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Author Topic: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks  (Read 4218 times)

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Offline WDH

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Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« on: April 25, 2008, 09:35:42 PM »
I air dried some red maple, about 1000 feet in one stack that was 6 feet wide.  I got some gray stain in the middle of the stack in the middle. 

Is 6 feet too wide for an air drying stack?  I admit I used 6 feet to make the stack more volume efficient. 

What do you believe is ideal for good air flow? 

I realize that with oak, you have to be careful not to get it drying too fast, so maybe a wider stack will slow the drying and keep the humidity up. 

I know that there are a number of factors that cannot be well controlled in air drying in a shed, but what would you target as the optimal stack width for most woods?

One last thing........I typically leave very little gap between boards on a layer, maybe 1/8th inch.  I assume that wider gaps will promote more air flow and minimize stain?  Would you use gap size to speed or slow drying?
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 Radar67

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2008, 09:43:23 PM »
Danny, I make my stacks 42 inches wide by as high as I can stack them. I also use my index finger as a spacer for the boards in the layer. That is basically a 3/4 inch gap all the way around the boards. I also cover the tops well to keep water from creeping in during rain. It seems to be working for me.
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Offline woodmills1

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2008, 09:44:11 PM »
stay at 4 foot or so.  One of my second trys was an 8 foot pine stack...........mold as big as the stack.  Saved me sticker time but ruined the wood.
James Mills,Lovely wife,collect old tools,vacuuming fool,36 bdft/hr,oak paper cutter,ebonic yooper rapper nauga seller, Blue Ox? its not fast, 2 cat family, LT70,edger, 375 bd ft/hr, we like Bob,free heat,no oil 12 years,big splitter, baked stuffed lobster, still cuttin the logs dere IAM

Offline Tom

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2008, 09:56:02 PM »
I stack 4-6 feet wide.  If you have a good air flow, you can put 8' in an open pole barn but I've learned to stay away from that wide unless I have to.

You shouldn't have any trouble at 6'.   You can also butt the lumber together.  It will shrink and leave a gap.  Using a finger is a good idea if you want to leave a gap, but it is really helpful only when the lumber and gaps line up vertically.   I've made stacks that draft like a chimney when the lumber is all one size.  You can test it with some cigarette smoke, if you smoke, or some smoldering grass if you don't.  Just don't set your stack on fire.  :D

The most important thing is to have good air movement through the stack.
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Offline metalspinner

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2008, 10:15:43 PM »
Another thing to watch out for is the cover that you use.  I have been using tarps, but just learned the hard way that that is not a good idea.  My guess is that UV light had broken the tarp down over the past year or so, so water has been pouring through for some time. >:(  I really should build a drying shed around my stacks.
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Offline Radar67

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2008, 10:33:04 PM »
I cover mine with tin or masonite siding (had a sign maker give me a used, painted stack).

The heavy silver tarps will last about 15 months, the cheap blue ones about 9 months.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2008, 10:55:12 PM »
Fortunately, I have a lot of air drying shed space. 

I will be cutting green pine for Dodgy Loner tomorrow.  Tom,  will 6 feet wide be OK for the pine?
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Offline Tom

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2008, 11:09:09 PM »
Yessir!   Forgiving stuff, pine.    Don't stack it next to a wall and make sure there is air flow.   Can't see a problem.
Sweep off all of the sawdust.  A 1:3 or 1:5  household bleach to water mixture in a garden sprayer and dampen (mist) the lumber as you stack will help to kill any spores that might be on the wood's surface. Not necessary, but I do it for really pretty lumber. Doesn't have to be on both sides.  I just dampen the top of each deck as I build it.

Tarps!!!!!    NO. NO. NO

Tarps will keep the air from flowing  through the stack.   Even three inches of overhang forms a three inch green house.   Tarps aren't for drying wood.

The tin is a good idea.  Anything that doesn't droop over the sides of the stack and protrudes far enough to the side that rain doesn't blow in bad.  Essentially you are making a drying shed out of your stack of wood.

I had even entertained building a trussed roof that I could sit on top of a stack when I got through.   You could tie it to the ground with mobile home anchors and run binders under the stack too.   It would still not be a permanent structure and should pass as portable to a taxing assessor.
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Offline Woodchuck53

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2008, 12:00:14 AM »
Evening guys. With the humidity in La. If it is going to be stacked for a project that is not in a hurry have you tried on edge? Level your timbers and stack your med. length first. Space as you want but use the right length of sheetrock screws thru the first and last sticker. Set a treated post against the first course and stack on up, stickering well as you go. The second and so forth layers just screw 1 end thru the sticker. Get it where you want or when you run out of lumber for this session and put something heavy on it. Evenly spaced. Put something a little higher on one end and taper to the other end. With your longest stuff on top then this will give you fast run off and an adequate over hang. Some of the cypress I cut for the house and 2x6 studs where stacked out 5 years or better before I had enough to get started. No problems as long as I kept plenty of cross ties on top. When you use it just save the screws for the next time. 4' wide and as high as I can reach always worked well for me. Then just screw 1 sheet long ways with the stack for blowing rain and your done. Stacked high enough off the ground so that I could spray Borax for bugs and let it be.
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Offline Larry

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2008, 07:54:46 AM »
Ive never dried red maple or pine but have shed dried light colored woods.  With basswood, ash, cottonwood, and hackberry I limit the stack to 4' width and no air gaps.  Maybe Im being extra cautious but I also keep a box fan plowing air through the stack...at least for a while until the surface moisture drops.  I also use dry and grooved sticks.  Lumber will be brighter if there is a airflow compared to lumber with no air flow.

With oak I dont make any effort to speed drying.  I have even put it in stacks up to 8' wide with no problem.
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Offline Norm

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2008, 09:37:50 AM »
I cut my stickers at 4' length and do pretty much just as Larry does. I do not air dry outside though. I keep mine in a metal shed and have to be careful with the oaks to not dry too fast. With most everything else I'm concerned more with mold.

One thing that does amaze me is folks that have their stacks higher than 5 or 6', how the heck do you horse those heavy boards up there?

Offline Don_Papenburg

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2008, 09:50:26 AM »
You put them up only one board at a time .  You also have to stand on old drywall mud buckets ;D  That way you do not hyperextend your arms .
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Offline PineNut

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2008, 07:11:47 PM »
I am not in lumber production but I stick my lumber in piles 3 ft wide. My FEL will not handle much more than this and I have a plentiful supply of 3 x 8 ft pallets. My cover is 4 x 10 ft metal fastened to a 3 x 8 ft pallet. Place a 4 x 4 under one end to get pitch.

Offline woodmills1

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Re: Width of Air Dried Lumber Stacks
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2008, 11:57:25 PM »
see ya puts the boards into the one ton then ya drives the one ton real close to the 4 foot stack, and with stickers already ina truck ya just loads from the bed of the one ton. makes tall stacks.
James Mills,Lovely wife,collect old tools,vacuuming fool,36 bdft/hr,oak paper cutter,ebonic yooper rapper nauga seller, Blue Ox? its not fast, 2 cat family, LT70,edger, 375 bd ft/hr, we like Bob,free heat,no oil 12 years,big splitter, baked stuffed lobster, still cuttin the logs dere IAM


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