Dead Stacking Kiln Dried Lumber?

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Forum topic by richardwootton posted 03-14-2013 10:15 PM 3542 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1699 posts in 1981 days

03-14-2013 10:15 PM

I’ve got about 50 board feet of 4/4 Ambrosia Maple lumber that has been kiln dried. I’m just curious if it safe to dead/flat stack it without having to stick and stack it. Could this create any problems with warping and what not? Any information is greatly appreciated.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

26 replies so far

View kdc68's profile


2658 posts in 2302 days

#1 posted 03-14-2013 10:21 PM

Great question…me personally, when I buy it from the hardwood lumber distributor and get it home I sticker it all , and let it acclimate to my shop…

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View a1Jim's profile


117118 posts in 3603 days

#2 posted 03-14-2013 10:46 PM

It’s a matter of having equal air flow around your wood so one side does not take on more moisture in the air than the opposite side, that can cause warping,cupping and twisting. If your going to store it flat it’s best to sticker it. When stickering your wood use the same type of wood for stickers as the wood is to prevent discoloration from the stickers.I would sticker you wood every 16”-24” and within 6” from the ends.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3091 days

#3 posted 03-14-2013 11:45 PM

I generally store dry lumber without stickering, but before I begin a project I will bring it into the shop and sticker or store vertically to let it acclimate. Having said that, I think it would be better to store it stickered, but I have never had a problem in following my approach. If I brought home some dried lumber that measured a moisture content that was quite different than the lumber in my storage area I might consider stickering it enable it to achieve equilibrium more easily.

-- PaulMayer,

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2214 days

#4 posted 03-15-2013 02:52 AM

Once it’s been dried, dead stacking is the way to go so that you minimize the tendency for the boards to reabsorb moisture. Stickering it will only help it gain back moisture.

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

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#5 posted 03-15-2013 03:16 AM

I usually don’t sticker it unless I’m planning to use it soon.

Once you start flattening the boards to build something
though, I recommend stickering them during the
millwork process to guard againts unwanted twisting
of prized long, flat sections. I often lean boards
against a wall as I am doing the milling instead of
stacking and stickering, but this does not mean
it’s a best practice to do so. Some woods are
wilier than others and with experience you’ll learn
what you can and can’t get away with in your
climate and with the woods you can get.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3919 days

#6 posted 03-15-2013 03:44 AM

it is always better to sticker wood

then not

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

View kdc68's profile


2658 posts in 2302 days

#7 posted 03-15-2013 03:57 AM

pmayer & Loren – agree with you both. I’ll sticker as soon as I get it home if I don’t plan on using it right away. I have a bunch of 5/4 cherry thats been stickered for quite sometime now. I don’t have immediate plans for it yet. But most generally I don’t store that much and tend to use what I buy right away. I refrain to mill to finished dimensions though. So I rough mill the lumber oversized and sticker it overnight or so. Then go back to it a day or so later and mill it again to finished dimensions..So I do sticker regardless… It works for me…

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View NGK's profile


93 posts in 1936 days

#8 posted 03-15-2013 05:08 AM

Two or more of you said to acclimate it to your shop’s environment for a time. NOT a good idea inless the item is to be USED in the shop. IF it’s FURNITURE, then acclimate it in the exact room in the house where it will be utilized.

Once your lumber is kiln-dried, just wrap it in platic sheating which stabilizes that exact moisture content. Moisture can’t get inside the bundle, and at 6-8 percent there’s not much to even try to get out.

As soon as a project is completed—meaning assembly—you should stain and finish it immediately. Several coats of finish will not prevent moisture changes within the wood due to differences in environmental moisture in it’s permanant home—but it WILL DRASTICALLY SLOW DOWN CHANGES.

Kick the old lady in the butt when she says, “Honey, it’s such a lovely day ouside that I opened all the doors and windows to AIR OUT THE HOUSE.” All she’s doing is bringing in humidity and inviting it to take a new home in your wood furniture—and every other porous thing in the house.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3919 days

#9 posted 03-15-2013 06:31 AM

its been awhile since I woke up

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

View WDHLT15's profile


1747 posts in 2501 days

#10 posted 03-15-2013 12:36 PM

If it is kiln dried and you sticker it in an area that is not climate controlled, your kiln dried wood will become air dried wood. If you can sticker it inside a climate controlled space, fine. If not, I agree with keeping it flat stacked and wrapped with plastic to keep the moisture content low.

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

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1981 days

#11 posted 03-15-2013 07:08 PM

Ok so it’s not stacked in a climate control environment so I need to wrap it in plastic and keep it flat stacked.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View pintodeluxe's profile


5705 posts in 2839 days

#12 posted 03-15-2013 08:19 PM

If it is kiln dried, and I know I won’t be moving it for awhile I will sticker it. If I am going to be sorting through and using it soon, I just stack it flat so it is easier to pull.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2984 days

#13 posted 03-15-2013 09:12 PM

Stickering is only beneficial in reducing sticker stain and mold growth while the wood is drying; if it is dry, down below around 15%mc or so, then mold cannot grow and the wood will not benefit from stickering. The big part is how dry the kiln operator really got it; some do dry well, by weight, others just throw it in and color it done. There is no standard, so you need to trust the operator and their integrity. If it is indeed dry, then you can dead stack it with no worries; if it’s still moist inside, best to sticker it. Whatever you do it will only moisten/dry up to around 10-12% outside the kiln anyway.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View NGK's profile


93 posts in 1936 days

#14 posted 03-16-2013 01:19 AM

Nomad62——-You need to get your facts straight. Stickering does not “reduce sticker stain”, it causes it. Often this is the case when the stickers are a darker wood than the light-colored woods like sycamore, pine, and especially holly if any of us are lucky enough to have that much holly or that size. Stickering stain is often caused by the mold which is allowed to grow where the sticker touches the moist board—that zone where the drying air can’t get into soon enough.. It helps if stickers themselves have been kiln-dried or are a less dense species.

You are correct in saying that in general mold will not grow below 15% moisture, but it possibly could in moderately high temperature and humidity, with moisture creeping in the sides of the stacks.

A kiln-dried stack at 6 or 8 or10 or 12 percent moisture will again creep slowly up to 15 percent moisture if not wrapped in plastic. The lumber always tries to get back up the the EMC (environmental moisture content) for the average humidity lever for that area of the country. This number is 15 percent here in the Midwest (think Big 10 basketball).

View reberly's profile


191 posts in 2714 days

#15 posted 03-16-2013 01:33 AM

I kind of agree with Nomad 62. He said “Stickering is only beneficial in reducing sticker stain and mold growth while the wood is drying” If you have ever dead stacked wet boards they will mold and fuse together causing “stain” for the entire boards in very little time. Stickers let the air through reducing what might be better called “contact stain”. I have only run a few sawmills for a few decades and 4 kilns – dehumdification, conventional heat, solar, and hybrid so it is just an observation. I too sticker lumber until kilned dried and then I dead stack in environmentally controlled racks. My dead stacked lumber rarely creaps over 10% moisture content.

-- "Big Timber is our Legacy" ,

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