dry time on rough cut

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Forum topic by jwmalone posted 07-29-2016 03:37 AM 740 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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768 posts in 1548 days

07-29-2016 03:37 AM

Hey guys/gals you’ve not steered me wrong yet so here’s the question. Going to pick up some rough cut red oak this Saturday. 1 inch by 8 inch by 8 feet, he said it will be ready Saturday. the log was cut down (possums living in it) two months ago. if I get it 2.5 months after its raped from mother nature whats the best way to dry it out to furniture grade stuff fast, without compromising the qulity of the wood. Thanks

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

9 replies so far

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1748 days

#1 posted 07-29-2016 03:40 AM

opossum wood huh?

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768 posts in 1548 days

#2 posted 07-29-2016 03:55 AM

yep, dude said there was a family of opossums in there when he cut it, He is a straight up hillbilly so one of his employees ate well for two days. True story.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Lazyman's profile


5794 posts in 2233 days

#3 posted 07-29-2016 04:33 AM

Rough Rule of thumb is it takes about 1 year of air dry time per inch of thickness after it was initially cut into boards. More in high humidity areas and less in the desert. You need to stack it out of the weather with slats (aka stickers) between each board to allow air to circulate. The stickers should be spaced about every 12-18” and they need to be aligned from layer to layer to prevent warping. The weight of the boards above help keep them from warping, twisting and cupping so you can put something heavy like cinder blocks on the top boards which have less weight on them. You can paint the ends with latex paint to help prevent checks and cracks in the ends. If you don’t have room inside, you can cover with a tarp to keep the rain off but it is a good ideal to make sure there is some air space above the top boards in the stack. Don’t forget to put something under the bottom layer to keep it off the floor or ground.

A year from now when it is time to run them through a planer to do final milling to 3/4” boards, it is a good idea to do initial milling slightly thicker than final dimension and let them sit for a week or 2 before the final pass through the the planer. Once you plane them, they are likely to move a little and this gives you some room to fix that. If they aren’t flat you may need to run them through a jointer befor the planer.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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819 posts in 3466 days

#4 posted 07-29-2016 04:43 AM

I would not advise the use air dried lumber to build furniture.

View JPJ's profile


819 posts in 3466 days

#5 posted 07-29-2016 04:45 AM

I would not advise the use of air dried lumber to build furniture.

View WhoMe's profile


1568 posts in 4089 days

#6 posted 07-29-2016 05:20 AM

I would not advise the use of air dried lumber to build furniture.


Why not???? There is plenty of furniture out there that has lasted 75+ years that was air dried.
And there is plenty of furniture and dwellings being built today that has been lucky enough to avoid the kiln.

I’m pretty sure that kilns were mostly invented to shorten the time from “forest to user”.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View Tabletop's profile


139 posts in 1593 days

#7 posted 07-29-2016 06:57 AM

I’ve used about 2000 bd ft of air dried red oak lumber over the past decade with no issues. I would agree with lazy man’s comments on how to do it. However you can shorten that time with the use of a simple fan. Stack it so that air can flow through stack just as suggested above. Have a fan blowing through the stack 24/7. I’ve used boards as early as 4 1/2 months using this method. After 4 months make a pass through planer on both sides and let sit for at least a couple more weeks. Be safe and have fun.

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3322 days

#8 posted 07-29-2016 12:03 PM

If there is too much air flow on green red oak and it is drying too fast, the core of the boards will honeycomb. I would not run a fan on air drying red oak until the moisture content of the wood is below 30%. Then, the fans will be a big help without the danger of honeycombing. Some species like maple, yellow poplar, pine, can stand the fans immediately after sawing, and this is important because maple and poplar are prone to sticker stain and gray stain. The air flow from the fans speeds the drying and really helps to prevent staining.

Nothing wrong with using air dried wood for furniture if the air dried wood is stored with stickers between the layers in a heated and conditioned interior space for about 4 – 6 weeks for red oak. It needs some time inside to acclimate. I did an experiment with some 7/8” thick red oak where I stacked some in stickered layers behind a couch in my house in Georgia in April. Initial moisture content was 13.5%. After 5 weeks the moisture content was down to 9.5%, and it stayed at that level for the next 4 months.

Wood in most climates except for the dry desert will not dry to below 12% moisture content outdise. 15% in most cases. Giving it time inside to acclimate reduces the danger of additional shrinkage in use in a piece of furniture and just requires a little pre-planing and patience.

When it comes to fast drying, the word “fast” is not in a red oak’s vocabulary.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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5837 posts in 3197 days

#9 posted 07-29-2016 03:31 PM

Stack and stick and wait a year. I think air dried is superior to kiln dried for furniture as long as it is truly dry when you begin.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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