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Ok to Use Kiln Dried Dimensional Lumber in My Garage?

by GLENNpm
posted 12-16-2018 03:16 PM


28 replies so far

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1441 posts in 1358 days


#1 posted 12-16-2018 04:15 PM

I will be the first to tell you. There is no law requiring lumber to be kiln dried. I have acquired air dried lumber directly from sawmills many, many times. I have also bought kiln dried lumber directly from sawmills. I don’t know what big box stores have to do with it.

Drying lumber in your garage might raise the relative humidity a little bit initially but is seems ridiculous to me that it would have that much of an effect on your cast iron.

I will warn you that it takes a looooong time to dry lumber adequately without a kiln.

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GLENNpm

25 posts in 339 days


#2 posted 12-16-2018 04:32 PM



I will be the first to tell you. There is no law requiring lumber to be kiln dried. I have acquired air dried lumber directly from sawmills many, many times. I have also bought kiln dried lumber directly from sawmills. I don t know what big box stores have to do with it.

Drying lumber in your garage might raise the relative humidity a little bit initially but is seems ridiculous to me that it would have that much of an effect on your cast iron.

I will warn you that it takes a looooong time to dry lumber adequately without a kiln.

- ArtMann

Thanks for the reassurance. I didn’t think those bits of info we’re correct. I think it was in reference to box stores, but that still doesn’t make sense to me.

And yes, I really don’t want to wait on air drying, but can’t really afford the stuff around here that’s already dried. I got this stuff around 20 times cheaper than pre-dried hardwood I’ve found in my area! And I can’t seem to find a kiln around here either. Is live to build the VA Tech kiln one day, but won’t be able to do that for a long time. I’m still just staying out and already feel over my head with the humidity stuff.

On that note, do you have any advice on using the KD pine boards as my base for the drying rack? Will they change so much that it will warp the oak I’m trying to dry on them?

-- Never stop learning.

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

3131 posts in 2715 days


#3 posted 12-16-2018 05:16 PM

Quit sweating the humidity. KD lumber won’t affect your oak or the rack. KD lumber might pickup a few % coming from lumber yard to garage but it might lose a little moisture also depending on how long it has been stored and where. you might want to get an inexpensive moisture meter to monitor the moisture content of you oak. It probably won’t take but a month or so to air dry that oak. The speed it dries at is dependent on temperature and relative humidity it is stored in. That’s where the moisture meter comes in.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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Manitario

2787 posts in 3425 days


#4 posted 12-16-2018 05:21 PM

Your whole garage is made out of dimensional lumber. Using the same for a small rack won’t be an issue at all.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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fuigb

564 posts in 3500 days


#5 posted 12-17-2018 03:24 AM

A couple of thoughts…

Seal the ends of your boards or they’ll split. Waste paint is what I use and I’ve lost virtually nothing to splits or ruptures.

You’ll need to prevent your stock from twisting and cupping as it dries. Cinder blocks, bags of cement mix, or anything heavy will do the trick, as will ratchet straps.

You’re going to build a rack onto which the stock will rest? By the time you’ve done that you might have been able to make a simple kiln. Research dehumidifier and space heater kiln options. I made one from salvaged 2x’s and the skins of hollow core doors thrown away by my neighbors. Aside from time and hardware it cost me only the price of insulation and the little fan and milk can heater from a garage sale.

Don’t worry about the moisture that leaves the wood: with the fan and the door opening each day as you come/go things will be fine.

Air drying might take a couple of years to get moisture down to an acceptable level. Waiting sucks, but the greater issue is mold and mildew. Run that fan (on a timer is fine) but monitor and rotate the pile lest something start to grow and spoil things.

If it were me I’d paint the ends tomorrow, sticker, stack, then pile on weight right where it is. Beg your wife for her patience and understanding (and give your spot in the garage) then figure out how to construct a kiln on the cheap.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View GLENNpm's profile

GLENNpm

25 posts in 339 days


#6 posted 12-17-2018 06:09 AM

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I’d rather overthink than under think, but it’s reassuring to hear that I might not need to be so concerned.

As far as the storage goes, I’ll have to build it whether I air or kiln dry. I just don’t have anywhere else to store lumber at all. But I will definitely look into making a smaller, more fordable kiln. Making one from salvaged items is a good idea to help me get working on other projects sooner. Plus, I can practice with a few boards at a time.

