Air Drying Wood in Basement during Winter?

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Forum topic by Scott posted 12-31-2014 05:13 PM 1328 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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116 posts in 1557 days

12-31-2014 05:13 PM

I have about 300 bd ft of Cherry, Black Walnut and Maple. I stickered it and stacked it all in my basement with a fan blowing across it. I live in NY so the air is extremely dry. I’m wondering if anyone else has thought about using a heated basement to dry wood during the winter….

6 replies so far

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4095 days

#1 posted 12-31-2014 08:06 PM

Lots of people do and produce some really sweet timber. The key is stickering it, and keeping it dead flat, removing the humidity slowly, but not so slow as to promote mold.

In real professional kilns, they often add humidity, as in some woods, the removal of moisture done too quickly, can do more damage then good. Paint or wax the ends, this can really help in avoiding checking, splitting, and the honeycomb affect and add a fan to circulate the air once a day for an hour during the first month.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1723 days

#2 posted 12-31-2014 08:11 PM

Scott, there’s no reason why not, as long there is good air circulation and exchange. I’m drying wood in my basement shop right now, however most of my wood drying is done in the wood barn.

I recommend directing the blown air from the middle sides of the stack, not from the ends, which naturally tend to dry quicker anyway and check. I often direct the air to the bottom of the stack and I have various fins that redirect the air through the stack.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4095 days

#3 posted 12-31-2014 08:19 PM

I might add, that filling a warm dry basement, with a huge amount of water saturated timber can promote a serious challenge to your significant other, as the humidity in the house rises, and the affluent called wood aroma starts to make her clothing smell like a bucket of expired Old Spice when the heat system engages, and spreads the air through out the home.

Not all wood drying stories have a happy ending : ))

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2716 days

#4 posted 12-31-2014 09:23 PM

I don’t see any problems, save that you will have to have a real dehumidifying system come spring when the rains return to New York.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3015 days

#5 posted 12-31-2014 09:33 PM

Air drying from green is best done outdoors. Protect the lumber from rain, but leave it exposed to the wind.
In an indoor setting, you need to keep fans and a dehumidifier going for a year or so. I would rather let nature dry the lumber from green down to 15% M.C.
Once it is at or below 15%, bring it indoors with the fans and a DH and it will dry in a matter of weeks.
Just my own experience on the topic.

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

View Rob's profile


317 posts in 3188 days

#6 posted 12-31-2014 11:25 PM

I’m in Western NY and I stickered over 500 bd ft of 6/4 Rock Maple in a friend of mines barn where he keeps hay bales all winter. He’s in and out to get hay for his cows but otherwise the barn is closed. I let it sit there for 18 month’s before I started using it and it was perfect. No more than an inch or two of splits on the ends (I didn’t sseal them) and it never cupped, twisted or bowed. I did put numerous concrete blocks on top of the stacks for weight which seemed to do the trick. I don’t think indoor drying will cause any issues with the wood provided it’s not dried too fast or slow as others have mentioned but if you can dry the wood outdoors or in a semi-closed barn it would be better I would think. Where I live, Moisture content won’t go any lower than 10%-11%. Even if I buy kiln dried boards that are 6% out of the kiln, they acclimate back to 10%-11% which has never given me a problem. Good luck!

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