I enjoy pushing my skill level and trying new projects. It's the most enjoyable part of the hobby for me. Currently I am starting to investigate the idea of steam bending. From what I have read, for good results you need to use Air dried lumber. Evidently kiln dried is more prone to cracking. So, with that in mind I looked across my shop and thought how do I know which lumber is air dried and which has been kiln dried? Over the years I have acquired wood from lumber yards, craigs list, friends, or even downed trees. I have no idea how any of it was dried. Is there a simple way to tell? I assume most lumber yard wood is kiln dried for speed and cost purposes, but I do know the lumber yard I used to buy from sold both and that I have purchased both, but no clue which is which.
Any advice on how to tell Air dried versus kiln dried would be appreciated.
Others can give you better advice than I can about how to tell the two apart, but the biggest difference for steam bending is not between kiln and air dried, but between wood that is nearly green and wood that is dried. Also important is the difference between wood that is sawn and wood that is split. So far I've mostly done steam bending with rived wood and have never had problems with cracks on the outside of the bend (which is the type of cracking that you're talking about, I think). That said, lots of people report being able to steam bend even kiln dried wood with little difficulty, although there is likely to be a slightly higher failure rate.
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