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Air dry white oak

Started by Delwynn, March 12, 2024, 03:06:47 PM

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Question on air drying white oak to keep from checking. What is a safe way to air dry and keep it from checking? Keep in doors, away from excess air flow? Use shade cloth? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!


I've never had the room indoors to dry, but I would think that would be the safest. I've air dried outside and put a blue tarp on the windward side during hot dry spells. I also avoided sawing white oak during the spring because of the high winds, low humidity, and warm temperatures we often get during that period.

Last two loads went straight from the mill to the kiln. Least amount of degrade I've ever had, but I paid for it with a long time in the kiln. When I air dried first, I always had small surface checks that usually would plane out. Going straight to the kiln I didn't have any surface checking at all.
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We air dry outdoors under a roof.  No problems with surface checking. It's always best to start the drying process for thick oak during the cooler months.
Peterson 10" WPF with 65' of track
Smith - Gallagher dedicated slabber
Tom's 3638D Baker band mill
and a mix of log handling heavy equipment.


Drying slow is the answer. Hence things like shade cloth and at least starting the drying in early Winter. Many woods you need to dry fast, to prevent mould and staining, so you see folks aiming fans at their drying stacks to speed up the drying. While Oak is the opposite.

I'd be careful about drying inside, green Oak releases a lot of acidic tannin in the early stages of drying. Pretty corrosive, so you don't want it in your shop / garage / house.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)


The most common place for surface checking to start is in the green stack waiting for the next boards off the the green chain. Exposure to the sun and wind is the greatest during this time. Block the breeze and get the stack under a roof during stacking.

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