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Forum topic by tyskkvinna posted 06-11-2012 02:33 AM 1423 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1310 posts in 2982 days

06-11-2012 02:33 AM

Topic tags/keywords: drying milling

I recently got a bunch of logs—Mulberry, Ash, Hickory, Cherry, Elm and maybe Sycamore. The logs are all relatively short (about 2”) and vary between 6” and 14” dia. A lot of them I will be using for turning, but I want to make a bunch of boards too.

I milled a couple of them this weekend and it was not too bad! But I am looking for advice. I have no particular plans for this wood.. I just think it would be nice to turn into some flat projects, eventually.

How thick should I mill them? The ones I did already I did 5/4, 4/4 or so. This is a lot thicker than I think I will actually use, but I’m preparing myself for warping/cupping/etc. I think if I make them thinner I will end up with not much usable lumber later. Is that a correct general assumption?

I’m also thinking it would be best to keep them a little thicker and then later resaw them down if they do in fact handle just fine.

If it matters, right now they are air drying and I plan this week to build a little (for varying values of “little”) kiln.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

7 replies so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20476 posts in 3102 days

#1 posted 06-11-2012 02:46 AM

Hi Lis.I think that thinner that 4/4 could make them be pretty thin as finished if they warp. I’d make them mostly 1 3/4” thick so they could finish up to be resawed to 3/4” at a later date or used as thicker ones. It depends on what you plan to use them for on flat work. The ends will probably check in 1” at least…................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29224 posts in 2334 days

#2 posted 06-11-2012 04:18 AM

For my slabs, I cut everything 2” for benches, tables, beds, etc.. if I plan to use it for boxes or other crafts I cut it at 1”. Suggestion only.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View greg48's profile


601 posts in 2754 days

#3 posted 06-11-2012 04:24 AM

Your on track with the idea of oversizing your green cuts to account for waste during the seasoning stage. I’m also with Jim in suggesting that you cut larger dimensions with the idea of re-sawing after they have seasoned. I might also suggest that you let them season in the “yard”, well stickered for ventilation and in partial or full shade if you are in a dry climate. Also paint the ends with latex or wax to lessen the checking on the ends. Be careful of kiln drying the wood, one must take into account temperature, humidity, and time when drying and each specie is a bit different., the wrong combination may leave you with split, checked, twisted, bowed, or other defect which would render them unusable except as an energy source.

-- Greg, No. Cal. - "Gaudete in Domino Semper"

View NormG's profile


6111 posts in 3000 days

#4 posted 06-11-2012 04:37 AM

I agree 1” to 2” and you can resaw as needed for the project

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2982 days

#5 posted 06-11-2012 03:31 PM

Glad to see I am on the right track!

Since all of my logs are 2’ or less, I think it is going to end up being suitable for crafts, boxes, etc. Not really furniture sized logs here.

I don’t really have a good way to air dry them which is why I’m looking at a kiln. I’m going to build a little solar kiln and my research suggests that it be a “slow burn” and take several few weeks (rather than the 270-hours-or-so a lot of kilns suggest).

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2185 days

#6 posted 06-12-2012 03:59 AM

Watch the area around the pith (center of the log). If it is included in a board, I think it is best to have it in the middle of the thickness. Wood near the pith (juvenile wood) is not as stable as wood further out.

Painting the ends of logs as soon as they are cut is a good idea as it reduces drying thru end grain (about 10x that of side grain).

Some woods will twist a bit during drying – not necessarily a showstopper (especially for turning) but resawing too thin might mean a milled piece will be too thin.

Air drying is safer than kiln drying. Do the latter wrong and it could ruin the wood (casehardening etc).

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 2547 days

#7 posted 06-12-2012 04:10 AM

One other thing to keep in mind, the wood will be slightly smaller once fully dried. Not much, but with certain types and cuts enough to be noticable.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

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