-- Never stop learning.

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

979 posts in 1761 days


#7 posted 12-17-2018 01:37 PM


Also, I heard 2 rumors I m hoping someone can squash. Someone told me that I can only ever buy kiln dried wood at home stores because of some US law requiring all lumber to be kiln dried. Another person stated that drying lumber in their garage caused all their tools to rust due to the lumber releasing moisture in the air. Please tell me both of these statements are false. I ve been researching this moisture stuff so much this week that my brain is soggy and I can t tell the facts from the fiction anymore.

- GLENNpm

never heard of that law and if that is the case theres thousands of people breaking it. kiln drying comes into play when wood is transported. theres laws about wood needing to be kiln dried to kill bugs and disease if transporting across some state lines and i think i read even some county lines in some states.
as for the rust- i could see it happening in my shop if i put 5,000 BF of fresh cut in there. but i only have a 16 by 24 shop so that would be a lot of lumber in a small area. i have 6 live edge slabs of red oak and maple(2 1/2” thick) drying in my shop since july. havent had any rust issues.
however, i can run into rust problem if i dont have air movement. i keep a fan going all the time out there and dont have a rust problem.

one more thing:
it reads to me like youre referring to the 6% MC being in the kiln dried construction lumber you purchased from HD to built the rack. if im right, that lumber never was 6% as construction lumber( 2 by anything and 1 by anything used for construction) is only taken to something like 10-15%. ive worked with some that was higher.

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Redman1

13 posts in 1519 days


#8 posted 12-17-2018 01:58 PM

Nothing much to add except don’t get caught up in doing thing perfectly. You’ll drive yourself stone nuts. Wood moves and no matter how well joints fit sooner or later things change. I’ve built several tables and pie safes from borg KD lumber in my garage. When brought into the house the wood moved. Oddly my slightly bow table tops got flat over time. One other thing you will driver yourself nuts with it rust. Just remember this cast iron does a lot of things well but the best thing it does is rust. On going care is the only sort of remedy, you can’t stop the rust only slow it down.

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

512 posts in 3737 days


#9 posted 12-17-2018 02:07 PM

One of the biggest differences between kiln dried and air dried is the kiln will kill any bugs that might be present.

I think your rumor about the requirement to buy KD from a big box store was probably started by a big box store employee or stock holder.

View HokieKen's profile (online now)

HokieKen

11417 posts in 1681 days


#10 posted 12-17-2018 02:36 PM

I applaud your thoroughness but you are way overthinking on this one! Save all that research for when you build a kiln ;-) For now, put your rack up out of whatever lumber you want and throw the Oak up there with stickers and some ratchet straps or cinder blocks to hold it fairly flat and forget about it. Sealing up the ends is good idea too.

Welcome to LJs!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1102 posts in 3360 days


#11 posted 12-17-2018 03:19 PM

The rumor your heard might have a small basis in fact. Where I live (in eastern Canada) building code requires using stamped KD lumber for anything that’s structural. I’ve heard of inspectors making people tear studs out because they weren’t KD. Which is silly, because as long as air-dried lumber has reached equilibrium moisture content it won’t really move any more than kiln-dried.
But this does not stop stores from selling air-dried. One of the local hardware stores near me sells 2×4s that are not kiln-dried. And there are plenty of local sawyers selling air dried lumber.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Phil32's profile (online now)

Phil32

699 posts in 446 days


#12 posted 12-17-2018 09:26 PM

If your wife’s parking spot will be under the lumber rack you’re building, be sure the posts are spaced far enough for the car to easily fit. Measure twice. Allow for a newer, bigger car.

My wife suggests you buy her a car cover to protect her car while it sits outside.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

538 posts in 1227 days


#13 posted 12-18-2018 03:22 PM

where are you located? some of us may know of a local kiln operator

I’m usually all for sealing ends but if this lumber was sawn a while back it may no longer make sense unless you cut some off the ends.

The only time I’ve ever had any issues with rust from drying lumber was when i put 2 large swamp maple logs in my garage fresh from the mill. They gave off a ton of moisture in the first couple of weeks. After that, it was not an issue.

View GLENNpm's profile

GLENNpm

25 posts in 339 days


#14 posted 12-21-2018 11:13 AM

Thank you all for the feedback! I feel much better about it all. I’m sorry I’m just replying. I’ve been swamped at work this week and just now able to catch my breath.

