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Author Topic: You guys were right (again)  (Read 2815 times)

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Offline sunriseseamless

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You guys were right (again)
« on: January 24, 2009, 12:37:05 PM »
It seems no matter my question, someone out there knows the answer.
Last year I asked about an oak log I have that i cut down probably three years ago.
I thought it would be totally dry on the inside by now, but someone out there assured me that they hold their moisture for a long time when uncut.
Well, I finally got all the needed items together to cut it up, (time, saw, alaskan mill, etc.) and sure enough it's still wet inside.  It's dry (and cracked) about two inches on each end and all the sapwood on the edge, (which has some interesting splaiting, I guess they call it), but the beautiful red heartwood is still wet.
My question is, how long do I need to air dry it?  It's intended use is a stairway, so the treads I cut at 1.5 inches, and trim boards at 1 inch.

Offline Tom

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2009, 03:07:53 PM »
Yep, I can see it being wet. :D

That word, splaiting, is actually spalting.  Spalt is a term that means "the beginning of rot" and the designs are caused by a white-rot fungus.  When caught at the right time, spalt is beautiful.

If it were me, I'd sticker the oak as if it were green and dry it accordingly.  It will probably take a year or better to dry.  The rule of thumb is one year to the inch, but that is quite variable.

I've sawed 4/4 oak here in Florida where the furniture makers were using it in about 10 months. :)
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 04:08:12 PM »
No oak in my lumber stash here. But, I air dry my lumber for at least 3 years before even considering wood working with it. Most of my lumber right now is 10 years air dried. White ash moves more than any of my other woods in my stash. Although, when green it's water content is lower than other hardwoods I have. Least movement is butternut and white pine.
Move'n on.

Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2009, 04:42:33 PM »

  It would be better if it can get into a kiln.  But stickering it out you will need a good 6 months to get it down to around 20% MC.  Here in Arkansas the lowest it will get just air drying it about 16%.  The wood inside will dry down to around 8%.  So if you can live with more shirnkage the just put it in after about a year.  Air dry it for 90 days and put it in the house to dry or go to a kiln.  If you have attic space put them up there this summer and they will be ready in about 2 months.
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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2009, 10:54:09 AM »
No oak in my lumber stash here. But, I air dry my lumber for at least 3 years before even considering wood working with it.

Seems like overkill to me.  I've used 4/4 cherry lumber six months after sawing it, and 6/4 apple ten months after sawing it, and 8/4 and 16/4 elm within a year after sawing it.  The cherry and apple were at or below 12% M.C. when I used it, which is what I consider my target for most furniture.  I have no clue what the M.C. of the elm was, and it doesn't matter what it was, because it hasn't warped after seeing 3 years of use as a workbench.

Oak tends to dry rather slowly, so plan to dry it for 1.5-2 years before bringing it inside to reach equilibrium.  Let it sit inside for 2 weeks, a month, however long you can stand it, before you start to work it.  The wider the boards, the more likely they are to cup, and the last thing you want is a warped stair tread.
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -John Ruskin

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Online beenthere

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2009, 11:14:54 AM »
No oak in my lumber stash here. But, I air dry my lumber for at least 3 years before even considering wood working with it.

Seems like overkill to me.  I've used 4/4 cherry lumber six months after sawing it, and 6/4 apple ten months after sawing it, and 8/4 and 16/4 elm within a year after sawing it.  The cherry and apple were at or below 12% M.C. when I used it, which is what I consider my target for most furniture.  I have no clue what the M.C. of the elm was, and it doesn't matter what it was, because it hasn't warped after seeing 3 years of use as a workbench.

Oak tends to dry rather slowly, so plan to dry it for 1.5-2 years before bringing it inside to reach equilibrium.  Let it sit inside for 2 weeks, a month, however long you can stand it, before you start to work it.  The wider the boards, the more likely they are to cup, and the last thing you want is a warped stair tread.

Yahh, But....you have heat where you are at.... ;D ;D ;D
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Offline sunriseseamless

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2009, 07:25:31 PM »
Thanks guys,
  Kelvin has a kiln, so I think I'll pony up the dollars and let him dry it for me.  I really wanted to get this stairway finished this summer.

Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2009, 10:25:45 AM »
Good point, beenthere.  The lumber I sawed in December is off to a good start, but it would still be frozen if I lived in the tundra. ;)
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -John Ruskin

Any idiot can write a woodworking blog. Here's mine.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2009, 10:36:14 AM »
Hey, you guys do it your way. I'll do it mine. ;)
Move'n on.

Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2009, 03:58:10 PM »
Oh, don't get me wrong, SD.  I think it's great if you can wait 3 years or more before you use your lumber.  It's nice to be able to pick up a board and not have to worry about whether or not it's dry enough before you start planing it.  We just don't all have that luxury.  I was trying to give sunriseseamless an idea of the minimum amount of time it would take before his stair treads would be usable.
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -John Ruskin

Any idiot can write a woodworking blog. Here's mine.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2009, 04:54:17 PM »
We just don't all have that luxury. 

What's your hurry Dodgy? :D


Just pull'n your leg.
Move'n on.

Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2009, 05:00:26 PM »
Well, I've got enough lumber stashed away now that I'm not in a hurry to use any of it anymore...But I didn't used to have that luxury ;)
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -John Ruskin

Any idiot can write a woodworking blog. Here's mine.

Offline Tom

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2009, 06:14:40 PM »
Now you have to be in a hurry to use it before the borers get it.  :D
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2009, 06:19:57 PM »
-25 F fixed them already. :D
Move'n on.

Offline WDH

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Re: You guys were right (again)
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2009, 10:46:19 PM »
Wood dries better down here than in the frigid-northern-tundra-like-frozen-glaciated-snow-bound-wind-howling places that a bunch of y'all live in :)

Here, under my drying shed, it takes oak about 6 to 8 months to get to 15% depending on the time of year it was initially stickered.  Walnut, cherry, and poplar can get there in 4 to 6 months.  Of course, it helps to have a moisture meter ;D.
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