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Author Topic: East to west or north to south - does it matter?  (Read 1839 times)

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Offline WV Sawmiller

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East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« on: October 26, 2015, 01:50:40 PM »
   I did a couple of site visits today and had a couple of people ask or suggest about whether cut lumber needed to be stacked oriented east to west or north to south. One guy said he had heard it made a difference in how straight the lumber dried. Anybody ever heard of this before?

   I can see where the lumber could get more sun and dry faster if the long side was oriented facing where it would get more sun if our hills and trees and such did not block the sun. I had never thought about it and figured it was more important to stack it where convenient and make sure there is good air flow.

   Any thought or suggestions on this?
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Offline AnthonyW

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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2015, 02:09:47 PM »
Off the cuff and based on the experience with my house (which has the ridge facing exactly north-south). Given the possibility and option to do so, I would orient the stickers east-west and the boards north-south, with the south end covered. Based on my house, I get even sun shine on the east and west walls, very little on the north wall, and obviously lots on the south wall. If the boards were oriented north-south there would be an equal amount of sun on the long side edges of the stacks, while the ends received less (north because it is in the shade and the south because it is covered). It also seems most of the wind to blow east-west.

Unfortunately, I do not get much of the option of where to put the lumber. So stacking based on the compass is irrelevant, but interesting topic to consider. I look forward to more scientific responses.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2015, 02:15:43 PM »
The lumber should be covered and shielded from direct sunlight.  I would be more interested in your prevailing wind direction.  Air movement is very important to remove moisture. 
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Offline Larry

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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2015, 02:20:40 PM »
I always stack oak north/south and most other woods east/west.  My reasoning is because our prevailing winds are north south.  Fresh cut green oak can deeply check when a hard March wind out of the south blows through the stack.  With oak stacked north south the stickers keep the wind from blowing through.  Easy to dry species like walnut and pine I want the wind blowing through the stack.
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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2015, 02:37:33 PM »
There we go, so location matters.   ;D
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Offline Ianab

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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2015, 02:55:00 PM »
I can see prevailing wind being more important than sun direction. Either to speed up or slow down drying as necessary. Same with location, pine that you need to dry fast, you want in the a windy location, orientated the stack catches the most wind. Oak etc that you want to dry slower can be put in a more sheltered spot.
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Offline AnthonyW

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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2015, 03:22:42 PM »
The lumber should be covered and shielded from direct sunlight.  I would be more interested in your prevailing wind direction.  Air movement is very important to remove moisture.

I wasn't necessarily referring to 'direct sunlight' as I am about indirect heating. When placed east-west, the ends of the boards would receive more indirect heating which would be very bad (where the ends need to dry slowest of all). It seems to me it would be preferable to keep the ends in the deeper shade/cooler orientation that the sides. This is accomplished in my area by getting ends oriented north-south and then cover the south end to the ground.
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Offline Kingmt

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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2015, 03:35:30 PM »
I've forget how I was told but I worked with a guy that could straighten a board by which faze of the moon it was. He could take a cupped or warped board & spray it with water & the next morning it would've moved the direction he said it would.

This concept is probably what has to do with how your wood is stacked.
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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2015, 06:31:13 PM »
     Agree with many of the above.  Direction of the sun don't mean a flip, as long as it's got a cover over it.  It's all about the air flow.
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2015, 07:14:36 PM »
an 8 foot pallet, a black tarp, lumber stacked and stickered in favor of prevailing winds.and a lots of sand bags works pretty good for me


 
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2015, 09:08:24 PM »
I consider myself lucky to find a good location to store and stick boards, compass heading is the least of my worries. Good free air movement is the most important. Frank C.
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Offline SineWave

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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2015, 07:30:12 AM »
I've only dried wood inside barns (new guy considering getting or making a bandsaw) but I do a lot of boating and know a bit about weather and can say with pretty good confidence that around here (and I suspect most parts of the East, if not the whole Northern Hemisphere):

prevailing wind is W, varying from WNW in winter to WSW in summer.
- south winds very often bring rain and usually carry more heat, humidity, commonly associated with low or falling pressure.
- north winds are very often drier and cooler, associated with rising or high pressure and clear weather.
- NE winds often last for days and often bring unstable weather and lots of rain, esp on the East coast.

Buys-Ballots Law: In northern hemisphere, if you face into the wind, and extend your right hand, your right hand will usually point to the center of (cyclonic) low pressure (think of how hurricanes rotate CCW in N hemisphere to remember this), as well as toward any approaching thunderstorm activity (miniature hurricane).

For whatever it's worth regarding wood drying...I usually don't have much to contribute here, but try to throw in 2 whenever I can...worth about what you paid for it!
 

Offline Banjo picker

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Re: East to west or north to south - does it matter?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2015, 09:46:39 AM »
I always stack oak north/south and most other woods east/west.  My reasoning is because our prevailing winds are north south.  Fresh cut green oak can deeply check when a hard March wind out of the south blows through the stack.  With oak stacked north south the stickers keep the wind from blowing through.  Easy to dry species like walnut and pine I want the wind blowing through the stack.
 

I have never thought about this.  I don't usually keep much lumber on hand at present anyway, but I did just recently build some drying racks and they are north south oriented.  Good reasoning there Larry.  Banjo
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