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Forum topic by Manley74 posted 05-19-2013 07:59 AM 747 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Manley74

6 posts in 500 days


05-19-2013 07:59 AM

I have a 3” thick 10” wide 16 foot long hickory board that I need to plane down and turn in to a teeter totter for my brother. It has been air drying for a month. How long should this air dry if it will be kept outside anyway? I am thinking the only reason would need to let it dry for an extended period of time is that if I put a finish on it to early I would trap moisture in the board?


14 replies so far

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1254 posts in 614 days


#1 posted 05-19-2013 12:45 PM

I go with a year an inch. I don’t care what it is for.

View JamesT's profile

JamesT

102 posts in 577 days


#2 posted 05-19-2013 02:12 PM

I think Shawn is right on. The outside may get down to about 12% the first year, but inside could still be 18% or more. You’re problem will be getting it even throughout the full 3 inches.
How about building a box or an enclosure around the board, connecting a de-humidifier to it, and run it on the lowest setting for three or four hours each day? May reduce the drying time to six months or so. Or…perhaps a very small solar kiln with a fan in the back yard?

-- Jim from Doniphan

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JamesT

102 posts in 577 days


#3 posted 05-19-2013 02:13 PM

I think Shawn is right on. The outside may get down to about 12% the first year, but inside could still be 18% or more. You’re problem will be getting it even throughout the full 3 inches.
How about building a box or an enclosure around the board, connecting a de-humidifier to it, and run it on the lowest setting for three or four hours each day? May reduce the drying time to six months or so. Or…perhaps a very small solar kiln with a fan in the back yard?

-- Jim from Doniphan

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15702 posts in 2883 days


#4 posted 05-19-2013 02:26 PM

Shawn is right. But on the other hand, you’re not exactly making furniture with this board. Considering what you are using it for, I would recommend the Nike way…. just do it.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Manley74's profile

Manley74

6 posts in 500 days


#5 posted 05-19-2013 02:46 PM

Thanks for the advice guys. I have never worked with Air Dried lumber really. I always use kiln dried. Charlie that’s kinda they way I was thinking. I am not making fine furniture and since it will be outside anyway could I make it now and let it finish drying on its own in its finished form as a teeter totter? However, because I am not experience in drying lumber My fear is it will twist and bend possibly if I do that. They are pretty straight and true now but I don’t know what would happen and don’t want to waste the wood. Also, don’t want my brothers grand kids to wait two years to use it…

View EPJartisan's profile

EPJartisan

1060 posts in 1790 days


#6 posted 05-19-2013 04:29 PM

to me the biggest issue of wood with a high moisture content is the movement while you work on it, which can affect some of the stability of the final piece, even if it is outside. But for a teeter totter? How much work can there be.. not glue, no joints…. I say go for it! You’d be surprised how stable a thick piece of wood can be, but I might suggest some kind of end binding so it does not eventually split as it dries and then give the rider splinters in their bottoms.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

1053 posts in 800 days


#7 posted 05-19-2013 07:18 PM

Manley 74 you are asking very hard question. We do not know when the tree was cut down and milled into boards and have no idea of board’s moisture content now.

Drying wood is a water removal process, essential water leaves wood by evaporation. Hickory normally dries fast, and will shrink a bit across width. If allowed to dry too fast develop cracks, check, and bow or warp.

You want to store your board off the ground, out of the weather and direct sunlight. A basement or garage would be an excellent place to dry your board. Natural air circulation will help with drying.

Ideally want your board to achieve moisture content between 9 to 14% before building your brothers teeter-totter. Moisture meters whether pin or pin-less little help on a three inch thick board. Easy way is weight the board on a bathroom scale weekly until weight stays the same for couple days.

Even with a film finish wood will gain and lose moisture based upon temperature & relative humidity. Film finishes slow down this gain/loss of moisture but do not stop it. Dry wood easier to machine, hold screws & bolts hold better, and more strength than wet wood.

Good luck with your project.

-- Bill

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1017 posts in 951 days


#8 posted 05-19-2013 07:23 PM

I’d say go for it. Not sure how you intended to finish it, but if you were going to paint it, I’d say use milk paint. It won’t seal it tight and will still allow it to breathe.

View JamesT's profile

JamesT

102 posts in 577 days


#9 posted 05-20-2013 01:44 PM

Sorry about the double post.
If this tree was cut one month ago it could have a moisture count as high as 25-30%. I would be very surprised if you can use this board the way it is without getting twist, cracks, and splits over the next year. You need to come up with some way to slowly air-dry it. Really, building a small solar kiln with plastic sheeting and using a box fan to dry it for a few months will work. Good luck.

-- Jim from Doniphan

View OnlyJustME's profile

OnlyJustME

1562 posts in 1042 days


#10 posted 05-20-2013 02:33 PM

I think you’re over thinking things. I made a garden bench out of a Black locust tree that just fell down right there on the spot. Moisture content was splashing me in the face cutting it. I slabbed it to about 4” thick and put legs on it. Never finished it or anything and it’s still together after over 7 years of maryland winters and summers. It checked and cracked down the middle but the kids don’t care. They still love climbing on it and walking on it and banging on it. Not sure i’ve ever seen one sit on it though. They don’t stay still long enough to do that. That teeter totter board can twist into a cork screw but the kids wont care. They’ll still have fun on it.
I say build it now. Let it air dry where it’s going to be, while it’s being used outside and if it warps/twists too much for it to be used in the future you can always plane it back to flat and straight later.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Manley74's profile

Manley74

6 posts in 500 days


#11 posted 05-20-2013 02:48 PM

Thank you all for the great advice. I think I am over thinking it a little. i try to be to much of a perfectionist with things. Bottom Line is My brother got the board for free. If I do it now and it doesn’t hold up he can get another one and let it dry properly. Thanks again for all the insight it helped a lot.

View OnlyJustME's profile

OnlyJustME

1562 posts in 1042 days


#12 posted 05-20-2013 03:06 PM

Nice freebee. Where can i get one? :)

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Manley74's profile

Manley74

6 posts in 500 days


#13 posted 05-20-2013 03:45 PM

Ha. My brothers a farmer he is always horsetrading one thing or another!

View OnlyJustME's profile

OnlyJustME

1562 posts in 1042 days


#14 posted 05-20-2013 05:18 PM

Darn i have no horse to trade. how bout a dog almost as big as a horse?

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

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