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Author Topic: Drying Pecan?  (Read 842 times)

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Offline Florida boy

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Drying Pecan?
« on: January 02, 2019, 10:06:43 PM »
I've got a chance to get some large pecan logs from hurricane Michel blow down. I've already bucked and hauled 2 - 9' 24" logs.  I plan to build a house and want to use these for flooring. There are still several butt logs in the 40" diameter. Would flat sawn 4/4 be the way to go or should I qrtr saw?
  I know pecan can be rough to mill but I believe these can make some great flooring. 
Should I dry this like oak with burlap around it? Or just regular air dry ? Or fans? Plan on using oil base paint as I have no anchorseal.
Also will be spraying timbor, I live in northwest Florida, 

Offline ellmoe

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2019, 06:05:15 AM »
We just air dry outdoors and finish in kiln after 6months + . Definitely treat with timbor , hickory is like ice cream to PPB. Biggest concern I'd have is splitting of lumber as it dries because of storm damage . If the tree blew over instead of breaking there may be no damage. We use hickory for flooring , just flat sawn. Wider widths will be more problematic .Good luck.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2019, 07:49:02 AM »
I would quartersaw it.  Ever how you go, Like Mark (ellmoe) says, narrow boards dry better.  Wide ones are much more prone to cupping.  You need to buy some anchorseal.  Latex paint is not useless as an end sealer, just close.  Get the anchorseal and then slice about a 3" cookie odff each end to expose fresh wood.  Then double coat with anchorseal. 
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2019, 09:08:21 AM »
Hickory moves with changes in MC more than many other species.  In your case, as flooring, there will.be cracks between the pieces in the winter.  If installed dry in the winter, then in the summer, the swelling can buckle the floor.  So, minimize problems with quarter and rift sawing, and by drying to 6.8% to 7.0% MC.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline mredden

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2019, 10:49:28 AM »
Another Hurricane Michael Pecan.

Had a scare due to my own stupidity. On Wednesday, I discovered that a 12' long, 30" wide 6/4 I had csmilled last Saturday had cupped 3/4 of an inch on its 30" width in 4 days - due to my own stupidity.

I'm generally only able to mill on Saturdays. I am milling this log primarily for a large, book-matched conference table I intend for my church. Saturday's cut was one of the two slabs I intend to use for bookmatching. (Although I will be able to find uses for the others).

As soon as I finished milling this slab, a typical Southern thunderstorm rolled in. Thus, I quickly moved it onto my sticker stack, stickered it, ratchet-strapped it down to the stack and covered it with a 36" wide roll of vct (think linoleum) flooring to protect it from the sun and rain.

Rain then started falling and I quickly gathered my tools and departed. What I forgot to do was put stickers so the top could breathe under the vct cover. When I dropped by the work site on Wednesday, I discovered the 3/4 inch cup. Hoping it had been caused by uneven drying, I uncovered it, loosened the ratchet straps and exposed the top to the sun. When I returned yesterday, the cup had reduced to less than 1/2 inch. By this morning, it was only about 1/8 of an inch or less. Whew! Re-strapped and stickered the top for air, then covered with the VCT.

Tomorrow, one more 6/4 slab to mill; then mill out 3.5" from the center cut for making some beams. Gotta reduce the log to 8 feet after that to avoid about 4 feet of nails, metal fencing, wire etc on the base.

Yup! still a Newb. :-\ At least this board taught me how to respond to my temporary scare.

Offline Florida boy

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2019, 07:23:05 AM »
I've cut about 15 slabs in the 2.5" thick by 30" or so with the csm. Been drying now a few months . I tried to stack as much weight as possible on them. Had the stack about 8' tall. A little bit of cup so far but the cracks are really showing . There probably 5 out of the 15 that aren't cracked and checked . I think I'll wait till cooler weather to cut and stack the rest. I've also have some mulberry to slab but the heat and other projects have kept me from the mill lately. I hope to build a kiln this winter . 95* with 80% humidity is no fun.

Online Don P

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2019, 07:41:52 AM »
I'm not sure with pecan but with mockernut and shagbark I get an unappealing grey stain in the sapwood, I guess an enzyme stain, when it dries slowly and its hot and humid.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2019, 08:18:48 AM »
In hot and humid conditions, pecan will gray stain as soon as you turn your back on the stack. 
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2019, 10:52:54 AM »
The four true hickory species and the four pecan hickory species have identical drying properties, as they are the same genus, and are all subject to grey stain, which is an oxidation of sugars and starches in the sapwood.  

With thick material, we need to dry very slowly at all times when the MC is high to control checking, and this slow drying is ideal for the oxidation discoloration.  When air drying high MC wood, even one or two days of excessively dry and windy weather will initiate cracking.  Of course, pecan trees used for nut harvesting will have excessive tensionwood, plus bacterial infections and varying grain angles, which means it will be impossible to dry such lumber, even 4/4, successfully.

Overall, pecan and hickory are the most difficult commercial US woods to dry.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline mredden

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2019, 12:58:50 PM »
Being a weekend hobbyist, I cut and stack very slowly. I might cut on one 30"+ log four or five consecutive Saturdays. Or skip a Saturday at some point. Volume is not my thing. I'm shooting for quality (I am a newb, We'll see in about six months when I send my first air dried load to a kiln)

I cover the log with vct (think linoleum) each night and all days that I am not cutting. (I get free vct remnant rolls from a client) When I remove the vct from the log, it will be quite moist even after two weeks.  I also ratchet strap and sticker each board at the job site immediately after cutting. I cover the top board with stickers under vct as I go. The boards are only exposed to sunlight only for an hour at most - usually only a few minutes.

