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Author Topic: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs  (Read 452 times)

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Offline kaskers

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Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« on: January 30, 2019, 09:31:09 AM »
There was a large hickory down in my parents pasture in northeast Georgia for a few years, but it was kept a few feet off the ground because of how it fell.  I had someone mobile mill it for me in October. It is milled into 2 and 3 inch thick slabs that are 14 feet log and about 17 inches wide.

So it has been air drying on my porch in upstate South Carolina for about 4 months now.  I bought a $50 Dr. Meter induction moisture meter to monitor it this week and pretty much every board says it is down to 11.5 - 12.5%. The manual was a bit confusing. You have to set it to a density level, and there was no Hickory, but there was a Kickory.  I couldn't find anything on Kickory, so I went with it being a typo and set the density to 6 which was higher than the Oaks for example.

I've been doing a lot of reading online, and my understanding is that Hickory is 80% moisture green, and that it wouldn't have dried much at all those years in log form.  

Anyways to the point -- Is 11.5 - 12.5% complete b.s. for these slabs or does it sound about right.


Offline GAB

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2019, 09:53:06 AM »
Not knowing where you are I can't say with any certainty.
Here in VT with our atmospheric conditions anything less than 15% is a gift from the drying gods.
In some arid parts of the country that is possible.
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Offline Southside

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2019, 10:23:48 AM »
About this time last year I sawed some oak and hickory for a customer who had the logs sitting off the ground, in the sun, for several years. Much to my surprise, according to his meter, the MC on that lumber was what you are seeing there. 
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Offline kaskers

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2019, 10:33:43 AM »
Sorry, it is upstate SC and it has been a winter where it is just cold rain every day.  

Offline boonesyard

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2019, 12:05:57 PM »
I'm cutting dead oak and elm up here, and I'm seeing from 11%-13.5% consistently if it's been standing or off the ground for some time. 
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Offline bwstout

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2019, 01:07:09 PM »
I am a little further west and south in East Texas but 10 to 13 % is common here for air dried wood. I have a pecan that was lighting struck and had been standing for a year and it was at 20% when saw it up. But it air dried to 10% in year and I built a coupe of tables out of it. The key is before you use it for furniture is to let it acclimate to the climate in the home. You will have less movement, so for both tables and benches are still good. I have a stack of blue pine that I have inside my shop with a fan on it I check it yesterday and it was at 10 to 13 % through out the stack. So want be long and it will become farm tables.
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Offline Jemclimber

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2019, 01:14:53 PM »
I would have doubts that a 3" hickory slab will get that dry in 4 months especially this time of year. Does the pinless meter say the depth at which it is supposed to read? It may possibly be that dry at the surface.

If your hickory didn't have any large cracks along the circumference of the log before is was milled, it was not losing any significant moisture in the log form.

Offline WDH

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2019, 09:21:43 PM »
I dry a lot of pecan slabs, and I cannot get that low of a moisture content on thick slabs in 4 months.  I cut slabs 9/4 (2 3/8" thick rough).
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2019, 09:25:23 PM »
There is no way that the core of a 3 hickory slab will dry from green down to 12% MC in 4 months in your area.

What you are seeing is where the shell of the slabs have dried down to EMC%.  Inexpensive moisture meters only read 1/4 or so deep, so your meter is not giving you an accurate reading to the center of the slabs.

Realistically it will require around 2 summers worth of air drying before youll see 12% throughout those slabs.
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Offline kaskers

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2019, 02:01:19 PM »
Ok, thanks everyone.  I'm returning the meter.  I asked a much simpler form of this question to their support and they told me to just return the meter instead of attempting to answering my question so I'll give them what they want.  

I went ahead and bought some other slabs to fill out the most needed portions of the house so I can be more patient with these slabs.  

Offline K-Guy

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2019, 02:17:20 PM »
If that's what they call support for the meter, I would say they have a reliability issue and would avoid them.
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Offline kaskers

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2019, 04:38:04 PM »
Yeah I know... $50 meter -- get what you pay for... I'm just not in the business though. It is hard to justify a $200 meter that I might use 3 times over 2 years and then it becomes very iffy if I have a use for it again.  

Offline bluthum

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Re: Does this dryness sound right for Hickory slabs
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2019, 06:19:14 PM »
Your post says the tree was down for a few years but was kept off the ground. So was it dead for those few years or still alive? A dead tree can get down to air dried % before it is sawed but of course if it was dead when sawn you had a patient sawyer. My point is your M.C.readings could be correct if it was dead for long enough before milling. As for defects certain in logs dried with the limbs on there are always exceptions possible. 

Hickory is famous for fast rotting but can still be fine for a few years if off the ground. Or not.  The older I get the less I am certain about generalizations as to  how natural materials may behave.


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