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Using ratchet straps to prevent wood from warping while drying?

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Forum topic by yellowtruck75 posted 134 days ago 912 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1665 days


134 days ago

Yesterday I purchased 300 bf of 8/4 fresh cut cherry averaging 16” wide. I will properly stack them in the second floor of my shop for the next few years to slowly dry. I will use latex paint on the ends to slow down the drying process. I want to prevent the wood from twisting and cupping, can I use ratchet straps at each of the stacks to keep the slabs straight and flat?


16 replies so far

View jterry's profile

jterry

17 posts in 1425 days


#1 posted 134 days ago

I put a 2×4 and a sticker on the top of the stack and ratchet strap them. It works well in that every few days you can tighten the straps as the wood shrinks. After the first few weeks it stops shrinking so the straps stay tight. I didn’t have any adverse affects. I have had good results in using a box fan on low facing the stack. this eliminated any mold stains from forming. Just left the fan on for about 1 month.

View tinnman65's profile

tinnman65

1104 posts in 2012 days


#2 posted 134 days ago

I used ratchet straps when I dried a ash log. Most of the boards were 27” wide and I had no problems. I put them as close to the stickers as possible. I saw a video on air drying lumber and they used metal band straps so I figured it shouldn’t be a problem using ratchet straps. As an added benefit when the log got drier and the straps got lose I just cranked them tight again,something you cant do with the metal bands. In the video the lumber pile was 8 or 10 feet tall so banding was really their only option. I also have a few cherry logs drying now strapped with ratchet clamps I got relatively cheap from Harbor Freight.
The hard part now is seeing the lumber and not being able to use it until it dries, especially when its 12/4 and you have to wait years.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1643 posts in 1091 days


#3 posted 134 days ago

8/4 cherry 16” wide….do you know how jealous I am of you right now?

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

View yellowtruck75's profile

yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1665 days


#4 posted 134 days ago

I think I might install a few I bolts in the floor (wood floor) to anchor the ratchet straps. The issue right now is waiting for my yard to dry out so that I can carry all the cherry down to my shop. I will try to remember to take a picture tonight so that I can post.

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jterry

17 posts in 1425 days


#5 posted 134 days ago

I set the bottom stickers on top of 2×4. Hooks in the 2×4 instead of in the floor.

View Jeff Heath's profile

Jeff Heath

54 posts in 1667 days


#6 posted 134 days ago

I’ve been using ratchet straps like this for a long time. Make sure your sticker rows are all aligned, and place your straps where the rows are.

Forget the latex paint. It has been well proven, scientifically, that latex paint does very little to seal the end grain on green wood for drying purposes. You will be sorry if you don’t use a proper end grain sealer. I use anchorseal. It works.

Also, a little tip is to make sure you rotate your stacks of air drying wood. I know it’s a lot of work, but by disassembling your stacks, and flipping the wood over, and putting the top wood from the previous stack to the bottom, you will get better results.

I’ve been building furniture and cabinetry with timber I’ve milled myself for about 18 years now….about 20,000 bf or so. This is a little tidbit of what I’ve learned.

PS> Don’t forget to tighten your ratchet straps every couple of days in the beginning. The stack shrinks as the boards lose moisture.

-- Jeff Heath Heath Toolworks planes

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

1374 posts in 318 days


#7 posted 134 days ago

+1 to skipping the latex paint, I used it in an attempt to use up what I had and keep from having to buy the right stuff. It was no different than using nothing. I now use melted beeswax painted on.

View yellowtruck75's profile

yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1665 days


#8 posted 130 days ago

Got the cherry properly stacked this afternoon

.

View Tim's profile

Tim

1173 posts in 559 days


#9 posted 130 days ago

Jeff, when you say you need to take apart your stacks and rearrange them, how often are you talking? Once a week or once a year?

Yellow congrats on the score. That will be nice stuff. And are your stickers hidden or are they really 4 feet apart or so? Are they thick enough? Hate to nitpick but you want to make the money and effort worth it.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10551 posts in 1288 days


#10 posted 130 days ago

Yellow, I sticker my lumber off the mill at least every 18”. And I would either have a strap on each set of stickers or use weights sitting on stickers on the top board (I use concrete blocks). Your lumber is way too pretty to have it cup, bow, and twist!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View yellowtruck75's profile

yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1665 days


#11 posted 130 days ago

What size stickers would you suggest? RIght now they are just 3/4” poplar. Would material would you suggest. This location is temporary until I can pursued someone to help me carry upstairs in my shop.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10551 posts in 1288 days


#12 posted 130 days ago

I use 3/4” stickers cut from whatever I have handy. Have used ply, pine cypress, alder, etc. The concrete blocks I use may be too much weight in your attic? If so, you need more straps. I decided straps were more expensive than blocks and I have a LOT of lumber stacked and stickered! I’ll have 4-5 concrete blocks on an 8’ long stack depending on what type of wood it is.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Tim's profile

Tim

1173 posts in 559 days


#13 posted 129 days ago

Ok here’s from Seasoning of Timber Revised by A. LAMOND and J. HARTLEY I found in my archives:
“Size of strips – In thickness, the strips vary from 12 mm to 25 mm. The use of thinner strips results in slower drying which might be required for a refractory timber, but thicker strips are suitable for most thicknesses and species. Strips about 19 mm thickness are most commonly used.”

So yours are fine in other words. They looked thin in comparison to the 8/4 stock I guess.

More from that source:
“All the strips should be in exact vertical alignment above the stack bearers, the principle again being to avoid bending moments in the stack.
For drying straight-grained timber, the strips can be placed at 450 mm centres. When refractory species have to be dried, for example brush box. the strips should be p laced at 300 mm centres. This close stripping provides more restraint on the timber. and helps to reduce the amount of warping.”

Refractory appears to be a reference to woods that are hard to dry without a lot of cracking and splitting.

How much do your blocks weigh Andy? Not sure how the clamping pressure a ratchet strap could add would compare to the weight of a cement block, but if you’ve got lots of stacks drying the cost would definitely add up fast.

View yellowtruck75's profile

yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1665 days


#14 posted 129 days ago

Tonight I will seal the ends with Anchorseal. In about a month I will move the stack to my second floor and add more stickers and staps. Is this to long to leave it houw it is?

View Mike Throckmorton's profile

Mike Throckmorton

51 posts in 262 days


#15 posted 129 days ago

I have little experience (but not zero!) with air drying lumber.

I’ve used wax and paint to seal ends but ended up using diluted Titebond III.

When my bottles of TB III get low and thick, I add water to dilute down to a proper viscosity and then use that to paint on. It can be pretty thin.

This works for me because I never do more than a few short logs (4ft or so) worth at a go (Cherry and Bradford Pear, sigh). Not a useful solution for quantity driers.

Works champion. If the boards insisted on splitting, they’d have to exert themselves.

Note: Bradford Pear, so far as I can tell, doesn’t split much or even warp. This is, I think, because unlike normal trees, Bradford Pear grain runs in all directions simultaneously.

-- You are never complete, you just draw a line where done is and stop at that line.

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