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Thread: How Long does it take for Green wood to dry?

  1. #1
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    How Long does it take for Green wood to dry?

    I just recently checked Craigslist for free cabinets and found a BUNCH of people who have sizable logs of Birch, Oak, and Maple available. What I am wondering is if I pick thse up, make rough boards with my BS, and then store them in my basement, how long will it take until the wood is OK to use?

    Is there any way to expedite this process?? Is it worth waiting for? I don't have a planer yet- but if I have a ton of oak, birch, and maple to use I thin I could justify the cost. Until then- my main projects are going to be workshop fixtures and cabinetry and home improvement cabinetry (built-ins and kitchen cabinets).

  2. #2
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    One year per inch of thickness is the usual rule of thumb for air drying. Can vary by species, and the thicker the wood, the longer it will usually take to dry (i.e., 12/4 or 3" thick wood might need four to five years). This is one reason a lot of us buy rough wood whenever we have the opportunity and figure out what to use it for later.

    Most basements are far from the ideal environment: too cool, too damp. An outdoor shed, enclosed enough for weather protection but open enough for good ventilation, is best.

    Plan on investing in a moisture meter. The current issue of Woodworking Magazine (the slim one with no ads) contains an excellent comparison review.

    Only ways to expedite the process is to saw the wood thinner, or have the wood dried in a kiln.
    Larry

  3. #3
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    One other option is to find a saw mill near you with a kiln. They can cut your logs into boards and then dry them for you at a very reasonable cost.

    You can check www.forestryforum.com for more info on sawmilling and drying. It may be of help to you!
    Turaj (in Toronto)
    "When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading!" Henny Youngman

  4. #4
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    Crap- well I don't have enough room for a shed, and I don't think in the metro area there's too many sawmills. This is probably stupid, but could you make a kiln or dry in an oven?

    If not, I think that it may be pointless for me to bother air drying lumber....

  5. #5
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    You can make solar-based drying kilns. There are plans. They greatly speed up the process but it still takes several weeks for the wood to dry.

    As far as mills go, check around. You might be surprised what you find.
    David

    The chief cause of failure in this life is giving up what you want most for what you want at the moment.

  6. #6
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    You can make your own kiln from almost nothing to no more than a couple of hundred dollars. Do a google search for solar kiln.

    There was a guy on the old Ryobi forum that made one and was very happy with it.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryG
    This is one reason a lot of us buy rough wood whenever we have the opportunity and figure out what to use it for later.
    You mean to say that you guys are buying up wood to use 5 years later!? Wow! I don't think I'll ever be that patient!! What does it cost versus what you can get at an exotics lumberyard (s2s, etc)?
    Never met a bargain I didn't like.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidtu
    You mean to say that you guys are buying up wood to use 5 years later!? Wow! I don't think I'll ever be that patient!! What does it cost versus what you can get at an exotics lumberyard (s2s, etc)?
    It is a little like going to a supermarket for some specific items and seeing a great sale on some other regularly used items and buying them although you have have some at home already.

    Buying rough cut wood at a cheap price is an investment for sure. It is for those who are pretty sure that they are going to be using it or could certainly use it in the future. Buying $200 of rough cut wood at $1 to $2 a board ft green now is sure better than $6 to $8 for finished wood now or paying even more in 2 to 5 years.

    It is not necesarily a good investment for someone new to woodworking - until it is for sure that you will continue in it. Woodworking is not always my primary hobby, but I have built things off and on over the past 40 years to the extent that I know I will not be wasting a good buy.

    An exotic wood store in Memphis wanted almost $200.00 for a 2X8 by 5 ft kiln dried clean Holly this past spring. It sure makes rough cut green Holly as well as others look GOOD!
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by leehljp
    Buying $200 of rough cut wood at $1 to $2 a board ft green now is sure better than $6 to $8 for finished wood now or paying even more in 2 to 5 years.
    Exactamundo. Also, a hobbyist woodworker is in a different situation from a production shop that is working to order. A hobbyist may have some specific ideas of what he wants to make but a lot of us just want to make SOMEthing, ANYthing, and sometimes the wood that's on hand will suggest what the next project will be.

    OTOH, those of us who aspire to make a few bucks from woodworking (as I do, someday) never know what someone might want, so having a good supply of wood on hand has obvious advantages.

    There's also the possibility of reselling the wood if one runs into another WWer in need.
    Larry

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by leehljp
    You can make your own kiln from almost nothing to no more than a couple of hundred dollars. Do a google search for solar kiln.

    I'm not sure if solar kilns do this, but I remember reading about someone building essentially a big plywood box, probably , sealing it well with caulk, etc, and then running a dehumidifier in there to suck the moisture out, with the water draining outside the box via a tube/hose. not sure how much faster the wood dried, or where I saw it. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

    -Lance

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