Drying 2" x 28" x 8' Sycamore Slabs

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Forum topic by Woodworm24 posted 09-11-2015 02:02 PM 1258 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1003 days

09-11-2015 02:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: drying hardwoods question

New to posting on this site, so hello to all. Have really enjoyed the topics and displays of great creations.

Have a Question about drying. I know, another drying question. Though it is being asked after doing some reading in other places on the web and wanted to run some specifics past you folks here since you guys seem to know what you’re doing when it comes to working with wood.

Came up with two really nice Sycamore slabs after 4” x 20” x 8’ slab was milled into 2 2” thick slabs. They were set out in the sun for a little over a week by the seller (ouch). The log was milled about 10 days ago.

The face of the 4” slab prior to milling that was exposed to the sun is already discolored (browned) while the other three faces are fine.

Have a good place set up to air dry these really beautiful boards – level, equal ventilation, cover, and with Autumn, approaching here in the south, there will be moderate temps to get them started drying here at my home.

Have the latex ready to put on the ends, and read in one article that a light spray of water based clear coating will further help keep checking and splitting under control. This application will (obviously) slow down the drying process, but I’m in no hurry for the boards to dry.

Has anyone here ever tried this method (spray clear coating) of check/split control? If so what kind of results did you get?

Also recently read that planing freshly milled boards will help reduce checking and splitting because rough board surfaces “wick” moisture faster (?) I do have access to a 20 inch planer, so that would not be a problem. Thought it might be a good idea to plane the exposed surface anyway(?).

New to drying fresh cut wood, and I understand that sycamore falls into a category of difficult. Appreciate the feedback of those more experienced at drying fresh cut slabs.

2 replies so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2684 days

#1 posted 09-12-2015 12:31 AM

Anchorseal is far superior to seal the end grain as opposed to Latex paint.

I would NOT plane before drying (don’t worry about the discoloration). I would pass on the clear coat as checking/splitting should not be a big problem.

If this sycamore is flat sawn (vs quarter sawn), it will have a tendency to warp, cup, and twist as it dries. Stack and sticker it with stickers every 12 inches and put some serious weight on the top of the stack.

Hope for the best. Sycamore is beautiful but not real user friendly when it comes to drying.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View WDHLT15's profile


1741 posts in 2469 days

#2 posted 09-12-2015 12:55 AM

One of the most difficult woods to dry because of spiral grain. gfadvm’s advice is spot on. Keep them under cover out of the elements where there is good air flow like an open sided shed. If the boards are flat sawn…....good luck. Here is a stack of mostly quartersawn sycamore that has the top layer and one board on the left in the second layer that are flat sawn.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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