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Author Topic: Drying small quantities of medium sized wood  (Read 756 times)

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Offline naaberle

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Drying small quantities of medium sized wood
« on: May 20, 2015, 06:13:42 PM »
Hello everyone, first post to the forums. I tried doing a search for something similar but couldn't find an answer so feel free to direct me to another post if this has already been answered.

I won't be working on any sizeable amount of wood to justify building a kiln nor do I have the space. But it also won't fit in the oven or anything like that, so I was curious if there are any at home solutions to accelerate the drying time of smallish pieces.

Right now I have 2 discs of spruce, each 24" diameter and 2" thick, that I would like to turn into an end table. They are freshly cut and I would like to get the table made as soon as possible, I was unaware of the drying aspect when I purchased the wood. I was also curious about the side effects of just making the table while the wood is wet. Can you sand wet wood effectively? And will wood glue stick to wet wood?

Thank and I look forward to soaking up everyone's knowledge around here.

-Nik

Online beenthere

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Re: Drying small quantities of medium sized wood
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2015, 06:49:04 PM »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum.

I assume that you know that your spruce discs will split (crack) when they dry.

Some control of where that split happens can be handled with a radial saw-cut (bark to pith).

I say "some" because there may be some additional checking that takes place as well.

For faster drying, get it to a place where the air is warm and dry, with plenty of air movement.
An enclosure with a source of heat at around 85-90 deg will give you some pretty decent drying rate as the relative humidity will be some lower.
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline naaberle

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Re: Drying small quantities of medium sized wood
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2015, 12:10:49 PM »
I was not aware that they would crack. Is that just something that spruce does regardless of how well dried it is? Cracks are fine as I can fill them and seal it, but I wasn't aware that it would happen.

Unfortunately I rent an apartment and have very little storage, but I was thinking about making a 3' x 3' x 3' temporary structure with a dehumidifier, heating blanket and fan. I wasn't able to find very much research on dehumidification kiln's on the forums. Do you think this would be a decent way to assist in the drying process?

Thanks again.

Online beenthere

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Re: Drying small quantities of medium sized wood
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2015, 01:09:53 PM »
Not just spruce.. all wood will do the same to one extent or another.

Wood shrinks a lot tangent to the annual rings, and a bit more than it shrinks in the radial direction.
Because an annual ring is only about 6 inches long at the 2" diam. location compared to the annual ring "length" of about 60 inches at the 20" diam, you can see that something has to give because the center portion of the disc cannot compress... the weakest link is the tensile strength of the wood so it splits apart.
White ash disc recently cut green and showing drying check.  11" diam on the horizontal.

 


The small chamber you build should work pretty well if you wrap it in plastic as a vapor barrier. The heat from the dehumidifier should be sufficient to raise the temp. so the heat blanket may not be necessary. As well, maybe just the heat blanket would suffice to quickly dry the wood. Not certain on that.
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline naaberle

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Re: Drying small quantities of medium sized wood
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2015, 03:33:58 PM »
Wow, that's quite the crack. So would sanding and screwing into it just exacerbate the crack or will it crack the same amount regardless?

How did the attached wood round only crack a little in the middle? I'm ok with that sort of crack, but if it extends all the way to the bark like yours does I'm afraid I'll have structural issues when it comes to the final product.

Offline jueston

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Re: Drying small quantities of medium sized wood
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2015, 03:20:26 PM »
the following are the 4 most recent posts involving cookies:

http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,81119.0.html

http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,81297.0.html

http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,80229.0.html

this one is the best explanation of why they crack:
http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,82971.0.html

drying cookies is one of those topics that comes up here a lot, and everytime is comes up someone has another method they are trying...

Offline naaberle

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Re: Drying small quantities of medium sized wood
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2015, 06:09:32 PM »
Thanks for links and the reply, I had no idea they were referred to as cookies. That clears up some confusion from reading earlier threads...


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