LumberJocks

Drying time

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by MissouriOutdoors88 posted 10-08-2014 12:54 AM 1068 views 0 times favorited 41 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MissouriOutdoors88's profile

MissouriOutdoors88

334 posts in 804 days


10-08-2014 12:54 AM

I have a question regarding drying time for fresh cut lumber. If I have say, some four foot long 1X6’s cut right after the tree was brought down, how long would you wait before using it for furniture and such? I know an inch per year, but does that apply to width as well as thickness?

-- I'm an aspiring woodworker with a degree in Biology.


41 replies so far

View IHRedRules's profile

IHRedRules

92 posts in 942 days


#1 posted 10-08-2014 01:02 AM

I would say it generally applies to thickness, not width. I would advise to invest in a moisture meter, so you can be sure the wood is ready. It will save you from guessing.

View Minorhero's profile

Minorhero

372 posts in 2071 days


#2 posted 10-08-2014 01:03 AM

It dries an inch per year on all sides. So a 1×6 will after 6 months will be air dried. Because thats half a year on one side of the board and half a year on the other. Its also half a year regarding the width, but since its dry all the way through from the other sides it doesn’t matter.

View MissouriOutdoors88's profile

MissouriOutdoors88

334 posts in 804 days


#3 posted 10-08-2014 01:08 AM

That’s what I thought based on simple science. But my neighbor told me te other day that it applies to width too. I wanted to question him but he’s done a lot of building (mainly his house and shop and not much furniture) so I thought he was right until I got to thinking about it. Reason I ask is because I really want to cut down a couple nice walnut trees and get them to the mill. Then be ready to do some building in the next couple years. So you’re tellin me this is doable?

-- I'm an aspiring woodworker with a degree in Biology.

View Tim's profile

Tim

3119 posts in 1427 days


#4 posted 10-08-2014 01:17 AM

Danny, or someone else who knows a lot more about this might stop by to explain it better, but basically the 1 year per inch of thickness rule is just a very rough rule of thumb. Depending on your climate and storage conditions it could be more or less. Thicker lumber say 3” or more can take more than just 3 times longer to dry, and one inch thick lumber can dry in a few months depending on climate. Saw something about 6 inch thick slabs could take as long as 50 years to dry.

View MissouriOutdoors88's profile

MissouriOutdoors88

334 posts in 804 days


#5 posted 10-08-2014 01:37 AM

Ok thanks. Yea I know its just a general deal. I am in the southern half of MO and we do get a lot of humidity in the summer. On the other hand, the relative humidity is very low in the fall and winter generally. I have a buddy who said that in the summer of 2012 (extreme heat and drought), it took less than a month for his dad’s lumber to dry. That’s pretty remarkable, but that was a very remarkable summer.

I just got discouraged when my neighbor told me that but now that I may be able to use my own trees in a year or so gets me quite excited about it again. It just surprises me that he would be wrong on something like that.

Are there differences in drying times dependent on species? I’ve been told that cedar does not take nearly as long. I’m kind of getting started with cedar as you can probably tell from my previous posts. I have a tremendous amount of them on my property, many of which I want gone anyway.

-- I'm an aspiring woodworker with a degree in Biology.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#6 posted 10-08-2014 01:42 AM

I live in NE Oklahoma. Our average daily humidity is 60% and my 1” sawmilled lumber dries to 15% in 90 days or less stacked and stickered in a shed with a fan circulating air 24/7. Some species dry even quicker. Walnut is a very “user friendly” wood when it comes to drying without warping/cupping.

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

View MissouriOutdoors88's profile

MissouriOutdoors88

334 posts in 804 days


#7 posted 10-08-2014 01:50 AM

Wow that seems pretty quick. What is an acceptable moisture reading before you would consider building some furniture with it?

