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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 10-03-2016 06:45 PM 462 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


10-03-2016 06:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Going by a fellow’s place on Thursday. He has a lot of air-dried cherry, and some elm and oak, all at good prices. At least some of the cherry needs to be dried some more.

Any tips on what to look for?

After going to a workshop at WIA, I think I understand a bit more about air-dried wood and its advantages and disadvantages, but I’m open to any wisdom you might have.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson


17 replies so far

View gargey's profile

gargey

457 posts in 236 days


#1 posted 10-03-2016 06:48 PM


Any tips on what to look for?

Probably keep your eyes peeled for kind of brownish, long rectangles one or two inches high. That’s probably the wood.

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


#2 posted 10-03-2016 06:58 PM

Ba-da-bump.

How about: “Any tips on what I should be aware of?”

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Richard's profile

Richard

1898 posts in 2151 days


#3 posted 10-03-2016 06:58 PM

I think my main thing would be to check for cracks and splits and any warping or twisting that might make it to thin to use after planning it down.

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

288 posts in 209 days


#4 posted 10-03-2016 07:11 PM

I’d make sure the rough planks were at least a full inch thick, so there’ll be at least 3/4 inch left after milling for use.

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

1470 posts in 2098 days


#5 posted 10-03-2016 07:14 PM

beetles

Most of the lumber I have is air-dried. I have run across some worm/beetle damage. One board of walnut I think had live ones in it. In cherry, I have seen holes, but no sign of active infestation. Some folks are really afraid of beetles, probably for good reason, but I’ve never seen anything out of control, just a hole here and there.

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


#6 posted 10-03-2016 07:19 PM

Thanks, all. the main reason I’m interested is price (quite good) and width of boards, 8-10”. Most are in the 6’ range.

If I need to continue drying them, I’ll need to sticker, correct?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View DirtyMike's profile

DirtyMike

449 posts in 362 days


#7 posted 10-03-2016 08:11 PM

cherry and elm are bad to twist when drying so stickering with weight a top is recommended. As for oak i hate the stuff in so many ways.

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


#8 posted 10-03-2016 08:26 PM

i would only buy Oak if it were extraordinary in some way I’ve never used Elm and am not particularly interested, but I’ll see if they have any interesting boards. I use tons of cherry. Supposedly they have a lot with interesting figure.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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sawdustdad

131 posts in 345 days


#9 posted 10-03-2016 08:42 PM

Most of what I use is air dried. My last purchase was about 2000 bf of mixed cherry and walnut. It was green and I stickered and dried it myself. Figure 2 yrs/inch (most claim 1 yr/in but depends on where you are). Then move into your shop for a few months to reach equilibrium. In my climate controlled shop, lumber stabilizes at 6-10%.

Looking at the wood, when rough cut, you will have difficulty judging the quality—knots, and blemishes, etc, don’t jump out like they do in surfaced lumber, so inspect the boards if you can. If they have been partially dried, they should have been stickered after being cut. Take your moisture meter with you. I don’t bring boards into the shop until they reach 10-12% which is equilibrium for my area—central Virginia.

When working with air dried lumber, allow a bit more for wood movement in carcase construction. I see 3/16 expansion and contraction (3/32 nds each way) in a 20 inch solid wood carcase side or table top. Once brought into a heated home, you’ll see that amount of shrinkage the first winter. (of course quarter sawn will be less affected, about half or a third as much contraction).

You will love working with air dried lumber. Walnut retains all kinds of color variations—from purplish to greenish or olive streaks, which you seldom see in steam kiln lumber. Cherry works wonderfully and smells so good, I think air dried cherry is so much nicer than kiln dried. It smells like candy when cut!

Good luck with the purchase. My only advice is buy two or three times as much as you think you will need. It never goes bad and the longer you keep it, the better it gets. I have boards that are 25 years old, at least. Maybe 35 years. Most of my current stash is about 10 years old. I buy it and don’t plan to use it for 5 years or more.

Oh. one more thing, try to buy some 8/4, 12/4 and 16/4 lumber if he has any. It will take a while for it to dry, but you’ll want some of the same lumber run when you go to build something that requires a leg or turning.

If you look at my projects, virtually everything is from air dried lumber (some from trees I felled myself) with the exception of some plywood and the mahogany projects.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Any board cut to length has a 50% probability of being too short.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4853 posts in 2273 days


#10 posted 10-04-2016 01:28 AM

Stand on the stack of lumber. If it is decent lumber, it will feel steady under your feet. If it is badly warped it will feel like you are in a rowboat. That is the quickest way I have found to assess a large stack of lumber.
Is it nicely stacked and stickered? Ends sealed? If the ends aren’t sealed look for end cracks extending well into the lumber.

I am wary of buying cherry, especially if it is 4/4. It is prone to warping and twisting so badly that it is unusable.
I have had better luck with 5/4.

Feel the lumber, does it feel cold or damp? Use a moisture meter if you have one. Cut a few inches off the end and take a core M.C. reading.

Don’t worry too much about sticker stain, that will disappear once you mill it.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View joey502's profile

joey502

487 posts in 978 days


#11 posted 10-04-2016 01:35 AM

Charles

Is the seller in louisville? I may be interested in some lumber if there is too much for you.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


#12 posted 10-04-2016 02:01 AM


Charles

Is the seller in louisville? I may be interested in some lumber if there is too much for you.

- joey502

Fort Wayne. I have to go to northern Indiana this week so I checked Craigslist up that way. I’ll send you the link. Let me know if you’re interested, maybe we can work something out.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3018 posts in 1258 days


#13 posted 10-04-2016 02:12 AM

Willie, I wouldn’t have thought of standing on it. Thanks for the tips. Btw, I went to a Marc Adams session at WIA, and he was adamant that you get much better drying by leaving the ends alone—no sealing.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1571 posts in 1936 days


#14 posted 10-04-2016 12:02 PM

I air dry a lot of wood. Look at the stack foundations. They should be level. The stickers should all line up on the foundation supports. If the foundation is not flat and level, the lumber won’t be either. Also, look for powderpost beetle frass (sawdust) on the oak and in the sapwood of the cherry and walnut. Look for little piles of very powdery sawdust on the boards.

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

View sawdustdad's profile

sawdustdad

131 posts in 345 days


#15 posted 10-04-2016 12:28 PM

Danny, that’s a heck of a nice drying shed. Almost pulled the trigger on a Wood-mizer about 10 years ago.

Charles—Let us know what you wind up getting. Sometimes when buying lumber this way, you’ll stumble on some nicely figured wood (I found a bunch of curly cherry one time) that you’d never see in the retail lumber bin—or at least not at standard prices.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Any board cut to length has a 50% probability of being too short.

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