OK to dry hickory in my garage?

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Forum topic by cracknpop posted 514 days ago 1411 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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89 posts in 848 days

514 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: drying lumber hickory

A friend had a large hickory tree fall on his property recently. His loss is turning into a stack of lumber for me, apparently about 200 bd ft or more. Sawmill he took the logs to does not dry the wood. So, I have been reading about drying wood, both here on LJs, as well as USDA’s Wood Handbook, etc.

I am wondering if it is a good idea to stack the wood in my heated workshop (concrete floor, 24×36, cathedral ceilings) to shorten the drying time. Will moisture release be enough to cause a problem with my tools or the other wood I have stacked/stored? Will having a dehumidifier help?

Thanks for your thoughts and recommendations.

-- Rick

13 replies so far

View WDHLT15's profile


981 posts in 975 days

#1 posted 514 days ago

There is a lot of pounds of water in 200 BF of green hickory. Some wood has to dry slowly like oak. Hickory is more forgiving, but air drying it under cover outside would be a better plan. Then after 4 – 6 months, sticker it in your shop to finish it off.

-- Danny, Located in Perry, GA, Forester, Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill

View hoosier0311's profile


297 posts in 524 days

#2 posted 514 days ago

I definately recommend keeping it outside and covered up. I got about 150 BF of very green Oak once and stacked it in my shop. went away for a weekend and came back to find a nice thin layer of rust all over every cast iron surface in the shop. ( yeah,I shoulda waxed) I have some old 4×4s with eye bolts in them, I sticker it and strap it down, then tarp it, so far so good.

-- I'm only deaf in one ear,,,,,I just can't hear out of the other one.

View bondogaposis's profile


2225 posts in 850 days

#3 posted 514 days ago

You don’t want to dry it too fast or it will warp badly and have all kinds of internal stresses. I vote for pre-conditioning it outside for a while before you bring it inside. Make sure you sticker it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Nicky's profile (online now)


628 posts in 2591 days

#4 posted 513 days ago

I too agree with all that’s been said. Outdoors for at least few months. Your heated shop will dry this too fast and leave you with more firewood then usable lumber.

-- Nicky

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1262 posts in 2236 days

#5 posted 513 days ago

You can get mold in your garage or house if you dry it indoors. Keep it in a covered area outside or place a plastic moisture barrier on the ground and stack it at least 1 foot off the ground with stickers. I prefer air drying wood vertically. It reduces checking and twisting.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View cracknpop's profile


89 posts in 848 days

#6 posted 513 days ago

Thank you all for your recommendations. I have a place where I can sticker and stack it under roof outside. Any recommendations on what I should let the moisture content get down to before bringing it indoors?

Is it advisable to ‘shuffle the stack’ periodically?

If I were to find someone nearby who has a klin, do they typically let it dry outdoors for awhile before drying it in a kiln?

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

-- Rick

View RussellAP's profile


2894 posts in 786 days

#7 posted 513 days ago

It really depends on how thick the boards are, 1” should take a year to reach ambient humidity stickered. Most sawyers will always let fresh cut wood sit before drying it. Most don’t let it sit long enough. Eventually even dry wood will take on ambient moisture levels. Once it’s kiln dried it wont matter much unless it’s in extreme environments.

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

View WDHLT15's profile


981 posts in 975 days

#8 posted 513 days ago

Once the wood reaches fiber saturation point (no free water in the cells, only water bound in the cell walls), you can bring it inside and dry it much faster. Most degrade, cup, twist, warp, and honeycomb occurs from green wood to the fiber saturation point.

In hardwoods, almost all kilns air dry for a while before putting the lumber in the kiln because it takes much longer to dry hardwoods than softwoods, and time is money.

-- Danny, Located in Perry, GA, Forester, Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill

View cracknpop's profile


89 posts in 848 days

#9 posted 512 days ago

I appreciate all the good advice. Looks like I will sticker and stack it for a few months. My brother has a large building open along one side, I will stack it there so it is under cover, yet air can move.

Do I understand correctly, I should weight it down in some way?
Is it advisable to shuffle and restack at some point?

-- Rick

View Don W's profile

Don W

13923 posts in 1067 days

#10 posted 512 days ago

I get the cheap ratchet straps and strap it instead of trying to weight it down. Restacking probably does help, but I’m never that ambitious.

-- There is nothing like the sound of a well tuned hand plane. - (timetestedtools at hotmail dot c0m)

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4666 posts in 2392 days

#11 posted 512 days ago


-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View WoodworkingGeek's profile


181 posts in 1191 days

#12 posted 512 days ago

Keep in mind that wood drys faster in lower humidity environments. Thats why wood drys faster in the winter. So if you live in place that has low humidity, it will dry faster. Also moisture floats on the floor, So its best that you store the wood at least 3 feet above the floor.
Hope this helps!!

View WDHLT15's profile


981 posts in 975 days

#13 posted 512 days ago

I don’t bother with trying to weight down a stack of wood. However, I may have up to 8000 BF air drying at one time. If you deal with small quantities, it may be practical. What I do is stack the best grade on the bottom and work up from there. The low grade on the top of the stack provides good weight for the high grade on the bottom of the stack. The low grade won’t suffer much.

-- Danny, Located in Perry, GA, Forester, Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill

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