One of the most important lumber preparation processes is lumber drying. It’s no secret that fresh lumber will do the job, but many experts in the business don’t recommend doing so, and it is much better to dry wood before any processes.
The fact is that fresh wood is much more susceptible to the absorption of water and moisture from the environment. Also, wood does not have the qualities of quick natural wood drying and loss of moisture content.
You may have even tried working with wet wood yourself once, and you may have noticed that the results were different than what you get from the experts in woodworking projects when they dry wood before any other work. In this blog, we will discuss how to dry wood faster and which method is the best for this goal.
- 1 How can you quickly dry wood for woodworking?
- 2 How long does it take for wood to dry?
- 3 Why must wood be dried before use in construction?
- 4 How do you get moisture out of wood?
- 5 How long does it take for soaked wood to dry?
- 6 Some safety tips
The results of using fresh wood
Because wood is a material made up of many layers, if moisture or water gets in, those layers can deteriorate and the wood will be prone to delamination.
Moisture is necessary for the fungus to survive. As long as the wood is dry, eliminating the needed moisture level will kill any fungus that may already be present and stop further fungal assaults. Any insects and their eggs that may be present in the wood are also killed when it is dried properly.
This is why it is recommended that any type of lumber be carefully prepared and dried, as it is a very necessary step in the work of woodworking with dry lumber only.
How can you quickly dry wood for woodworking?
Some of the most basic and workable wood drying methods include:
The most important components of this type of wood drying are natural light and wind. Air dry is done in such a way that by laying the lumber on a special surface, the wind and light rays pass through it promoting complete drying.
The only disadvantage of the air-dry wood process is that it requires much more time than any of the other methods. In addition, because of the enormous amount of time required for drying, the surface of the wood soaked in moisture may be covered with some stains.
There is a downside to this disadvantage. During air drying, the wind should not be too strong to dry enough wood, because in this case, the risk of cracking is very high, which affects not only the appearance of the damp wood but also the quality of wood pieces.
You need to be very careful when choosing this method as a drying process because if you are planning to dry your wood for furniture making, air drying can lead to a loss of quality of the polymer you are using.
The advantages of air drying
- Less expensive: Using this method is more cost-effective when you need to air dry timber to moisture contents between 15% and 26%.
- High quality: Compared to kiln drying, air drying typically produces wood that is more plentiful, higher quality, and workable.
- Green lumber obtained through air drying lumber has more brilliant colors thanks to endless air movement.
Drying in a kiln
It is quite understandable that at high temperatures drying will go much faster. Also, with this method, you should be extremely careful not to damage the stove or yourself because of using the kitchen oven. However, drying in a kiln makes the wood dry faster than any other method.
To decrease the moisture content of the timber to a specified level where there are no drying faults, kilns are closed chambers where air circulation, temperature, and relative humidity may all be controlled. Among the various kinds of kilns are vacuum systems, conventional heat-and-vent models, and radiofrequency dryers.
Although kiln drying is efficient, the expense of setting up and maintaining the kilns can be a barrier, unless the throughput of the lumber is very high. It becomes more practical to kiln-dry certain species of green timber if their value is high enough.
Drying in kilns can be performed immediately using electricity or gas or vicariously using heat exchangers warmed by vapor.
The advantages of kiln drying
- Low Moisture: Kiln-dried lumber has a lower moisture content which makes it more reliable for drying small pieces of wood.
- Environmentally independent: Regardless of the climate, you can almost always use a suitable kiln, which can be installed in almost any room.
- Power controllability: The polymer you need to dry will be ready at the right time for you with the right amount of power.
- Uniform Moisture Distribution: Any moisture content in wood will be distributed evenly no matter how strong your board or how long it takes to dry.
- Richer results: This type of drying gives you a dried but at the same time very rich and bright polymer material, which is an outstanding advantage of kiln drying.
- Speed: Kiln drying is considered the fastest because the high temperature allows the moisture to escape very quickly, which also reduces the risk of scaling your wood. By drying in a kiln there is a high chance to dry wood fast.
Drying in a barn
The use of this technique hangs on entirely on the climate, but it is very convenient and useful if you need to dry lumber with a tremendous amount of it in a fairly short period of time.
This technique involves putting lumber in an open-sided shed to keep it out of direct rain and sun while maintaining sufficient ventilation. While operating this drying approach, plastic mesh curtains are frequently used to control drying rates. The curtains are drawn shut while the hot, and dry seasons and opened during wet weather.
The sheds’ construction might be fairly straightforward, but by including moveable sidewalls and fans, they can also become sophisticated. These electric blowers are intended to remove extra moisture from the woods and could result in additional charges. At first, when some species are prone to checking, this procedure may cause the drying rate to slow down.
The advantages of drying in a barn or in a shed
- Reduced moisture content: After using this procedure, lumber usually has an absolute moisture content of above 20%.
- Based on the surrounding circumstances: The ultimate moisture content is affected by circling temperatures and comparative humidity, much like the air-drying technique.
- High amount: Compared to kiln-drying green timber straight from the saw, the yearly magnitude of kiln-dried lumber can be tripled if shed-drying is done preceding kiln drying.
How long does it take for wood to dry?
Depending on the drying method, the timber dries in a specific amount of time. There are different drying times for each drying technique. Additionally, the viscosity of the wood that needs to be parched is crucial.
The longest procedure of drying wood is air drying, which can bear anywhere between two and twelve months. In this case of wood drying, you can lower the moisture percentage to 13% and 25%, counting on the climate and humidity of the air.
Wood that has been dried in the air is never dry enough to be used indoors. The maximum drying time can be shortened and the air drying process accelerated when a dehumidifier or fan is used.