-- I'm an aspiring woodworker with a degree in Biology.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#8 posted 10-08-2014 01:57 AM

I personally have built a lot of tables, cabinets with drawers, etc using 14-15% and have not had issues. You can always bring your air dried wood into your shop/house for a few days to let it acclimate before using it. I don’t but many recommend it.

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

View MissouriOutdoors88's profile

MissouriOutdoors88

334 posts in 804 days


#9 posted 10-08-2014 02:05 AM

Do you work much with cedar? I know people tend to focus on hardwoods for interior furniture but I really like the look of finished cedar and I have such an excellent resource.

-- I'm an aspiring woodworker with a degree in Biology.

View realcowtown_eric's profile

realcowtown_eric

565 posts in 1403 days


#10 posted 10-08-2014 02:09 AM

Missouri….value your resource…..

I had to pick up some KD clear cedar. 2×10 …..22$ CDN per foo.

Painful, but didn’t need it on the job, so it got returned….

Thank heavens.

Eric

-- Real_cowtown_eric

View MissouriOutdoors88's profile

MissouriOutdoors88

334 posts in 804 days


#11 posted 10-08-2014 02:14 AM

Eric can you clarify what you said above? Remember I am new to all this jazz. What did you have to pick up? CDN? And what are you saying by value my resource?

-- I'm an aspiring woodworker with a degree in Biology.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#12 posted 10-08-2014 02:28 AM

I do saw and sell cedar but I don’t build much with it.

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

View MissouriOutdoors88's profile

MissouriOutdoors88

334 posts in 804 days


#13 posted 10-08-2014 02:30 AM

Any reason people don’t build with it more? I assume because it’s not a valued hardwood. I have some really nice big cedars on my land I’d love to mill up for a bunch of nice love edge slabs. Those are quite valuable aren’t they?

-- I'm an aspiring woodworker with a degree in Biology.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#14 posted 10-08-2014 02:41 AM

Cedar seems to be popular for rustic furniture as opposed to “fine woodworking”. Some like the red/white contrast in cedar and some don’t.

I sell my cedar slabs for $2-$3 a board foot making it the cheapest wood I mill.

Update your profile to include your location so I’ll know how far it is to your trees!

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

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1942 days


#15 posted 10-08-2014 12:22 PM

Missouri,

Tim and gfadvm are spot on. As far as drying goes, about the slowest is white oak, then red oak. The fastest is red cedar, then probably yellow poplar. In the good drying months from Spring to Winter, most hardwoods sawn at 1” thick will air dry down to 15% here in Georgia in 6 months or less. White oak will take more like 8 – 9 months.

Cedar will air dry in good conditions in 60 days. I have had walnut dry in less than 120 days. The width does not matter, only the thickness. If you air dry to 15% outside under covered storage, a fan blowing on the stack to keep the air moving, like gfadvm mentioned, will significantly improve drying time.

Once air dried, you can bring in what you need for your project into a heated and cooled space (like your home), and sticker it inside in an out of the way place and the wood will dry down further. I took some planed, 7/8” thick red oak that was air dried to 13.5% and stacked it in my house with stickers. I measured the M% every few days. It took about 25 days to go from 13.5% to 9.5%, then stayed at that level for the next 3 months. With cedar and walnut, it would take less that that amount of time inside your house to acclimate. If you are going to be using a good amount of air dried wood, a moisture meter will take out the guess work and you won’t have to rely on “rules of thumb”.

Planed lumber will dry faster than rough lumber. So, if you air dry the rough lumber, then skip plane it to say 15/16”, that will accelerate the time to get it from say 15% to 10% or below. In Georgia, anything 10% of less will be fine. Like gfadvm, I have made lots of projects from air dried lumber. As long as you understand how the wood will move as it gains or losses moisture, and as long as you allow for this seasonal movement, you can do it. Still probably best to give it some time in a climate controlled environment for a few weeks to let it acclimate. It just takes a little pre-planning.

Now, with my kiln, I am in high cotton as they say in the South!! That thing is better than sliced bread.

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

showing 1 through 15 of 41 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com