|Forum topic by Ambajejus||posted 11-15-2014 11:12 AM||1491 views||4 times favorited||10 replies|
11-15-2014 11:12 AM
Hey guys, New to the forum and thought i would start by sharing something i learned from my dad, who learned it from his dad.
I live really close to a local logging operation and lumber mill. The owner owns land all over the world and cuts and sells most everything known to man. I can constantly get amazing figured wood from him but the problem with buying freshly milled wood is it is usually 75-95% wet and turns like garbage. With that we need to dry it, and don’t want it to crack or split. i normally buy square milled pieces either 4×4x14 or 8×8x20, sometimes 6×6x18. This makes them easy to stack and easy to store.
What you will need:
Latex Spray paint
Even if you found the perfect round log that you want to turn, unless you have 6 months to 4 years to wait, it needs to be squared on a band saw for this to work guaranteed and quickly.
It is important that the drying process is done indoors in your home where the temperature is at least 70 degrees. DO NOT spray paint indoors.
1: spray the end grain with the latex spray enamel, i use fast drying, and always do two coats.
Water will evaporate 4 to 6 times as fast from the ends as from the center, this causes warping with the stress at the ends and almost always causes your wood to crack.
2: Rough sand all 4 sides of your stock, i can do 1 piece a minute using an orbital sander so this does not take long.
Unless your wood was cut that day within hours of you prepping it to dry there will be deposits on the outer surface of the wood, sap that has already leaked out, saw dust from the mill that filled in the pores, oil or grease from the blade at the mill. Doing a quick rough sand ensures that the wood can dry evenly along the long grain and prevents one area from drying faster than the other thus making it crack.
3: stack your stock on the plastic storage shelf with about 1” between each piece
you need room for air to circulate
4: Place 2-3 box fans blowing directly at the front of your storage shelf, make sure that the end gran is facing the fans.
5: place the dehumidifier behind the plastic rack to pull the moisture out.
The air from the fans moves the moist air away from the wood and towards the dehumidifier.
i can dry 8-12 4×4x14’ pieces of hardwood stock in about 7-12 days down to 15%-20% this way in a small room ( i use a spare bedroom that has hardwood floors as carpet can slow the drying process)
To speed up the process you can add additional heat to the room with a space heater or by adjusting the thermostat if the room has its own.
15% – 20% is not fully dried wood, but it is dry enough to turn without any problems, it is easy to achieve, and this method almost guarantees your wood wont crack, (honeycomb cracks are the exception as they are a structural flaw not a flaw in the drying process)
Once your piece is turned to size/shape it is usually air dry on its own unless you turned it in less than a week from start, in which case you can let it sit for a week to finish air drying, 12% is the best you will ever get wood to dry via air drying.
If you want it “kiln dry” or roughly 7% moisture content you can make a tabletop kiln out of some 1 by 4’s some 1/4 inch ply. just build an insulated small box, snag a few old CPU case fans from a computer, and snag the power supply from the computer while you are at it. On any given day i can find a computer on Craigslist for $10, those old windows xp machines are a dime a dozen.
Place the CPU inside your insulated wood box (this is your heat source as old CPU’s can bring the temp up to 115 degrees in a well insulated 24” square box. then use the case fans to force the air out of the box. You can again speed this process up by adding an additional heat source. Call me crazy but i vent the clothes dryer into my box when i have a finished piece i want to force dry. <—-I do not recommend this in your house, i only do it because my dryer is in the garage which is solid brick and even if the dryer caught fire the worst it could do is melt to the brick or concrete as there is no combustable material around it.
Hope all that helps some of you. You can save a lot of money buying wet turning stock from your local mill, i get beautiful spalted wood from them for literally a dollar as they cannot use it for lumber. Until i came along they use to throw it in the pit as firewood, now they know to cut it and call me when they get a decent amount.