Mold on Drying 4/4 Oak

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Forum topic by GLENNpm posted 01-11-2019 09:25 AM 441 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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24 posts in 37 days

01-11-2019 09:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: help drying wood mold mildew lumber storage oak

Hi all! Long story short, I’m drying green wood for the first time. It’s been in my garage for about a month and with the holidays, I just got around to restacking it in a better location. I stickered it right away and 2 weeks later put a box fan on low from about 6 feet away. This is how it’s been stored until last night (I know stickers should be every 12-18 inches – this was supposed to be more temporary than it way – life happens and all that).

This is what I found when I restacked it tonight. There’s a lot more green and white mold(?) like that throughout.

I’ve never dried my own wood, so I’m not sure what to do about all this mold. Is it salvageable? What do I do with it now? I now have it stacked on the other side of the garage with the same stickers, but about 2 inches horizontal gap between each board. It’s now only have it 4 boards wide, but taller now. This is also temporary as I needed to give my wife her parking spot back. I’m building a wide storage rack above my cabinets that will only be about 2 feet below the ceiling. Here’s a CAD mock-up to give you an idea of what I’m dealing with.

The bottom of the white border/ring around the top represents my ceiling. There’s not much vertical room up there, but should be wide enough to hold everything. The original plan was to dry it there – up and out of the way. But I’m afraid there will be even less air circulation up there and fans may only blow moisture up against the wall and ceiling.

I now have the fan on high and have cracked the bottom of the garage door and may open a window a little bit when I’m not in there working (I’d freeze my butt off). I also have it off the ground a bit further on some cinder blocks. Should I keep it like this until it dries? It’s very much in the way of my already limited shop area, but I really don’t want to see it ruined. Or is it too late and already ruined? Should it be treated with anything? One other idea I had was mentioned to me in my previous post. Doing a rudimentary kiln dry with some tarps and a dehumidifier right where it is in the garage (with the drain hose going outside, of course).

I’m probably more green than this oak I’m trying to dry. So, any experienced wisdom and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

-- Never stop learning.

9 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


2531 posts in 2375 days

#1 posted 01-11-2019 11:18 AM

If scan this chapter will give you insight why mold & mildew forms on lumber.

Might just take little elbo grease with chlorine bleach to remove what you have there before restacking at new location. If not to deep might be able to mill off any remainder.

Drying rack pictured should work well if sticer your lumber.

-- Bill

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 2682 days

#2 posted 01-11-2019 11:58 AM

Humidity too high and air movement too low caused the mold. It is salvageable if the conditions are corrected.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View fuigb's profile (online now)


542 posts in 3198 days

#3 posted 01-11-2019 12:07 PM

Yes to the remarks re: beach for the save and the fan for prevention. Crank that fan! Better yet, reference comments re: DIY drying kilns in your initial thread on the subject of your windfall. Kilns take work and space but the results are superior to air-drying.

One other thing: put weight on your stack or you risk having a twisted and cupped produt.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View avsmusic1's profile


300 posts in 925 days

#4 posted 01-11-2019 10:05 PM

is the mold worst where boards were making direct constant contact with the sheet on top? I’m betting a lot of the mold is cause the first 2 weeks it wasn’t getting air circulation. Oak starts crazy wet in my experience and is slow to give it up. My garage was swampy even with a fan for the better part of 3 wks the last time I put freshly sawn WO in it. While you don’t want to rush it cause you’ll get surface checking, once you clean these up air circulation by itself this time or year should be fool proof (read: no heat or dehumidifier). Then just check them more regularly. I use an $8 timer and run the fan on high during the day and let them rest for 8hrs at night – prob overcomplicating it there though lol.

View ArtMann's profile


1220 posts in 1056 days

#5 posted 01-11-2019 10:16 PM

On the other hand . . .

Several years ago, I bought some spalted red oak from a guy and made a DVD rack for my daughter with it. The spalted material was used with some quarter sawn white oak for contrast. The project turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself.

View tomsteve's profile


897 posts in 1459 days

#6 posted 01-11-2019 11:03 PM

how much of the stack had mold? was it the bottom layer only? its wise- when stacking on concrete- to lay some plastic on the floor before stacking.

View GLENNpm's profile


24 posts in 37 days

#7 posted 01-13-2019 12:44 PM

Thanks again for the advice, everyone! Once again the Lumber Jocks are swooping in to save the day.

