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Well-dried lumber . . . or not?

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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 08-02-2014 10:51 PM 1370 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1257 days


08-02-2014 10:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

There are two sawmills somewhat near me, and the two owners used to have a business relationship of some sort . . . but not any more. I don’t know or care what happened between them, but they both claim that the other one doesn’t know how to properly dry wood. Again, I don’t really care about their dispute.

What i want to know is this: in addition to checking wood with a moisture meter, how would I determine whether or not the wood was dried well?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson


17 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4020 posts in 1811 days


#1 posted 08-02-2014 11:32 PM

Buy some of the wood and cut into it and test w/ the moisture meter.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View AnonymousRequest's profile

AnonymousRequest

861 posts in 1009 days


#2 posted 08-02-2014 11:47 PM

I wouldn’t buy anything. If they’re selling dry wood, let them prove that it’s dry. I’m sure they both would have a moisture meter. If they want to fight and kind of put you in the middle of it, work them against each other and see who gives you the best quality and price.

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1257 days


#3 posted 08-03-2014 12:19 AM

I could have made this simpler without the backstory.

If you are unsure if a sawmill has dried wood well, how do you determine if they have? I’m no more sure if the third sawmill I use, it’s just that no one has questioned that one.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Don W's profile

Don W

17955 posts in 2027 days


#4 posted 08-03-2014 12:38 AM

If the moisture meter says its dry, and its not cracked, checked, warped,or split, it would be good enough for me.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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Andre

1018 posts in 1266 days


#5 posted 08-03-2014 01:13 AM

Let it sit in the shop for a few weeks and do a test cut, the longer it sits the better, I have some Vera that is at least 10 years old and when I cut into it was too wet to work, after every cut it needs to sit a week or more .

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2150 days


#6 posted 08-03-2014 02:01 AM

If the moisture meter says it is at or below 15% and there is no warping, cupping, or twisting, I would be comfortable with it. Bring it to your shop, stack, and sticker for 5-7 days and you should be OK.

You don’t say whether it is stacked and stickered when you go to look at it but proper stacking/stickering is a very important step in drying wood properly. Look for sticker uniformity, alignment, and spacing. Is it stacked in a well ventilated area out of direct sunlight? ETC…...

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

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1257 days


#7 posted 08-03-2014 02:04 AM

They both have very professional looking operations. I wouldn’t have a question if they hadn’t each raised it about the other all in their own.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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Tony_S

605 posts in 2543 days


#8 posted 08-03-2014 11:08 AM

Other than moisture content and the usual visual defects such as surface checks, splits, warp, etc…..other ‘unseen’ defects caused by improper drying in hardwood lumber are honeycomb(most often seen in White Oak) and casehardening.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

726 posts in 2418 days


#9 posted 08-04-2014 06:09 PM

There is little to no way to tell; to make that even better, there is no absolute standard on what “kiln dried” is supposed to indicate So, here is what a lot of people do: they stick the wood in their kiln, heat it up and dry it until the outside of a piece reads what they want it to, then they deem it done. Problem is, the inside of the wood is still wet, but oh well; further, they are taking a sample of the easiest piece to reach and not the inside of the stack. They deem their test piece as a viable average for the whole load. Not accurate, but this is what I have seen. Personally, I dry using a Nyle kiln with 4 sets of pins for moisture readings I put in various locations in the load, and dry until the average is down to about 9-10%; I then let it set for a few days to acclimate, then take a new reading and deem that the load average. Generally, it is around 7-8% at that time, as the dryer wood on the edges will draw the moisture from within. I then heat the load to 140 deg for 2 days to kill bugs, etc. I feel this is a much better means of accurate drying; it is also more expensive, but right is right, not always cheap. Anyway, I offer this info for comparison to what they may (or may not) answer to your more pointed questions on their kiln useage. If one says the other isn’t any good, I’d talk to them both and see what they will say about what they do and make a decision from there. If they offer no help, I’d agree with rad457 in letting it set in your shop or home to acclimate for a while then test it on your own with a decent meter.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3018 posts in 1257 days


#10 posted 08-04-2014 06:12 PM

Thanks Nomad. Is a cheapy HF moisture meter up to the task?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 1728 days


#11 posted 08-04-2014 06:26 PM

Are they running kilns to dry the wood?I run into this alot selling wood mine is air dried and ready to work but theres always somebody to say other wise.Good way to tell is cut a board in half and test the middle moisture content.It all depends on the % in the air and how long its been stickered and air flow etc.If the boards dry on the meter and straight no curves etc should be good to go.Here some guys just cut it stack it no stickers and leave it and they wonder why they sell nothing…Stickers and airflow are the key! !

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1257 days


#12 posted 08-04-2014 06:34 PM

These guys are both running kilns, stickering them, letting them sit in open air sheds after the kiln, do it all on schedule, etc. They both run pretty big operations.

As I said, it never would have occurred to me to question if they hadn’t each mentioned it about the other. I’ll take my meter with me and do some checking, but it is probably much ado about not much.

I don’t buy wood in large enough quantities with enough regularity to be able to make really good comparisons. They are similar distances from me, so I was trying to figure out how I might decide if I need to.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 1728 days


#13 posted 08-04-2014 06:37 PM

Sounds like the wood should be fine just the 2 hate each other.I have never met a sawyer that likes other sawyers LOL!

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CharlesA

3018 posts in 1257 days


#14 posted 08-04-2014 06:38 PM

I didn’t know that was a thing.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View rrww's profile

rrww

263 posts in 1573 days


#15 posted 08-04-2014 07:45 PM

I wouldn’t worry about their problems or what they say. I personally don’t deal with anyone who bashes their competitors.

Buy a few feet from each of them. Work with it and see which you like better. If they are both running large operations they typically have to do that by providing quality wood & services.

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