Question on drying wood in Florida, and achieving thin cuts

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Forum topic by TreeWorks posted 03-21-2015 05:56 PM 1127 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1615 days

03-21-2015 05:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cutting drying lumber thin slices tree removal garage storage florida

Hey folks,

I posted a thread about a year ago with questions seeking the best advice on cutting and drying a large oak tree I have in my front yard. My wife is an oil painter, and I wanted to dry most of the wood and make her a bunch of canvas (1” or less thick cuts).

Well, I received a lot of different advice. Most suggested I cut lumber, branches and trunks of tree (which is massive), into smaller parts, i.e., 1-2 feet long. Then it was suggested that I use a sealer, like Green Seal to seal the ends of the lumber while it dries for the next few months, so that it controls the drying and avoids cracking, etc.

Well, I did a test run on a branch, about 8” thick. I cut it into several pieces of about 1 – 2 feet long. I sealed the edges. I stacked the wood in my garage, safe from the rain and sun.

The result was that most of the wood showed signs of rot after only a few months. A few pieces splintered down the center, as if it still dried too quickly – however, those same pieces showed signs of rot!

So I put a hold on cutting down the big oak tree, which I really need to do because my septic tank is near it, until I can find the right process of drying.

Any advice, or insights on the matter from you professionals would be VERY much appreciated!

Quick note, I experimented with smaller branches, cutting a 4” thick brand into about 2” sections. Then brought those into my house and stored them in my studio. They dried super quick, in a matter of a couple of days, and of course splintered badly.

Finally, I cannot find any advice on how to cut the wood, especially during the last part of the process where I would take the thicker cuts and slice them into thin (1 inch) canvas.

If possible, I’d like to use the trunk of the tree for some projects, such as a table, as the tree is enormous, about 4 feet wide!

Is this possible, and if so, what kind of cutting devices or service am I looking for?

I have a tree service company that is going to come and chop the tree down for me and even offered to help locate the lumber into my garage for me, which is pretty nice of them. They seem to think they can shave some of the trunk for me, though I’m skeptical. Seems like too big of a job for chainsaws.

Anyhow, I know this is a lot of info but it’s better than leaving hazy details.

Thanks so much ahead of time for anyone that takes the time to offer advice!


5 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3052 posts in 2256 days

#1 posted 03-22-2015 12:22 AM

Check this site for a local sawyer. They will be able to cut your tree and should be able to answer your questions since they will be knowledgeable about what works best in your area. HTH

-- Art

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2689 days

#2 posted 03-22-2015 01:18 AM

Art’s advice is spot on (as usual).

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

View WDHLT15's profile


1743 posts in 2475 days

#3 posted 03-22-2015 02:07 AM

Forget trying to get lumber from limb wood. Limb wood has tension wood and will not dry well at all. Focus your lumber recovery from wood from the straight trunk of the tree. Have it sawn into boards, sticker with 1” stickers on 16” spacing, and let the wood air dry under cover but with open sides to slow good air flow. Short of having the green lumber kiln dried, there is no other way to do it.

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

View Peteybadboy's profile


282 posts in 1949 days

#4 posted 03-09-2018 12:03 PM

I know this is a fairly old post. What did you do with the oak? I had a mahogany and a large oak (thanks to Irma) cut in to slabs last week. I have them stacked , stickerd , sealed ends, and covered outside. It’s so humid in s/w fla, I’m not sure it will ever dry. I would like to know how you made out.

-- Petey

View avsmusic1's profile


258 posts in 684 days

#5 posted 03-09-2018 01:51 PM

I know this is a fairly old post. What did you do with the oak? I had a mahogany and a large oak (thanks to Irma) cut in to slabs last week. I have them stacked , stickerd , sealed ends, and covered outside. It s so humid in s/w fla, I m not sure it will ever dry. I would like to know how you made out.

- Peteybadboy

by “covered” do you mean the top? or do you mean the whole thing is wrapped?

I can’t comment on any unique challenges of trying to dry wood in FL but the basics are a stable and level base, stickers every 2’ or so (assuming it’s thicker slabs), a top cover to keep the bulk of the rain off, sides/ends that are open to air, and some weight on the top. Sealing the end grain is always a good idea. If the trunk(s) weren’t particularly straight or you have other reason to believe there will be substantial cupping/twist/etc I would consider adding strong ratchet straps too.

I’m betting that oak is going to take forever to dry in your climate. May make sense to spray everything in boracare with mold care.

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