@Wildwood – Thank you for the reference material. Check out the stickers I made in my first forum post and let me know if you think those will work. I was concerned with warping and sticker stain. So, I planned them all to the same thickness and cut the grove to help airflow and reduce touching surfaces. I think that’s all good, but wonder the thickness planning cut them down to only 1/2”. Is that enough for proper air flow? I’m hoping to make it enough by including fans and spacing each column a few inches apart.

@Randy_ATX – Right. I didn’t realize it would happen so quickly and though I had enough air flow. Apparently not. I’ve cranked up the fan, added a second one and opened my garage door a couple inches to hopefully help with all that. I’m hoping it’s not too late. I think it will be OK from the feedback I’m getting.

@fuigb - First thing I did, my friend! This is putting me in gear to just do that kiln. I just ordered the stuff to do it this week. By the way, I did seal my ends a while back. Not with anything recommended, but I had some oil based Kilz primer that I’m hoping works better than nothing. So far so good. I’ve got some weight on it as well.

@avsmusic1 - The very top boards that contacted the plywood weren’t molded, surprisingly. But the plywood is, unfortunately. The top middle to top part of the stack seemed to be hit the worst. How much WO did you have in your garage and how did you stack it? did you leave your door or window(s) open? I’m wondering if the lack of fresh air hurt me. The fan might just be moving around wet air.

@ArtMann - Yeah, I’m not so worried about the effects of the mold on the wood aesthetics since my main project for this stuff is for a new large benchtop. I’d like it to look nice, but not necessary. I’m mainly concerned with it being compromised and unusable. Also, I’d like to learn how to do this correctly, so I don’t have these issues again in the future. I plan on doing this a lot more over the course of my life and after this round, I’m going to care about the aesthetics a lot more.

@tomsteve - It’s tough to say. Certainly less than half. The ones affected were pretty bad, but there were several that didn’t have anything on them. But just because I couldn’t see it (yet) doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The boards most visibly affected by the mold were sort of hit or miss. The bottom actually seemed to have less mold if anything. I’m guessing that’s because my box fan was on the floor, giving them better airflow. I’ll definitely lay down some plastic when I restack again this week! I’m assuming that generic Harbor freight blue tarp is good enough or do I need something special?

@everyone -
To wrap things up, here’s what I’m getting from you all and my internet research:
I’m thinking on my next break from work, I’ll scrub the mold off with either alcohol, vinegar, or maybe a bleach-detergent solution (apparently, bleach alone can’t penetrate the pores to completely kill off the mold). I went ahead and ordered a small dehumidifier and moisture meter that should get to me on Tuesday. I’m thinking I’m going to try the simple dry kiln under a sealed tarp with the dehumidifier (and maybe a space heater) someone mentioned to me recently. I’ll closely monitor and do some more research on what settings to use to keep from drying too quickly. In the meantime, I now have 2 fans on high blowing on the stack from about 8 feet away with my garage door cracked open a couple inches. I’m wondering if one of my problems was having the door closed. I had some air movement with the fan before, but no regular source of fresh air to replace the increasingly humid air in the garage.

Thanks a lot for the help again. Hopefully, this will get me on my way to posting projects on here soon instead of just a bunch of questions! Of course, any further input or advice on my plans is always appreciated.

-- Never stop learning.

View Panhandler80's profile


9 posts in 9 days

#8 posted 01-13-2019 02:00 PM

Boy, I’ve got a lot to learn.

If any of you all want some fishing / hunting / banking / HR / insurance / boat / mediocre legal tips please give me a shout. Otherwise I have very little to contribute here.

View Wildwood's profile


2531 posts in 2375 days

#9 posted 01-14-2019 04:39 PM

As long as stickers even thickness and space adequately don’t see a problem. Most references call for sticker thickness of 3/4” to 1” many people just use 1×2’s cannot remember how thick they are.

I have used regular Clorox household bleach on wood to remove mildew and mold on raw wood using one cup of bleach to gallon of water. Let set for awhile and then dried with paper towels. Some directions call for neutralizing with water & baking soda solution but didn’t do that.

Think trying plain old Clorox & cold water what your looking for to remove mildew & mold. If any mold or mildew remain either sand or plan rest off.

There are three different methods to bleach wood for different purposes think for removing mildew & mold Clorox simplest, Oxalic acid and Two part wood bleach & baking soda rinse or vinegar to neutralize will also remove mildew and stains but pretty sure folks looking to lighten color of wood. Just follow directions for last two methods.

-- Bill

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