The most rapid manner to dry lumber is in a high-temperature, high-airspeed kiln. These can dry lumber with a 20 mm consistency to a 17-19% moisture level in around 8 hours.
Nevertheless, it takes a typical kitchen oven roughly a month to dry lumber to a moisture content of 10%.
Why must wood be dried before use in construction?
It is theoretically feasible to construct anything using wet wood. However, if you do this, you’ll see that the timber gradually starts to lose moisture, which causes it to distort, shrink, or even start to fracture.
The process will start pretty quickly. But the main thing to remember is that the wood can get moldy! This can be avoided by using special mold remedies.
You must first determine how much moisture is there in the wood before you buy it or cut a log into planks yourself. Only then will you be able to estimate the amount of time the wood will need to dry lumber before you can utilize it as a crucial component of your woodworking project.
It is crucial that the wood is fully dry before utilizing it, whether you plan to use it to construct a shed, a piece of furniture, or a cutting board (in order to avoid different drying defects, be sure to use non-toxic wood for this!).
Therefore, if you want to prevent things like shrinkage or warping, you must dry the wood. You have a variety of alternatives when it comes to drying wood if you want to get started.
You must choose the best method specific to the wood you want to dry because drying wood always depends on the thickness and hardness of your wood.
And don’t fear, once this blog is over, you will be able to estimate which way is required for drying firewood perfectly.
How do you get moisture out of wood?
In fact, there are many ways to remove moisture from the wood. Some may be faster and some may be a little more time-consuming regarding the moisture level in any type of wood.
The main methods are air drying, a combination or separate use of a fan and a dehumidifier, and a conventional normal oven.
Using the dehumidifier
You can also utilize a closed room with a dehumidifier if your project does not require you to dry a lot of wood. Although a commercial dehumidifier can be rented, you can also utilize a residential one. They have a far higher water removal rate per hour than a home dehumidifier.
A dehumidifier draws moisture out of the air, dries it out, and then blows dry air back into the space, leading to a decrease in moisture level in wood. This has the potential to swiftly dry out the drywall when utilized with a fan.
What moisture levels in wood are acceptable?
Use a moisture meter to determine when the wood is dry enough to be used for your projects. Keeping a good moisture meter in your workshop is therefore advised.
It is preferable to use moisture meters to check the wood’s moisture content before using it. No matter what durability class of wood you’re using, the following moisture levels are ideal:
The permissible moisture range for external wood is 10% to 15%. The moisture content of interior wood ranges from 5% to 7%. However, two criteria determine the acceptable moisture content of wood inside:
The location of the wood’s final usage, as well as the typical relative humidity of the surrounding environment. Always make sure that you do not use excess moisture.
What is a wood moisture meter?
The measuring method a wood moisture tool uses and the moisture contents that can be fitted to it are its defining features. A wood moisture tool may have unique features, such as automatic wood species correction and automatic temperature compensation, depending on the type.
How long does it take for soaked wood to dry?
Typically, wood should always be dried before use. When using damp or green lumber for projects, warping or cracking is frequently the consequence. Working with season firewood requires drying on a regular basis. In other words, how long does it take for lumber to dry?
Depending on the drying method, the wood dries in a specific amount of time. There are different drying times for each drying wood technique. Additionally, the thickness of the wood that needs to be dried is crucial. Besides that, the wood’s weight also needs to be considered, as small pieces of wood definitely will dry faster.
The longest method of drying wood is air drying, which can take anywhere between two and twelve months. You can lower the moisture meter to between 10% and 15%, depending on the climate and air humidity. Wood stack that has been air-dried is never dry enough to be used indoors as there is no proper airflow in the house, that is why we do not recommend dry wood indoors.
The maximum drying time can be shortened and the air drying process of air-dried wood is accelerated when a dehumidifier or fan is used. In this case, there will not be any drying defects as mold growth on the wood stack or heat stains.
Some safety tips
After reading this article, you have learned about the most proven drying lumber methods, but now we need to focus on a few safety rules.
Everyone knows that wood stack is a highly flammable material, which is why it is necessary to be fully prepared and equipped when working with pieces of wood. In addition, other than preparing the wood to dry by any drying methods, it is necessary to be prepared for dangerous situations such as fire.
Drying green firewood in a home or special wood-burning stove is not the most dangerous thing that can happen. Also, if the wood pile is fairly moist and young, the risks of fire are very low.
Above we pointed out the quality of the wood, or rather that it is made up of numerous layers. When you are in the oven, and using the oven rack, the upper, that is, the outer layers are heated and burn much faster in a heating system, so be very careful and be prepared to make yourself safe.
If you are drying firewood in a home oven, do not use temperatures above 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, be very vigilant and don’t let the wood hit the boiler, as o will immediately cause a fire. To dry lumber safely, be sure that the temperature is acceptable to dry green wood.
Another very important tip that many people forget or simply ignore. Never leave the house if there is wood in your stove. You need to be vigilant and careful with such a dangerous and responsible job as drying wood.
Also, in order to increase your level of safety, it is advisable to have a fire extinguisher within the walls of your home. Even though the risks of fire are very low if the process is properly organized, they are never zero.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you know your own methods for this action, so I’d love to hear your suggestions. Perhaps there is something better? The comments section is always open to you! Thanks for reading!
My name is Nikki Cooper.
I like to spend my free time doing home projects. Lots of little
things make my house and garden more functional and beautiful.
This can range from creating shelves, flower stands in the garden,
making tables for the home. This is the site where I will share all
my discoveries, tips and tricks that I learn along the way.
I hope that my site will help amateurs like me in their work.