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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 872 days ago 1543 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RussellAP

2938 posts in 883 days


872 days ago

I’m planning to get some fresh wood, oak and walnut. After I haul it to the mill to have it ripped into the sizes I need for my projects, I’ll need to dry it. Most of the wood will be used for benches that will remain outside.

My questions are:

1. Most of the wood planks will measure 3”x4’x14-16” and some will simply be 14 or 16 inch logs quartered. With summer coming on and the associated heat at 90 – 100 degrees, how long do you figure it would take to dry the wood?

2. Are there plans on this site or elsewhere to build a solar kiln?

I’d use my attic, but getting them up there would be rather difficult considering their size.

I just saw this video and I think I’ll try it with a small amount of lumber. Stack it in the garage, sticker it well, coat the ends and put a couple fans on it. My garage doors are open a lot when I’m working there, so check out this vid and tell me what your thoughts are.
http://www.finewoodworking.com/Materials/MaterialsArticle.aspx?id=29500

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.


6 replies so far

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richgreer

4522 posts in 1671 days


#1 posted 871 days ago

I don’t think I am any smarter than others or have any particular insight – but this is what I am doing in a similar situation.

I have several walnut planks that I acquired about 2 years ago. (I actually helped cut down the tree and we had a portable mill come to the site.) They are 3” thick, 12- 14” wide and about 6’ long. We have a 2 story screen room on the back of our house and I use the lower level for some wood storage. I have stacked these planks in the lower level with spacers between each plank. They are not rained on and they get no direct sunlight. They get reasonably good air flow.

Some 1” thick stock from the same tree has already dried enough to be used. I’m expecting this 3” stock to be ready between 3-4 years after cutting (1 to 2 years to go}.

In theory, I could use a moisture meter to check moisture content, but I don’t think they will be very reliable on stock this thick. They won’t tell me the moisture content in the center of the wood. I’ll rely on my own intuition and, if I err, I hope to err on the conservative side. The “rule of thumb” I have heard is 1 year plus 1 year for each inch. However, this wood was harvested in the winter when the moisture content should have been seasonably low.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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RussellAP

2938 posts in 883 days


#2 posted 871 days ago

I’ve been put in touch with a man several miles away with some walnut for sale. He also will cut my wood and dry it for me for about the same price as this other outfit. I’m meeting with him Sunday morning. I just don’t think I have enough room to dry my own wood, plus if I rip a good size oak, I don’t think I really need to dry it, if it’s hefty enough it should be just fine for outdoor benches.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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WDHLT15

1065 posts in 1072 days


#3 posted 871 days ago

If you try to dry the oak inside or put it in the attic, you will ruin it. It will split, check, and honeycomb. Oak has to dry slowly, and thick oak has to dry very slowly. Best to leave it outside undercover to keep the rain off in a place where there is natural air flow like an open shed.

Since you are making benches, I believe that you have some flexibility since you do not have to dry the wood to 8% moisture. It will take a long time to dry the 3” thick pieces.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

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RussellAP

2938 posts in 883 days


#4 posted 871 days ago

WDHLT15. I have found a guy that will sell me some he has dried himself. You can’t get 8% without kiln drying at some point, you can only air dry to ambient humidity levels, which this summer would be high. Winter would be better. I plan to just use green wood for the benches anyway, they will be so thick I don’t think they would warp that much anyway. Checking is considered part of the art of the style I plan to make so no issue there.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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reberly

151 posts in 1285 days


#5 posted 871 days ago

Hi Russell,
I have been milling and drying lumber for a decade or two. It is so much more complicated than I want to admit. I have 4 kilns and I also dried lumber in my home log ago. Since I don’t want the risk of bringing insects or fungus into my home I no longer take the risk of drying lumber in anything but a kiln. I have to finish the lumber by cooking it at 130 degrees for 24 hours to be sure it is safe. As for the stabalizing of wood, woodweb is a good site for solar kiln designs and moisture drying rates.
Rich

-- "Big Timber is our Legacy" , http://eberlywoods.com

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RussellAP

2938 posts in 883 days


#6 posted 871 days ago

reberly, I’m afraid building a kiln would not be possible in my neighborhood. Air drying was my only option, but thankfully I found a man several miles away who does mill and dry and his price is about 3.15 a board foot for walnut. He has cedar as well. I’ll meet with him tomorrow and see what he’s got.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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