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Author Topic: Drying walnut slabs  (Read 2868 times)

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Offline Wes06

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Drying walnut slabs
« on: May 12, 2018, 10:23:07 PM »
In another month ill be having someone cut up a large walnut log for me Its 4ft across.  I need a little advice on what I should do after he cuts it into 2.5" slabs.  I know sticker it an let it air dry for at least a year an seal the ends of it . but Is their anything to put on the slabs itself to keep from splitting an warping .Any advice would be great thanks

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2018, 08:21:46 AM »
You've pretty much got it covered.  Just put the slab in a flat, shady place out of the rain, and put a lot of weight on it.  
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Offline Wes06

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2018, 09:26:39 AM »
Ok that's what I will try.     After a year sitting can I have them kiln dryed the rest of the way? Which kiln would be best to use for them also?

Offline Larry

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2018, 12:48:32 PM »
You won't find a kiln to dry it unless you have a full load or they are drying lumber of the same thickness.  Some will say they can put your thick slabs in with a load of thinner lumber but it doesn't work well.

Dependent on use, air dried will work well in many applications.  If you really want kiln dry put the slabs near a wood stove or in the closest when your wife has her back turned and leave for a year.

I had a couple hundred thick walnut crotch slabs for my use but down to the last 10.  A few were dried in my solar kiln but most were just air dried.  This is one I turned into an 18" platter last week.

Something for the walnut fiend in General Woodworking 
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2018, 08:49:33 PM »
Keep the rain off.

Use a good end sealer like Anchorseal...two coats.  Also coat any large knots.

By September (in most locations), you will have the wood down about as low as it will get until Sprin 2019.  So, I suggest that you plan on kiln drying on October 1, 2018.  A solar kiln for this one load would run $1000 perhaps, as you do not need all the special features and fancy construction.  Build it on a trailer and then next summer you can sell it...empty it first!
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline Wes06

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2018, 09:37:03 PM »
Thanks for the info.   I was just curious cuz its 48" at bottom an 63" at top at crotch . For how big it is I didn't know if their was something special to do .    My uncle has a woodmizer lt30 so ill talk him into building a solar kiln so I can use it

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2018, 10:03:12 PM »
Crotch wood will try to move.  A few thousand pounds will help keep it flat, you can't put on too much, park a spare car on it if you have one. :D

A solar kiln is a great sawmill project.  I built one many years ago, and still use it.    
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2018, 11:04:52 PM »
A kiln of any type (solar, DH, hot water) is a business expense that can be depreciated, tax-wise.  So,you might need a building permit, but if you make money in your business, you can write off the expense...see your accountant for the procedure.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline Don P

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 01:28:04 PM »
Permitwise, it is a piece of equipment and it is ag ;)

Offline maderahardwoods

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 03:14:29 PM »
I would recommend cutting thick, minimum of 3-1/8" for something that wide.  It will move and shrink, something that wide you are going to want some meat left over once you flatten.  

Offline Wes06

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2018, 10:47:02 PM »
Ill definitely weight it down with a lot of blocks.  An ill probably go thicker then 2.5 just to be safe I don't wanna mess these pieces up.   Does anyone know what they could be worth when dryed?

Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2018, 06:30:37 AM »
Does anyone know what they could be worth when dryed?


Do you have some pix of the slabs? That will help in determining value. Pricing, it's ALL OVER the board, but plan on doubling your $ each step of the process you take it: from tree to log, from log to slab, from slab to kiln dried material, from dry slab to flattened/finished surface, from flattened/planed/sanded to table and so on...

Good luck. Be patient.
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
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Offline Wes06

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2018, 07:59:38 PM »
I dont have pictures of the slabs I will hopefully soon once I get the log cut.   Have another question the shed i was going to put the slabs in to air dry isn't available now. so I was wondering if I could put the slabs in my shop?   I have a window a/c unit in their to keep it from getting  to warm an to keep some air movement . Dont know if thats the right thing to do or not but the door will be shut 95% of the time or do i need a dehumidifier an no a/c unit.

Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2018, 08:12:37 PM »
I dont have pictures of the slabs I will hopefully soon once I get the log cut.   Have another question the shed i was going to put the slabs in to air dry isn't available now. so I was wondering if I could put the slabs in my shop?   I have a window a/c unit in their to keep it from getting  to warm an to keep some air movement . Dont know if thats the right thing to do or not but the door will be shut 95% of the time or do i need a dehumidifier an no a/c unit.


