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The Noble art of drying wood. (Read 519 times)
 
Boerje Ekstrand
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The Noble art of drying wood.
Feb 1st, 2019 at 11:56am
 
I have been turning for a couple of years and now I'm trying to build a kiln out of my old shed. My idea is to seal it from in/outgoing air and then use a dehumidifier in combination with one or more fans.
Does anybody here have experience with this way of drying wood?
I surely would appreciate any tips or ideas.
BJ Ekstrand.
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Jennifer Hasan
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #1 - Feb 3rd, 2019 at 11:50am
 
An arborist friend of mine has a huge Shelter Logic garage in which he dries wood. He uses dehumidifiers and fans. Nothing fancy but it works. He said the key was to slowly reduce the humidity in batches.
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Ed Weber
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #2 - Feb 3rd, 2019 at 2:33pm
 
Boerje Ekstrand wrote on Feb 1st, 2019 at 11:56am:
My idea is to seal it from in/outgoing air and then use a dehumidifier in combination with one or more fans.


you can not expect the air to dry in a sealed enclosure.
The idea is to remove the moisture, therefore it must be allowed to leave the enclosed space. This can happen in several ways, water from a dehumidifiers drip pan, allowed to leave passively or forced out by means of a fan.

There is a lot of information out there on this subject, not all is good.
A couple of things to consider.
Will you have access to enough wood to make it worth it?
Do you have a method of determining the beginning and end moisture content of the lumber. Scale, Moisture meter
What type of method will be used for drying, solar, fans, dehumidifiers, etc?
Do you have realistic expectations as far as drying times are concerned

There is much more to consider, the point is, you really need to do a good bit of homework and/or prep to set yourself up for success.
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Boerje Ekstrand
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #3 - Feb 4th, 2019 at 12:41am
 
Jennifer Hassn Thanks now I know someone does use this method.😃

Ed Weber thanks a lot. A lot to think of. I live in East TN and have friends that are in the bussiness of taking down trees.

Yes the moisture has to get out from the area.
Planning to use dehumidifier with drain hose that gets out of the building, and trying to prevent moist air to get in.
Yes I have access to a lot of wood.
Ok I need to solve how to measure moisture at start and stop God idea thanks.
Planning on using a good size 70 pints dehumidifier in kombination with fans.
Yes I think i have a realistic time perspective as for now it takes years for a half a log bowl blank to dry.
Also I didn't think so far of taking moisture down in steps, that's very good idea to prevent cracking.
So far I have dried some small wood pieces in a cabinet where I drilled holes in the shelfs and installed a small computetfan and a 40w light bulb.
Now at what relative moisture % can I consider the wood dry. My house not workshop normally stays around 30 - 45% relative humidity, I think it's my heat and air that fixes that.
So I'm thinking that if I get the wood down to 30% then it will not meet to big challenge after being turned and placed in the house?
Please hit me if I'm wrong I'm not easily offended.
Thank you booth so much for answering me.
Best Regards
BJ. Ekstrand.



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Don Stephan
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #4 - Feb 4th, 2019 at 8:37am
 
Two books might be helpful, Understanding Wood by Bruce Hoadley and Cut & Dried by Richard Jones.  The first has been in print for quite some time and a circulating copy might be in a local library, the latter was printed last summer I think.

Last fall I found on the Internet a document by I think a researcher at the US Forest Products Laboratory on small scale kilns.  The approach there was to build a free standing solar kiln so it is slightly different than using an existing building.

There may be significant differences between drying 4/4 and 8/4 lumber, thicker slabs, and rough turned bowl blanks.  I'm not sure how successfully one could try to dry all three together.
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #5 - Feb 4th, 2019 at 10:53am
 
Boerje Ekstrand wrote on Feb 4th, 2019 at 12:41am:
Yes I think i have a realistic time perspective as for now it takes years for a half a log bowl blank to dry.


Drying thick logs is more an art than science, once you get over 8/4 your logs may never really dry in the center.