@tomsteve
OK. This makes sense. The person who told me this had a business making skids and crates for local manufacturers to ship their products around the world. I think he was applying his business regulations to what I’m doing. My shop is about the same size as yours (2 car garage), but I’m only looking at 250 board feet. So far, so good. Makes sense on the KD. I assumed it would be lower than it might actually be.

@Redman1
I’m definitely an overthinker and researcher. Just starting out with this stuff, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So, it’s great to hear your advise. Hopefully, I’ll find out I can be a lot less careful. I’d rather that than find out I messed everything up by being too careless. As far as rust goes, I guess I finally have something to be thankful about concerning my cheap aluminum table saw! haha

@Jeff
haha. That would be something else. But no. I know this guy pretty well and figured he was probably confused. That’s why I asked you all. I explained it above to tomsteve. I think I understand the confusion now. Sometimes a person’s entire worldview can be skewed because of their limited perspective. There might be a lesson in that somewhere. haha.

@HokieKen
Thanks for the warm welcome! You’re spot on about my overthinking. But I have a lot of catching up to do! Not too long ago, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a planer! My world has flipped upside down and I’m drinking it all in! haha. But yeah, I’m still trying to figure out how to make good measurements and straight cuts. So even now that I realize it’s not necessary, I’m taking my time to build this lumber rack as if it’s fine furniture. I need the practice! I’m sure it will still come out super wonky and look like the garbage the rest of you throw out, but there’s only one way to get good at something: practice, practice, practice. So, I built up a jointing jig for my table saw and going to try and square everything up and do some sort of simple, but proper joinery for the first time in my life. Maybe by the time this wood dries, I’ll be able to make something of halfway decent quality with it! Speaking of kilns, I’m all up for looking into that soon! do you have any suggestions where to look to make something small and easy to operate so that an elementary woodworker can’t blow up?

@jdh122
I see what you’re saying. That makes a bit of sense to me. In this case, my friend was referring to rules related to insects and thought it applied to more than just his industry.

@Phil32
Good call! But then again, this might be a good reason to buy a new place with a big ‘ol shop, right? haha.

@avsmusic1
I’m in western Arkansas. The only kiln I found so far is in eastern Oklahoma and didn’t have room for me. When he makes room, he’s wanting to charge $1 per board foot. I’m not sure what normal is, but considering that’s actually more than I paid for my lumber, it feels excessive. I was planning to paint the ends at my first opportunity – which will be in the next couple of days. I would estimate they were cut down right around 3 weeks ago. Now I’m worried about rust again. I actually did notice rust on an old hammer for the first time the other day. But that could just be because now I’m looking for it. What kind/amount of rust did you experience? on what and to what extent? You said it wasn’t an issue after the first couple weeks. Does that mean the rusted pieces were easily salvageable?

-- Never stop learning.

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becikeja

1022 posts in 3355 days


#15 posted 12-21-2018 11:23 AM

Overthinking——Relax, woodworking is supposed to be fun and enjoyable.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1484 posts in 3392 days


#16 posted 12-21-2018 01:13 PM

Glen, welcome to LJ and to what for me is a hobby, but for many here is their Craft, I’ve found the knowledge and kindness here to be unprecedented for online forums. Many times I’ve had an “O-$hit” situation in the shop and been able to get great feedback and help here in under an hour.

I’m in southern Maryland and am blessed to have an amazing sawyer in less than an hours drive, but there are also several Amish sawmills in the area where air dried lumber is prevalent and often well priced. This hallway table was built from air dried cherry and 8 years later there have been no issues with the wood movement, even on the bottom shelf where I set the 1/2” panel in a rabbet in the 1×1.5 “frame” which by common commentary should have exploded by now. You cite the understanding of learning from practice so Chill and go make some sawdust, every project I’ve built has something I Know I’ll do better the next time, but no one else can ever notice the flaws

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View GLENNpm's profile

GLENNpm

25 posts in 339 days


#17 posted 12-21-2018 01:22 PM

Thanks, guys. ChefHDAN, nice table. Are you saying you never used a kiln or even brought the wood inside to help acclimate it before you built it?

-- Never stop learning.