The vct covers are to keep out sunlight and rain. I have never had pecan graystain using this vct cover method but had quite a bit of graystain before I adopted this method.

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2019, 09:35:32 PM »
Mredden...what thickness do you saw?  What state are you in?
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Online caveman

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2019, 10:23:18 PM »
My intention is not to hijack this thread but we have a piece of property that we will probably sell within the next year (under contract now) that has a few big hickories that are dying or damaged at the tops that will most likely be removed anyway for the imminent five or six house per acer subdivision.  Should we hold off until cooler weather to harvest and saw them soon?  It rains nearly every day now (five separate storms today) and the daytime highs are in the 90's.  One is probably 40' to the first branch and 40" dbh.

We discussed quartersawing the butt log and then live edge slabbing the ones above at 2 ", spraying with DOT, sealing the ends with Anchorseal and stacking to air dry for a while and then placing into the solar kiln.

I have sawn one pecan for a guy and never any pignut hickory (what we have) but the most impressive kitchen cabinets I have ever seen were made out of hickory - stunning and smooth as silk.

Experienced advice is welcomed. 

Caveman

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2019, 10:30:39 PM »
I would wait for cooler weather, your plan sounds good to me. Pignut is pretty to my eye. Hickory is just one of those woods, like beech, that I expect a lot of dimensional firewood from.
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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2019, 12:06:07 AM »
Gene:

I am in very humid Albany Georgia. I don't know our average humidity but suspect it is about Like Columbus, GA. High!

I have sawn  more 9/4 than anything else but just finished five 12 ft' 6/4 boards now air drying under a stckered vct top - on a frame- in an open field.as described above. They are all a beautiful reddish-gold . . . so far.  I have been pretty fanatical in handling them because the two that end up the best are for book matches conference table for my church.

I have a stack of 9/4 pecan and another of 9/4 southern red oak drying on a large warehouse porch that gets Morning sun. The top board on the pecan is suffering gray stain but those underneath look decent. The oak seems pretty unaffected.

Just bought a cheapie General Tools moisture meter today to keep in my truck box.  I have the occasional use of a pro grade Demhorst when I need to be more precise.



Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2019, 02:24:29 AM »
It sounds to me, Mredden, that you are doing things perfectly.  Hope to see you at the sawmill project next spring.

When sawing pecan and hickory, the thinner lumber dries better than over 8/4.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2019, 09:22:00 AM »
It sounds to me, Mredden, that you are doing things perfectly.  Hope to see you at the sawmill project next spring.

When sawing pecan and hickory, the thinner lumber dries better than over 8/4.




One of my 6/4 boards freshly sawn. This end is much wetter than the other end that was cut at the base of the tree.

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2019, 02:53:36 PM »
It sounds to me, Mredden, that you are doing things perfectly.  Hope to see you at the sawmill project next spring.

When sawing pecan and hickory, the thinner lumber dries better than over 8/4.
Shouldn't there be a pinned "Ask Gene" thread at the top of this board? :D

I would like to closely monitor the drying of this stack of boards on a weekly basis, mostly out of curiosity but I really want to know when it reaches EMC.

I intend to drive two nails into the center board in the stack separated by the same space as the pins of my meter. I may do one set in the heart and one set in the sapwood. The nails will be driven to a depth that reaches the center of the board (3/4" into these 6/4 boards). I plan on using galvanized nails to avoid rust from moisture and wood acids, but am unsure of their conductivity.

I will then attach a lead to the nails either by insulated alligator clip or possibly by soldering and insulating.

The other ends of the leads will be insulated alligator clips.

One my weekly monitoring, I'll just clip the alligator clips to the pins on my meter. Those clips will be tucked up into the stickered space so they are not affected by rain. I may even have them in a plastic box for additional protection.


Would this work to give me a better idea of how the whole stack is progressing than just sticking a board with my pins? Or, am I wasting my time/effort?

Nails to depth of center or should I go further? Say 1 and 1/4 inch?
Galvanized Nails? Copper wire leads?


Suggestions to improve this plan or to scrap it?

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2019, 03:21:41 PM »
Hi
Galvanization is just a coating that will slow down the effect of the tannic acids in the wood but not stop it. I would suggest aluminum nails in a pre-drilled hole to prevent corrosion.
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Drying Pecan?
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2019, 01:19:49 AM »
Use small diameter nails to avoid having a lot of heat travel inside.  Use bright nails, not coated.  Predrill the hole about 90% of the nail diameter.  Do not run the current all the time.  Rather just a few seconds.  Take the initial reading, and do not wait for 15 seconds or more for the reading to stabilize.

For fun, drive one pair of nails about 1/4 of the thickness and a second set nearby to 1/2. The shallow nails will give an estimate of the average MC and the deeper nails give the core.  Some folks will drive a set 1/8 of the thickness.  Any reading over 30% MC is questionable and unreliable.  These very shallow nails allow automatic kiln controls to get meaningful readings when the average is above 30% MC.

If you use pins and also the weight system, you will find some pieces of lumber will have close agreement and other do not.  Basically, you are measuring electrical resistance, which does not necessarily agree perfectly with the MC.  Variation at the end can be serious, so always use a regular moisture meter to confirm final MC.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more


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