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Author Topic: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying  (Read 6680 times)

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Offline Glenn1

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Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« on: October 18, 2014, 03:10:59 PM »
I have 400 bf of walnut and plan on getting green 4/4 in cherry, maple, and anything else that looks good.  My question is about air drying for the initial stage (the kiln will come later).  I don't get too much air circulation due to all the trees on the property.  Scott in NC suggested that I pick up a couple of box fans which is what I have done.  Will air drying with fans give a similar result as conventional air drying or will the fans dry the wood too quickly?  Originally the center of the walnut was + 50% MC and now one month later, it is 33%.  The edges are now 16%.
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2014, 03:58:31 PM »
How did you measure or calculate those MC readings?
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Glenn1

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2014, 04:16:13 PM »
I have a Lignomat meter with 12' cables and 6 probes place at various depths. 
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Offline jdonovan

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2014, 06:52:50 PM »
  Will air drying with fans give a similar result as conventional air drying or will the fans dry the wood too quickly? 

Fans will accelerate the drying. Depending on local conditions temp/humidity/fan speed/air volume, it might create too rapid a drying rate.

Quote
Originally the center of the walnut was + 50% MC and now one month later, it is 33%.  The edges are now 16%.

If you are using a standard pin type moisture meter, you can't accurately be measuring 50%. Really above 20-25% is not accurately measurable with most pin meters.


Offline WDH

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2014, 09:44:05 PM »
I do it all the time.  With those species that you mentioned, you are good to go.  With the oaks, especially white oak, the fans can hurt you by too rapid drying and the resultant defects like honeycombing. 

So, it is species dependent.  You are OK with most species as long as it is not one of the oaks.  Maple, walnut, and cherry will dry faster with the fans, and in my experience, they tolerate it fine.  In fact, here in the deep South, you need fans on maple IMMEDIATELY after sawing to avoid sticker stain in the spring/summer/fall.  Forum member Yellowhammer and I have talked about this issue a lot.  Sticker stain can be a real problem down here, especially with maple and pecan. 
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2014, 10:00:35 PM »
I would "second" WDH's comments.  I would add that you do not need to run the fans at night when the RH is high, so use a timer...on about 2 hours after sun rise and off about two hours after sunset.

The fans will be most effective when above 40% MC, so no need to use them a lot after the first couple of weeks or month.

You should achieve under 20% MC easily.  For interior uses, the wood needs to be at around 7% MC, so you will need some additional drying.
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Offline Glenn1

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2014, 11:04:19 PM »
Thank you!  That is exactly what I needed to know.   8)
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Offline Banjo picker

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2014, 02:06:37 PM »
I have used fans on tulip poplar as well.  Built a tunnel out of some concrete forms  and put a couple of fans on one end.  It pulled it done pretty fast, I didn't know any better and just left the fans on 24/7.  Banjo
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2014, 10:21:27 PM »
Fan drying certain species of wood is very fast and saves lots of kiln time.  Also, as mentioned, fans are so effective in eliminating sticker stain in certain species of whitewoods that I won't even saw them unless I have at least a couple big fans ready and on standby.  Kudos to WDH for helping me experiment with this, and once you get the feel for it, it's simple, although there is a little bit of a learning curve as to which species of wood can tolerate the effects, but it works exceptionally well in the right situations.

This photo shows a couple big barrel fans sandwiched between pallets of wet maple prior to going into the kiln.  The fans are on "high" and run 24/7 for maple, but I use the speed selector on the fans based on the the species.  As imagined, these fans are putting a lot of air over the wood and evaporating a tremendous amount of water, so that on hot summer months, we'll sit on the downwind side of the stacks to catch the cool breeze.
 

Same thing, fans placed between stacks of wet poplar.  It's hard to see in this photo, but I have the fans tilted up to cover the upper boards in the stack.


The general idea is that above 40% MC wood will dry faster as the air velocity increases.  Below 20% MC wood will not dry appreciably faster as air velocity increases.  Between 40% and 20% MC the effects of air velocity diminishes.  At higher air velocities drying is more uniform.

So, in other words, immediately after sawing, when wood is very wet, the fans will have the maximum effect in drying, but as the wood dries, the effects of the fans decrease.  So you don't have to keep the fans on the wood very long, maybe two or three weeks at most.  Most of the drying is done the first week, then it tapers off as the the effectivness of the fans diminish. In the hot summer months, I find it is essential to put sticker stain prone wood in front of the fans for at least week, which draws off excess moisture and keeps the wood cool by evaporation, before I put it in the kiln.  Before I started using the fans, I wouldn't saw several species of wood in the dog days of summer because of the problems of sticker stain.

Some hardwoods such as oak will not stand high air velocities without creating significant defects while certain whitewoods and softwoods actually need much higher airflows to force rapid drying and reduce or eliminate sticker stain.  Referencing the published maximum moisture removal rates of woods species will give a good idea which ones will tolerate fast fan drying.

YH
 

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Offline mrector

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2014, 10:22:55 AM »
Hey I live just right up the road from you! Anyways I use two cheapo box fans on my lumber after cutting green. Works wonders and I run them 24/7 until they stop losing moisture. Then go into the kiln or stacked for finish air drying. Mostly black walnut and cherry.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2014, 07:41:07 PM »
Black walnut and cherry behave very nicely.

White oak is a delinquent. 
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Offline Glenn1

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2014, 08:21:15 PM »
 :D    :D    :D
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2014, 10:02:29 AM »
Black walnut and cherry behave very nicely.

White oak is a delinquent.

Not delinquent, independent and free thinking. ;D :snowball: :snowball: :snowball:
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Offline WDH

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2014, 08:06:52 PM »
It is acting slovenly in my kiln right now  :).
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Offline Denny

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2014, 07:46:20 AM »
I'll save everyone some Googling time...

slovenly adjective 

: messy or untidy
: done in a careless way
Full Definition of SLOVENLY
1:  untidy especially in personal appearance
b:  lazily slipshod <slovenly in thought>
2:  characteristic of a sloven <slovenly habits>
slovenliness noun
slovenly adverb

Examples of SLOVENLY
He dressed in a slovenly manner.
<for the sake of their image, the band members transformed themselves from clean-cut lads to slovenly rockers>
First Known Use of SLOVENLY
circa 1568

And then there's this...
http://slovenly.com/

Offline WDH

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2014, 08:59:53 PM »
I pulled the plug on the slovenly white oak.  Going into the sterilization cycle and heat those slovenly acting boards to 150 degrees for 24 hours.  That should teach them a lesson ( and any bugs, too)  :).
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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2014, 10:44:10 PM »
I pulled the plug on the slovenly white oak.  Going into the sterilization cycle and heat those slovenly acting boards to 150 degrees for 24 hours.  That should teach them a lesson ( and any bugs, too)  :).
That will certainly make them sweat. ;D
YH
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2014, 06:39:50 PM »
Danny's Sauna.   smiley_sweat_drop
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Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2014, 12:43:16 PM »
Danny, will you flood your kiln or somehow add moisture during the last few days?
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Re: Using Fans for the initial Air Drying
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2014, 08:35:33 PM »
The 8/4 white oak is still not dry.  I gave up on it.  I have more important fish to fry.  I will dry some sycamore, walnut, and red oak.  The white oak will have to wait on stickers.  8/4 white oak is awful stuff to dry  :).
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