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ChefHDAN

1484 posts in 3392 days


#18 posted 12-21-2018 02:11 PM

That cherry I found on Craig’s List in a nearby town. The land owner had several trees comedown during hurricane Isabel, and he took them to a local Amish sawmill and had them cut into boards. He kept them stored under a deck on a concrete slab at the back of his house for several years. I sorted the stacks and cherry picked all of the clear 4/4 and 4×4 leg stock, walking away with a bit over 110 BF for $200. The stock was stacked and sticker-ed sitting on my 2 car garage floor for almost a year before I figured out what I wanted to build. This was my first “Real” furniture build and I just went with it, I didn’t have a moisture meter then and now 8 years later I have not felt the overwhelming need to buy one.

My sawyer in Southern Maryland does have a kiln, (converted overseas shipping container), and dries his green cut lumber, and also acquires shorts from furniture manufacturers in nearby North Carolina. ALL of this lumber though is stored in open air barns on flat shelving that you can see in the photos. All of my hardwood projects have been built from lumber I’ve bought from MD Select. One day I WILL buy a moisture meter, but I’m the type that won’t go for the cheap good enough version and have yet to find a good one for a price that tips me over the edge to buy it, (I try to stick to buying everything I can on CL for at least 50% or less of retail).

There are lots of SUPER experienced folks here, and some that will tell you what they have read, you’ll have to develop your own filter, but I’ve found that hardwoods have nominal movement especially when the furniture lives within our well temperature controlled homes. Understanding cross grain situations and where to be careful can help with your designs, but seeing that you’re skilled with CAD drawing, I would urge you to post a design pic when you have concerns and get the feedback from the LJ’s here that can give you a yea or nay, or make suggestions for how to improve.

Most important thing is to go make sawdust, for me it’s my happy place, and when I screw something up it’s just another challenge to find a solution and maybe learn a new skill or technique. I altered my design in the midst of building this entertainment center widening the base, but forgetting that I drew it to that width because of defects in the 6/4 I was going to use for the top. When I realized my screw up, I remembered I had a Whiteside Inlay kit and it was a perfect chance to cut the heart shaped dutchman patches in the top, and Voila! my screw up is now a design feature.

Just do it…
-Derek

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1040 posts in 3335 days


#19 posted 12-21-2018 06:27 PM

Wood magazine has some articles on home drying lumber. Cover in plastic weighted down to the floor. Put a dehumidifier under the plastic, and a drain hose out of the tent. The fan circulates, the heat from the compressor heats the tent, and you get dry wood cheap. You must watch so the wood does not dry too fast, there are rates for different woods. A moisture meter with remote capability wired into probes in an inner board will give you easy to monitor percentages. I read most of this in Wood, just don’t know when. This is a rough idea of what it said. Lignomat mini DX/C has remote capability. Hope this helps.

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ibewjon

1040 posts in 3335 days


#20 posted 12-21-2018 06:37 PM

BTW, I put Anchorseal on the ends, it is wax base, and seals better than latex paint which is not a moisture barrier. You can get it from several sources, Highland sells it by the gallon as does Woodcraft, I purchased 5 gal direct from the manufacturer for less per gallon, but I cut a lot if wood. ( I have enough air drying to last me years, but I have room to store it. All my wood has come from the small town I live in, including an Ash log that grew in my great great grandparents yard. I have a picture of the yard and tree in 1880 with my great grandmother sitting under the tree.)

View GLENNpm's profile

GLENNpm

25 posts in 339 days


#21 posted 01-04-2019 06:54 AM

Thanks for the advice, @ChefHDAN and @ibewjon. That’s some good info. I’m definitely on the lookout for deals on wood now. I drove out of state for Christmas and the entire way there and back I kept pointing out fallen trees and asking my wife if she thought we could fit them on our car’s roof rack to haul back home. haha! I’ll be looking into that humidifier and tarp kiln for sure. I’m all about simple solutions and that could get me by once I get a moisture meter. Lignomat sounds like they have some really good stuff. It’s a bit overwhelming though, and hard to justify spending that much money when I’m still building homemade tools to get me by until I can purchase proper machinery. In the meantime, I went ahead and applied some oil based Kilz primer to the board ends. It’s still early, but no splitting so far. I gave another stack of equal size to my cousin who’s storing in his garage as well. He just sent me a moisture meter reading showing 16%. That was from the end of the board, but I figured it would be much higher. I’m guessing the wood had been sitting longer than I originally thought.

