Best way to dry lumber?

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Forum topic by Moose44 posted 06-20-2011 09:24 PM 2550 views 1 time favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 2531 days

06-20-2011 09:24 PM

Hey. I have Red Oak slabs and milled planks of Maple. I do not have a kiln. My goal is for it to dry so that I can make tables out of them. I know almost nothing about wood/wood working/... I am a novice and am starting now.

I have them in my basement now. It is cool and dry. Would it be better to put them outside? in the shed (it has a vent)? outside tarped? .....? I’m in western PA and it is a constant 70’s – 90’s with rain here and there.

Also, the slabs are around 8 inches thick. I plan on cutting them in half or thirds. Do you think it is best to do that now or wait till they are dried?

Approx. how long does it take wood to dry to the right moister content to work with?

If you guys could share your thoughts that would be great. Thank you.

-- Kevin. Pittsburgh, PA

3 replies so far

View Sarit's profile


549 posts in 3138 days

#1 posted 06-21-2011 01:15 AM

I believe the common wisdom is it takes 1 year per inch thickness of air drying. I would conservatively resaw it to the intended “rough size” and then air dry it as garyp said. For example, if my table top was gonna be 2” thick, then I would divide it into thirds. If the target was 3” then divide in half.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2957 days

#2 posted 06-21-2011 01:20 AM

There is a mile of info to answer your questions, much more than can be written here so easily. Nothing that technical, just a lot. First, do cut your thick slabs down as soon as possible; wood that thick takes a miracle to dry without cracking. Second, go to and click on the “knowledge base” tab; the incredible wealth of free info there will get you going. Be prepared for a few hours of reading. All the questions you now have, as well as those up and coming as you learn, will be answered there. I don’t mean to put you off, it’s just the best advice I can give you.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Moose44's profile


16 posts in 2531 days

#3 posted 06-21-2011 06:46 AM

No worries. Thanks for the advice and website. That is very helpful.

-- Kevin. Pittsburgh, PA

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