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General Forestry => Drying and Processing => Topic started by: Doug Wis on February 09, 2014, 10:34:02 PM

Title: drying slabs
Post by: Doug Wis on February 09, 2014, 10:34:02 PM
   Reading the archives on this subject it seems that everyone agrees that there is no easy and fast way to do it. I plan on making a large trestle table from white pine. We sawed slabs last winter 4" thick by 20 to 24" wide with one square edge and one live edge. They are in the middle of a mixed pile of 1 and2" air drying. My plans are to put them back on the mill and skin them to 3" to give a fresh true face then glue and or fasten with dowels or splines the two sawn edges together  to make a wide slab with both edges live.  My question is this . I had thought about drilling a series of holes 1/2 to 3/4" into the sawn edge  12 to 15" deep maybe 6" apart to allow moisture to escape and let them dry more. Maybe put them in a shed that gets hot in the summer sun. Does anyone think this idea has any merit or is my twisted mind messing with me again?  thanks for your thoughts.
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: Ianab on February 09, 2014, 11:05:30 PM
Pine dries a LOT faster than most hardwood. I'd hazard a guess that even 3-4" thick boards would be "air dry" in not much more than 12 months? You can  also use much more "aggressive" drying methods without harming it. (Higher temps, lower humidity) etc. It's hard to dry it too fast.

I don't think the hole drilling would cause any problems, but I also don't think you need to go to all that bother either.

Hot shed in summer, with a couple of fans to move the air, they will dry out.

Ian
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: LittleJohn on February 10, 2014, 02:55:02 PM
About the live edge, are you trying to keep the bark on or is it ok to fall off?  Just wondering cause I have had a few customer want bartops with bark and I told them I would saw them, but no gaurentees about bark staying on; even those i suggested a finish nailer to hold it on
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: red oaks lumber on February 10, 2014, 06:29:46 PM
you can keep the bark on if the tree is very fresh cut and you saw it right away and put in a kiln and put the smack to it, the bark should hold if you get the heat high enough and long enough to kill any bark bettles :)
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: 5quarter on February 26, 2014, 05:23:54 PM
Something else that helps keep the bark tight is to saw your logs in the fall. not sure why, but its true.  ;D
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: shelbycharger400 on February 27, 2014, 04:11:14 PM
helps keep the bark on if ya dont let them sit for a few years before ya saw them too..lol   I watched a bowl turning video , they used super glue on the point where bark goes to wood.  Pine bark isnt all that entertaining, so I usually peel them coming off the mill.  4 inch thick ...well..  thats gunna be hefty.  I have a top set in pine in the garage thats at around 2,  and an elm bout the same, took about 2 years for both to "normal" out.   Red pine, and Jack pine dry differently and a LOT slower than white pine.  I didnt sticker either set, just cause I know its going to be a table and I wanted them to do what their going to do and destress (warp if needed)   .        IF your going to dowel them together,  setup a fence and a jig,  use dowels and leave them at 4 inch.  just find someone with a big planer and plain them .   I had some mantles here cut at 4 to 5 inch thick, cut over a year or 2 ago  I resawed them into boards this spring and the cores still had over 15% moisture, but then again, it was red pine.
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: GAB on February 27, 2014, 07:40:33 PM
shelbycharger400:
Don't rule out using a wide belt sander instead of a big planer.
A wide belt sander might be easier to find, however it might take more passes.  Gerald
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: Doug Wis on March 11, 2014, 10:50:03 PM
    I am planning on just sanding the surface  and then using the thick poly coating  evirotex lite over that.  Makes kind of a different textured surface look and the poly makes it smooth and cleanable. Have seen counters in hotels and such and looks kind of nice .time will tell.
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: Ianab on March 11, 2014, 11:41:53 PM
Issue you may get is if the slabs cup or twist a bit as they dry. It may not be much, but a 1/4" cup across a table top is noticeable.

Once my slabs are dry I resurface them with a router jig. Basically a big router and flat bit, mounted on the mill frame in my case, but there are all manner of "bridge" jigs that will work. This will both smooth and true up the surfaces again. and they then only need a light sand to remove the machining marks.
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: xlogger on March 12, 2014, 05:03:35 AM
Ianab. I'd like to know more on how you use your router with flat bit to surface the slabs. Is there a pic or video somewhere on it? Ricky
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: ESFted on March 12, 2014, 08:09:58 PM
Xlogger,
Router flattening works on the principle in this video.  You just have to adopt to your situation.
http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/videos/flattening-workbenches-and-wide-boards-with-a-router/
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: xlogger on March 13, 2014, 06:32:23 AM
thanks, I see how it is done now.
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: Ianab on March 13, 2014, 07:11:46 AM
Yup, what EFSted has posted is the general idea.

My rig clamps the router to the sawmill carriage to give a similar result.

(http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10460/ianab_slab_surfacer02.jpg)

(http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10460/ianab_slab_surfacer04.jpg)

(http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10460/ianab_slab_surfacer05.jpg)

(http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10460/ianab_slab_surfacer06.jpg)

(http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10460/ianab_slab_surfacer07.jpg)

Like the guy in the video says, you just run the router over the slab, and anything that's sticking up over a certain height gets trimmed off. End result is a nice flat slab.

Of course the ultimate is the swing blade mill with a planer attachment. A 12" router bit with ~20 hp driving it.  8) Bolting a router to the mill is a poor mans version of this.

Just be warned, it's loud, and it's messy  :D

Ian
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: shelbycharger400 on March 13, 2014, 05:57:23 PM
gab...

trying to find a big belt sander is about as impossible as a big plainer.   If I had $  id buy a bridgeport and make the rolls with carbide inserts for the rollers.    Its something im looking at to Offer as it would be easier to sell a slab already plained than just rough sawn.  Its been kinda intimidating to a few that have picked up a few slabs that are 20+ in wide and 8 feet long that are rough sawn.
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: Doug Wis on March 24, 2014, 10:42:07 PM
  Ianab:   I plan on putting them back on the mill just before I start building the table  and true up both sides. that's why I sawed them 4" thick. Probably will end up around 3" finished thickness.
Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: jueston on March 26, 2014, 09:39:40 AM
gab...
trying to find a big belt sander is about as impossible as a big plainer.   If I had $  id buy a bridgeport and make the rolls with carbide inserts for the rollers.    Its something im looking at to Offer as it would be easier to sell a slab already plained than just rough sawn.  Its been kinda intimidating to a few that have picked up a few slabs that are 20+ in wide and 8 feet long that are rough sawn.

i know of 2 or 3 cabinet shops around the twin cities that will rent you their large drum sanders by the hour. so depending on how many slabs you sell, it might be worth it to get a few sanded down and see how they sell...

the one a is closest to me charges $75.00 / hour for thickness sanding, and they have a 52 inch capacity.

you could look into cabinet shops near you...

Title: Re: drying slabs
Post by: venice on July 14, 2014, 05:37:44 AM
Back in the days fresh cut pine was pretty much the only wood available to us. No kiln around so airdrying was in order. Our rule of thumb, 1 year per 10 mm thickness to "airdry". Since stickered boards are drying from both sides, 1 year for 22mm boards, 2 years for 40 mm. When ever possible we would let it sit longer just to make sure. Target MC was around 12% - 14%. Hardwood like beech, oak or ash would sit at least the double time in the drying shed. Patience is the key. If you are storing thicker boards like yours in an "hot" place, i would expect to see cracks if the actual MC is still to high.

To join your boards later on, depending on your equipment, dowels are a good option but you could also use splines. A table saw would be all you need. IŽd use splines for a table top.

Hope it helps. venice