Put them outside under some tins/roofing. Opt for a shady spot if you have it. Keep the sun off them if possible. 
Be sure to seal the ends. Also, use stickers that are at least 3/4 or 1" thick (no tobacco lath stuff) and place where it can get some air flow!
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
LT40HD Wide 35HP Diesel
Baker Portable Edger with Kubota Diesel
Kubota M62 Tractor/Backhoe
WoodMizer KD250 Kiln

Offline Larry

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2018, 09:07:39 PM »
I have a window a/c unit in their to keep it from getting  to warm an to keep some air movement . Dont know if thats the right thing to do or not but the door will be shut 95% of the time or do i need a dehumidifier an no a/c unit.
I often air dry my highest quality lumber in the shop.  Wood heat in the winter and air condition in the summer.  Usually only run the AC from 1PM to 9PM.  I keep a fan blowing on the stickered lumber 24 -7.

When I built my house I finished the large double car garage first.  Than I dried, I suppose, 4,000 board foot of red oak using a large dehumidifier.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2018, 04:27:16 AM »
When I built my house I finished the large double car garage first.  Than I dried, I suppose, 4,000 board foot of red oak using a large dehumidifier.


Whoa. Drying red oak inside (especially a quantity of it) will put a caustic tannic acid atmosphere into your space. Anything metal will rust like crazy. Ask me how I know. :-X
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
LT40HD Wide 35HP Diesel
Baker Portable Edger with Kubota Diesel
Kubota M62 Tractor/Backhoe
WoodMizer KD250 Kiln

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2018, 06:55:34 AM »
Drying wood inside can raise the humidity, if the dehumidifier is not large enough.  Of course, with just one or two pieces, the added moisture is not that much.  A better place would be in an attic that is vented normally, but do not put tOo much weight up there.

The acids released from some species can be an issue for sure.  Commercial kilns even have issues from this.  Likewise, the resins from pine and cedar can be issues.

A single piece of fresh oak that weighs 10 pounds actually has over 4 pounds of water that will be released.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2018, 10:11:22 AM »
Wes, your profile does not list where you are located; if you can provide that info we can give you better advice.

We mill and dry a lot of large black walnut slabs.  



 


Here is what I would suggest.

Apply a quality end sealer to the ends of the log before milling.  It's much easier to apply to the log instead of the individual boards.

Based upon the fact that it's a wide, crotch log, mill across the crotch width wise and capture the pith in the center slab.  Mill at 3" - 3-1/4" thick green; it will dry down to 2.5" - 2.75".  You will typically net out around 1.75" - 2" after flattening.

Stack and precisely sticker the slabs making sure that the stickers are dry and in line with one another from top to bottom. To start the drying process, air dry outside under cover until this fall as Gene advised and then move the slabs into a solar kiln over the fall and winter (or a DH kiln if you have access to one).  They should be dry by next spring in a solar kiln, or within 4 weeks in a DH kiln.  

For your air drying, stack them outside under cover.  A carport structure such as this is ideal to put them under.  



 

You can generally buy these locally for $500 - $600.00 and then sell them when you're done and get most of your money back.  They are ideal for air drying because they protect the stacks from sun and rain, yet allow unrestricted air flow.  Locate the slabs to that the long side is perpendicular to the prevailing winds.  You want the wind to easily be able to flow through your stacks from side to side.  Be sure that the dunnage under the bottom layer of the stack is flat!  Any variations in the bottom layer will telescope up through the stack and reduce their value.

Retail prices for the kiln dried slabs varies based upon a lot of factors (including length), but considering the width and fact that it's crotch wood you should have a product that sells for $20.00 bd ft or higher (based upon rough sawn dry dimensions).

Whatever you do, don't try to dry them too quickly or you may damage them and reduce their value.

Best of success to you.
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Offline Wes06

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2018, 08:05:20 PM »
I am located in central illinois.    An thanks for all the info.    I can build a shelter like the carport I have the materials to do it instead of buying.   Then this fall I may move them into my shop an try to dry them down some if my uncle doesn't have his kiln built by then . My shop has heating in the concrete don't know if it matters or not.

Offline Larry

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Re: Drying walnut slabs
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2018, 08:15:42 PM »
I neglected to put in my last post the red oak was air dried before moving it into the garage.  Makes a difference.

Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.


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