I was actually planning to quarter saw some things soon, which should help avoid that, though the slabs will be much smaller.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Elaine's profile

Elaine

113 posts in 2275 days


#7 posted 06-22-2009 07:28 PM

Gary, At the lumber yard I used to work at we used 1×2’s When they broke we used them to keep warm, or sold them for tomato stakes. some woods will stain on others so you have to be careful with the stickers. The thing we had to be most careful about was to put the stickers at the same location and to ensure the ends were stickered as well. The process went something like this – lumber would come in and run through the green line which was then measured and graded, stickers between the layers, marked and out to the yard for a few weeks of drying. The bundles then went into the kilns, came out and went into the covered bays. When the order came in, the bundles were put on another machine, stickers taken off, regraded and banded tight.

There is a knot that you can use with string that can keep wood tight. It’s like an emergency quick knot for horses, if you want to release you just pull one end. If you want it locked tight, you simply circle the shortest end around the half bow.

I also have a friend that uses long carriage bolts with oak on top and bottom. He tightens them down to keep his boards straight with stickers between layers. Rotates the boards every month or so.

I just had my cedar tree taken down three months ago, stickered with heavy boards on top and then the “junk” on top of that.

View jlsmith5963's profile

jlsmith5963

297 posts in 2000 days


#8 posted 06-24-2009 10:37 PM

Gary- I have picked up on the notion that this was all part of a (grand) ‘experiment’ on your part. I just thought I would raise the issue to make sure you had considered it. It would be painful to read a year from now how disappointed you were with all the boards that had turned into half cylinders. So, carry on my friend. Oh and before you go loading up that new truck again get a back support Back Support Belts will ya.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

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