I had a friend who owned a saw mill and dealt with exotic logs. I personally saw whole, 1/2 and 1/4 logs that were decades old and were still above 30% moisture content in the center. These logs were stickered and/or cross stacked so air can flow around then in a well ventilated, protected area. One ebony log that was ~6-7" round and by the owner's estimation was ~35 years old was still way above 30% in the center when cut into 5/4 cello fingerboards (they were kiln dried at this point).

Another problem with trying to dry thick logs in a kiln to quick is there is a very good chance that you may case harden the outside and then the center will never dry out.  Many of us have seen this happen with 4/4 and 8/4 lumber when we split a perfectly straight piece of lumber on a table saw only to find it twists as we are cutting it or warps overnight. Many of us feel that we have released the stress in the wood and while this is partially true it is also possible that the wood was case harden and the center had more moisture than the outside and once it was exposed to the air it warped.

I would suggest the following

Seal the last 6" or so of each end of every log then dead stack them, preferably in a protected area and off the ground. When needed cut off the last 6"-12" of the log (use the ends as firewood) then cut the remaining into bowl blanks and rough turn to dry.
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Ed Weber
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #6 - Feb 4th, 2019 at 11:22am
 
Boerje Ekstrand wrote on Feb 4th, 2019 at 12:41am:
Planning to use dehumidifier with drain hose that gets out of the building, and trying to prevent moist air to get in.

You still need to exchange the air at some interval.
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Boerje Ekstrand wrote on Feb 4th, 2019 at 12:41am:
Ok I need to solve how to measure moisture at start and stop God idea thanks.

Well not a God idea but the main point of a kiln Grin

Boerje Ekstrand wrote on Feb 4th, 2019 at 12:41am:
Now at what relative moisture % can I consider the wood dry.

This depends on the purpose. Woodturners use wood at basically any MC
Traditional (flat) woodworking typically requires wood to be close to 10% (this depends on who you ask)

Boerje Ekstrand wrote on Feb 4th, 2019 at 12:41am:
Please hit me if I'm wrong I'm not easily offended.


You should have lead with that  Roll Eyes Grin

I'll also add, use a "proper" wood sealer designed for drying.
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Don R Davis
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #7 - Apr 28th, 2019 at 8:44pm
 
At one time in my life, I worked at a flooring mill. The lumber was mostly oak and it was stacked out in the yard until the moisture came down to 12%, and then it was put into the kiln. I can't remember how long they kept it in the kiln but it came out of the kiln at about 6%.
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #8 - Apr 29th, 2019 at 10:14am
 
Well, in retrospect, my friend (did a sharpening video with him because he did every thing different than I did) Larry Karlin, had a dehumidifying kiln. A light bulb or two, a dehumidifier that had a drain to the outside, and a fan. Room was probably 10 by 6 feet or so. Can't remember how long he left stuff in. Most of it was 1 inch stock. I have never used a moisture meter, in part because I like green turned warped bowls, and in part because after a while, I didn't need the meter because I could 'feel' how dry it was. Solar kilns are another option and don't require electricity.

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John Cepko
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #9 - May 3rd, 2019 at 8:33pm
 
Part of the drying process for graded lumber is to take the kiln temperature above 120 degrees for a period of time.
This is done to kill bugs that may be residing in the wood.
Also, keeping a constant kiln temperature is the important part.
The heating and cooling of the wood draws moisture in and out leading to checks.
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Micheal Gipson
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #10 - Jul 8th, 2019 at 7:26pm
 
Is there any way to kill the bugs if you don't have a kiln? I got my hands on some Civil War Walnut and it's filled ants. I don't think they'll be too friendly if I spin them at 1200 RPMs. Lmao.
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #11 - Jul 9th, 2019 at 9:17am
 
A non-toxic method is to use Diatomaceous Earth or DE.
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Re: The Noble art of drying wood.
Reply #12 - Jul 9th, 2019 at 6:02pm
 
Ok, thank you.
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