Wood drying

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Forum topic by Tripps posted 06-25-2012 06:57 PM 1493 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 2163 days

06-25-2012 06:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

How do I dry out a 32” diameter oak log (3’ length )? Just cut

9 replies so far

View PineChopper's profile


187 posts in 2196 days

#1 posted 06-25-2012 07:11 PM

Take the bark off, seal the ends and wait about one year.
Sealing the ends should help to keep it from splitting.
Removal of bark and one year of time is from experience selling firewood.
Hope that helps.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4931 posts in 3960 days

#2 posted 06-25-2012 07:13 PM

Even after 1 yr. the log won’t be very dry. Yes on getting the bark removed.
What is your objective?


View DaveFFMedic's profile


81 posts in 2166 days

#3 posted 06-25-2012 07:16 PM

Letting fire wood season for a year is fine if you’re going to burn it. But if you have a more precise plan for your log, I would suggest cutting it into slabs or roughly the size you plan to use it. I have no experience doing this sort of thing, but I remember reading somewhere that it takes about a year per inch of thickness of stock to air dry. The wood will probably move a little bit as it dries, so before you use it, you might need to “straighten it out” a bit by jointing and planing it. Hope this helps!

- Dave

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3648 days

#4 posted 06-25-2012 07:22 PM

best to slice it to slabs as thick as you need it (4/4 6/4 8/6 etc) – stacker the slabs allowing air circulation around each slab, and seal the ends with a sealer to avoid splitting. then wait 1 year + 1 year per inch thickness if air dried until read to be put to use – at which point you’d like to measure the moisture in the slabs to make sure they are dry enough.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View bondogaposis's profile


4727 posts in 2350 days

#5 posted 06-25-2012 08:17 PM

Best to slice it up or it will check.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View WDHLT15's profile


1743 posts in 2475 days

#6 posted 06-26-2012 02:16 AM

Thick wood, especially oak, is difficult to dry without cracking or splitting. I agree with the above posters that you should cut the log down into smaller pieces to reduce the drying defect. It is not only time at issue, it is drying the wood without splits and cracks.

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

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2985 days

#7 posted 06-26-2012 02:23 AM

Yep, roughly one year per inch and if you cut it to size please oversize them! They may warp a little on their way to dry and you’d be pretty bummed if you couldn’t make that table or furniture because you had to plane it down too much.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Scsmith42's profile


125 posts in 2676 days

#8 posted 06-26-2012 03:38 PM

Tripps, I am a samill and kiln operator; if I’m understanding correctly (based upon your other post), you want to slice your log up into “cookies” that you will make tables from.

Wood dries very poorly in log form, and typically incurs extraordinary stresses which reduce it’s suitability for woodworking projects (with the exception of turning). Thus, the best thing is to mill the boards into rough dimensions and let them dry.

The time that is required for drying is contingent upon species, thickness, initial moisture content, and the environment where wood is stored. 4/4 flat sawn oak in the summer requires about 120 days to dry from green down to 15%. 4/4 quartersawn oak requires about 160 days or so. In the winter, it takes longer because wood drying is impacted by temperature and RH%. As Danny (WDHLT15) indicated, oak is very difficult to dry w/o checking; if you are planning to air dry it yourself it is best to mill in the fall or early spring, when the drying conditions will prevent it from drying too quickly.

In the case of your “cookies”, it will be very difficult to dry them w/o cracking. Part of the problem is the juvenile wood that exists in the center of the log; it’s drying characteristics are different than the rest of the log. If you want to have any chance of the cookie drying w/o cracking, it is best to remove the center from it (typically the first 10 – 15 growth rings from the center).

Due to the cellular alignment, a cookie will dry very rapidly – a 3” thick oak cookie will probably air dry down below 20% MC in less than 60 days.

-- Scott, North Carolina,

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2188 days

#9 posted 06-26-2012 05:01 PM

I think the 1 year per 1” of thickness should only be a rough guide. As Scsmith42 points out there are a lot of things that can affect how long it takes for wood to dry. I would also get the ends sealed ASAP, especially given that the long is only 3 ft long. Wood dries about 10x as fast thru endgrain and you will suffer significant loss if the ends aren’t sealed.

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

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