When is it safe to remove stickers from stacked air dried wood?

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Forum topic by Blackie_ posted 07-26-2013 07:50 PM 2848 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4883 posts in 2714 days

07-26-2013 07:50 PM

I have a non heated / cooled metal storage shed sitting under a red oak shade tree the shed is off of the ground with a wood floor and slight air flow through it, I have built a wood rack to store 12” to 24” in length x 1” thick boards cut from logs that I currently have stickered for several months, the situation I have is I’ve ran out of room for some freshly cut mesquite and Elm, I have tested the already stickered boards at a moisture content of between 12 and 16% is it safe to go ahead and remove the stickers from these boards, stacking them on top of each other in the same shed only in a different area of the shed to allow room for the newly stickered boards on the rack?


-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

28 replies so far

View Randy_ATX's profile


880 posts in 2644 days

#1 posted 07-26-2013 08:14 PM

The part that catches my eye is that your previous batch have only been stickered for several months. I wouldn’t think that would be enough for 1” thick lumber if it was green wood when sliced up.

Might be a good, legitimate excuse for a shed addition, Randy. :-)

I will store some mesquite for you. ;-)

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View Quanter50's profile


278 posts in 2498 days

#2 posted 07-26-2013 08:16 PM

I would keep them stickered until your ready to use them, regardless of moisture content.

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3890 days

#3 posted 07-26-2013 08:18 PM

I would have to wonder if the new moisture you’ll be introducing wouldn’t get absorbed by the drier boards, being as they are in the same shed with only “slight air flow through it”. Also , the 12-16% MC would change on the inner boards of the pile seeing as there is no longer any air movement between them. Chances are the outer boards would start to cup as well because they would be in contact with the inner boards on one face , and exposed to air on the other face. Just my thoughts on the matter : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21737 posts in 3307 days

#4 posted 07-26-2013 08:43 PM

I agree with Quanter50. Leave the stick in until you need to use them. I generally go one year before I use them, too…..........Jim

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

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3510 days

#5 posted 07-26-2013 08:51 PM

Several months isn’t that long for air drying and might cause them to warp if the stickers are removed. If it is possible keep them snickered longer. Better safe than sorry

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2150 days

#6 posted 07-26-2013 09:01 PM

a year an inch is my rule of thumb. I have some poplar was tight stacked after 5 years of being sticked. these boards are fine, and the humidity is around 65% on the shop. I probably won’t use any until the humidity levels off. I do try to keep my material in the rough till I am ready to use it.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2714 days

#7 posted 07-26-2013 09:27 PM

One thing I failed to mention was that these trees, logs I cut from were already dead anywhere between 2 to 5 years but I’m going to take everyone advise and do my best to keep them all stickered, Randy, the shed I am using was the addition. LOL I’m just a wood gloat and it just keeps falling into my lap, I’m saving a bundle in over head. LOL

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2714 days

#8 posted 07-26-2013 09:28 PM

Another thing I can do, I have them stickered with 1” stickers I’ll mill the stickers down to 3/4” that should help a little.

Thanks everyone

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2274 days

#9 posted 07-26-2013 09:36 PM

There are several posts about sticking out doors. I have been forced to do it several times over the years. You don’t need a new shed, just the right tarps.

-- Who is John Galt?

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 3160 days

#10 posted 07-26-2013 09:48 PM

Once below 20% or so you should be able to dead stack them without concern for mold or mildew, but it does give a better hiding place for bugs if that is a concern.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Roger's profile


20952 posts in 3006 days

#11 posted 07-26-2013 09:55 PM

I hope you can figure it out. Gr8 question/s.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3015 days

#12 posted 07-26-2013 10:14 PM

I prefer to let green lumber air dry outside. Stack and sticker the new lumber outside on some level skids. Once it reaches around 15%, bring it in to dry further. You will need to keep the lumber stickered until kiln dried. The only lumber I dead stack is kiln dried lumber.

Good luck

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

View WDHLT15's profile


1792 posts in 2678 days

#13 posted 07-27-2013 02:27 AM

Nomad is right on. If you are sure that the moisture content is below 20%, you are fine to dead stack it. Takes up half the space, too.

The 1” rule of thumb for air drying wood is not accurate. It depends on your climate. In areas where there are good drying conditions year round like in the South where there is little ice and snow, 1” thick lumber dries faster than one year down to 12 -16% moisture content. I also use box fans to circulate air for some easier to dry species like walnut, cherry, maple, and poplar. These can dry to 15% here in Georgia in 120 days. 1” red oak takes me 6 months on average and white oak takes 8 months. I do not use fans on oak as you cannot dry it too fast or it will case-harden and honeycomb. This drying takes place under a 25’ x 60’ shed open on all sides with side height of 10’ to the roof. Here is a view of some of the stacks under the shed.

Here is another pic of a stack of maple, and you can see a simple box fan on the far left of the picture.

I realize that not everyone has an air drying shed like this one, but as long as you can assure good air flow to take away evaporating water, you can do a very good job air drying wood. It also helps to understand the drying characteristics of the various species and, if you dry a lot of wood, it is critical to have a good moisture meter. It is never a good idea to try and dry wood in an enclosed building. Better to do it outside and build a roof over it.

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

View 8iowa's profile


1587 posts in 3963 days

#14 posted 07-27-2013 03:02 AM

According to woodworking author Nick Engler in “Woodworking wisdom” wood stickered in stacks outside looses it’s “free water in one to four months. Later, the wood eventually looses the “bound water” in the cells of the wood reaching a moisture content somewhat in accordance with the prevailing local relative humidity.

I stack my wood outside, with stickers, under a tarp, for at least a year. Then I go thru the stack, discarding the boards that have obvious defects. The good lumber then goes up into the loft of my “Workshop in the Woods”. I sticker the stacks in the loft and let them dry for another year, or at least thru a winter, when the moisture content in the air is very low.

Then It’s a good idea to take any boards selected for a project down to the rack in my shop, and let it sit there for at least a several days in order to allow the wood to react to the humidity in the shop. It seems that if I ignore this “shop drying” time I’m usually sorry.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2274 days

#15 posted 07-27-2013 01:14 PM

I have a stack of cedar drying right now, sticked, and with a fan, in an AC environment. This is a good thread to hop on, as cedar is a wood I have the least experience with working. (from a milling and working perspective… can’t tell you how many decks and fences I have built :) Should I be concerned about case hardening, or other problems drying it to fast. My instincts say no, but any input would be appreciated.

edit: 1×4 3/4 boards that were sold air dry… but from an outdoor yard, and with recent rains here were off the scale on my meter.

-- Who is John Galt?

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