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Thread: Drying wood

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    Treehouser Sponsor arborworks1's Avatar
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    Default Drying wood

    For some small projects. What is the best way to dry wood? Let it dry in log form? or cut the rough shape out then dry it?

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    Mac Daddy Sponsor Al Smith's Avatar
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    It will dry faster cut into lumber than it will in the log .

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    Treehouser Sponsor PCTREE's Avatar
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    wood won't dry as a log so yes you have to cut it or split it to get it to try. What are you trying to do??

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    Treehouser Sponsor arborworks1's Avatar
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    Rough tables and benches. Is my current project. Last tabletop I attempted, Cracked down the middle.

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    Island Girl Sponsor vharrison's Avatar
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    Maybe Jay can give you some tips.
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    Mac Daddy Sponsor Al Smith's Avatar
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    To dry a big slab of wood properly takes a long time .It might be such a thing as to slobber it up with anchor seal and let it dry slowly over a period of years .

    I attempted this method on a 54" slab of soft maple I cut for friend of mine 12 or so years ago .It's been about 5 years since I've seen it but at that time it had not split .My pal suffered a stroke and I've not seen him or the wood since .Poor guy it went into a form of dementia just like my father .

    Trivia: Years ago they used to pour linseed oil in the top of "Cigar store Indians " and other carved figures to prevent them from splitting .There might be a method to preserve the wood with some type oil treatment but I really cannot say .

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    Dormant hero!! Sponsor sotc's Avatar
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    Also what is the best way to dry a cross cut section? I'd like to make a table like that from a 5'-6' diameter round?
    Willie
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    Nick from Ohio Sponsor bonner1040's Avatar
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    Willie, I have been trying to dry rounds, they always crack. I would really like to know how to get them to dry successfully.
    Nick from Ohio

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    TreeHouser Sponsor woodworkingboy's Avatar
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    If the wood is a species that will want to warp or crack a lot, you are better off keeping it on the log form for a time to lose the initial moisture while the movement is locked up, then sawing it will usually give more stable material. Taking off the bark can help in keeping out the bugs. If you only need smaller stock for something, movement isn't such a problem. The majority of woods that are known as suitable for woodworking, you can usually saw up quickly, but better to take movement into consideration, and have oversize thickness from the saw, and additional length for cracking. Air drying outside, but before beginning the project, bringing the wood inside will have it usually drop another percentage or two in moisture content. One or two points can make a big difference, stabilizing to the atmosphere. Not a bad idea to rough out your parts when you bring it inside, but even something that has been air drying for a number of years outside, can get some end checking, especially if a breeze through an open window or something, contacts it. Slow procedure is the best, bring it inside for a couple weeks, then rough the parts out and have them sit like that for a bit more time. Leave some extra length. Many times you can get away with making finish parts immediately after bringing inside, but it is a little risky, and if you aren't in a hurry, cut the wood some slack and let it do what it wants to do. It refuses to listen to commands is something I learned a long time ago.

    Rounds are tough to dry. I think the best way is to completely cover them with a sealer to way slow down the drying process, and have them sitting inside with minimal air movement. Dry as slow as possible. Some day when you remember that you have them, you might find that they are then dry and haven't cracked. If that doesn't suit your needs, one slice from the outside down into the center, will often allow the movement without cracking (much). It's the way timber framers will sometimes use greener lumber, put a saw kerf into the wood that will absorb the expansion, then often fill the gap in later. If they are real nice rounds, I don't think the slice is so bad, if it's the only way you can get something without ugly cracks. I don't think I would fill in the gap on a round...maybe if it could come out looking ok.

    Moisture in wood is a real nemesis, something only time to dry without question can remedy. Slow drying can allow success when the fibers have an easier time of it adjusting to the transition.
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    TreeHouser Sponsor flushcut's Avatar
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    I have read that cutting rounds at an angle, the steeper the better, helps with cracking. I have cut some large thin rounds(46"dx4"t) for a guy 7 years ago using that method and they still have not cracked. Also soaking the wood in ethylene glycol (antifreeze) works but is very expensive.