-- Never stop learning.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1040 posts in 3335 days


#22 posted 01-04-2019 06:38 PM

Remember, it is a DEhumidifier you want to dry lumber, NOT a humidifier. Run the drain hose out from under the tarp, best because you don’t lose the heat generated by the DEhumidifier, or remember to empty the holding tank.

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tomsteve

979 posts in 1761 days


#23 posted 01-04-2019 07:27 PM



. I drove out of state for Christmas and the entire way there and back I kept pointing out fallen trees and asking my wife if she thought we could fit them on our car s roof rack to haul back home. haha!

- GLENNpm

i look at the live ones and think,” we could back a trailer up to that…........”

View HokieKen's profile (online now)

HokieKen

11417 posts in 1681 days


#24 posted 01-04-2019 08:04 PM

Here’s a link to a solar kiln developed by the finest engineering school in the country Glenn. (Full disclosure – my alma mater ;-p) It’s been built and used by many woodworkers. The project was to develop not the “best” kiln possible but a “good” kiln that could be affordable and accessible to most people who would have need of it.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View GLENNpm's profile

GLENNpm

25 posts in 339 days


#25 posted 01-05-2019 11:08 AM



Here s a link to a solar kiln developed by the finest engineering school in the country Glenn. (Full disclosure – my alma mater ;-p) It s been built and used by many woodworkers. The project was to develop not the “best” kiln possible but a “good” kiln that could be affordable and accessible to most people who would have need of it.

- HokieKen

I’ve seen that one and already been trying to convince my parents to let me build one on their property! They have an ideal spot for it. But I’m not ready to do all that just yet. Maybe I’ll have some property of my own by the time I am ready.

-- Never stop learning.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1955 posts in 2037 days


#26 posted 01-05-2019 01:41 PM

+1 relax and make some sawdust, just don’t breath the dust. :)

Regarding Kiln dried lumber at big box stores:

1) Many large municipal areas in southern US require kiln dried structural lumber in building codes. Phoenix (Maricopa County) requires kiln dried lumber with KD stamp for structural lumber in buildings. Issue is lack of hard freeze, and higher propensity for bug infestation in air dried lumber.
Many of these same places also require air dried and kiln dried commercial lumber storage to be stored in separate buildings to avoid cross contamination. If you notice, the firewood and local sawyer made landscaping ‘cookies’ they sell are stored outside with mulch, usually on opposite end of store from building lumber?

Son works part time at HD, and asked me about ‘bugs’ in my stock of air .vs kiln dried lumber. The above info was part of his sales training to explain why they don’t stock live edge slab lumber in stores (which is requested regularly these days).

2) National and State/Local Forestry related organizations (Dept of Agriculture, Transportation, Interior, and/or Natural Resources) have wood transportation regulations on non-kiln dried lumber to reduce transfer of invasive species between forests. These are typically considered 'firewood' transportation regulations, but specifically apply to any lumber with visible ‘live’ edge showing bark. Areas with Ash Borer infestation have specially stringent restrictions that can vary county to county.
IME – most high volume commercial saw mill operations error on safe side and kiln dry everything to avoid hassle of widely varied transportation rules, and reduce storage inventories. It is the smaller local sales sawyers that have luxury of time to store lumber till it is air dry, or will offer ‘green’ lumber to help lower price for fellow wood workers. :)

Only learned the forestry dept stuff as I have transported air dried lumber into Arizona many times from sawyers in other states. Park rangers in Midwest states, CA border check points, and AZ/NM/TX Immigration border patrol stops; all will stop you for inspection and usually ask about ‘firewood’ transportation, especially if they see camping stuff, or if any wood is visible inside or on your trailer. DAMHIK

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1040 posts in 3335 days


#27 posted 01-05-2019 03:36 PM

And the big mills want to speed products to market, not sit around and wait for mother nature to do her thing. Too much storage space, and money tied up for a long time. You don’t want to go to work and wait a year to get your paycheck! And the untreated wood from China brought us the longhorn beetle and the Again ash borer. In Illinois, Michigan, and other parts of the Midwest, dead ash trees are everywhere. Over a dozen very large, old ash trees have died in the last two years on my block.. The bugs are only in the cambium, so the lumber is good, but most becomes firewood or mulch. I lost three in my own yard, but these are drying in my second garage till ready to use.

View GLENNpm's profile

GLENNpm

25 posts in 339 days


#28 posted 01-06-2019 01:26 PM

Good info, guys. That makes sense. Thanks.

-- Never stop learning.

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