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Forum topic by supervato posted 08-02-2010 09:59 PM 3264 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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153 posts in 3895 days

08-02-2010 09:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey everybody, does anybody know how long i have to waite before i can use cut wood to break down into useable lumber. I have some black walnut and hickory tree logs that my friend gave me. Some i will cut down to 8/4 stock and some I will use as 3×3 turning blanks. But do i have to wait to mill them or can I mill them then wait and let them dry out. Or do i have to wait at all?

13 replies so far

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3906 days

#1 posted 08-02-2010 10:28 PM

Mill them while the logs are green and then you dry. Only problem is you will have to wait a couple of years to airdry 8/4 stock!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View tnwood's profile


269 posts in 4052 days

#2 posted 08-02-2010 10:30 PM

Coat all the ends of the log with Anchor Seal or latex paint now. Mill the logs as soon as possible. If you have to store the logs, get them off the ground and away any moisture. Sticker the boards as soon as they are cut. The length of time before they are dry enough to use depends on where you store them, air flow over them, ambient humidity and temperatures, sticker details, etc. Either buy or borrow a moisture meter to monitor the stack and see what happens. Typically I would say 6 months for 8/4 stock and probably a year for 12/4 but it depends on too many things to predict.

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 4781 days

#3 posted 08-02-2010 11:08 PM

1” = 1 year for passive air drying. Don’t mill them at all. Cut them as your 8 or 4/4 rough lumber and dry them first. If you mill them now they will be subject to many changes. Then all your milling will be for naught.

There’s no point in painting the ends if you’re going to slab them up into lumber right away. Painting is only for storing the logs. Once they are slabbed up and you expose large surface area, painting the ends serves no purpose.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4040 days

#4 posted 08-02-2010 11:32 PM

I’ve always heard you need to air dry 1 year plus 1 year per inch (i.e. 2 years for 4/4, 3 years for 8/4, etc.)

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View supervato's profile


153 posts in 3895 days

#5 posted 08-03-2010 12:19 AM

ok that definitly helps i wanted to get them to rough slab for easier storage.

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 4781 days

#6 posted 08-03-2010 01:01 PM

Well, the 1 and 1 is general of course. It depends on the wood and the climate. Beech will take forever and poplar will dry fast. Arizona will dry fast, Alaska, well, maybe forever. ha! Hence the moisture meter to monitor its progress.

BTW, Kiln drying (maybe ask the sawyer) is not necessarily expensive and sure beats waiting a year or so to use your bounty. Remember, the price of your own lumber could/should be alot cheaper than paying at the big box store.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 3924 days

#7 posted 08-03-2010 07:22 PM

I’ve been reading several threads stating the 1” per year air dry thing is a wives tale, others swear by it; I tend to believe it has more to its drying environment than such a mechanical statement can justify. I recommend slicing the lumber as you wish to make it and Anchorsealing (or other product made for the use) the end grain as soon as possible. Catspaws last post seems the best advice of the above. Keep an eye for bug holes or activity, if you find any have the wood kiln dried asap to off the little boogers.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 4087 days

#8 posted 08-03-2010 09:20 PM

I have a sawyer who mills logs for me and I sticker and airdry them for about 6 months before I use them. Of course Idaho summers are dry and hot and the logs that are sawn up have been siiting in my sawyer’s yard for a couple of months (not exactly freshly green).

I say mill them to the thickness that you want but I wouldn’t put any more work into your green boards other than stickering them level and sealing the ends. After they have mostly dried you will find your share of cracked and warped stock, but also some decent stock lumber. I would then put more effort into resizing your decent lumber into the dimensions you want. Also free craigslist latex paint will do for sealing the ends of the boards. I also take a few pictures of the boards in raw log form and pictures of the boards drying. I usually include these when I give the final projects made from the lumber to the new owner.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View supervato's profile


153 posts in 3895 days

#9 posted 08-04-2010 05:23 AM

thank you everybody

View edwin111's profile


1 post in 3770 days

#10 posted 09-21-2010 09:37 AM

Nice post.


View PBthecat's profile


53 posts in 4016 days

#11 posted 09-24-2010 07:52 PM

I’d wait for as long as it took me to purchase a moisture meter…

-- "Every hundred years, all new people"

View Sawmillnc's profile


150 posts in 4020 days

#12 posted 09-27-2010 05:42 AM

I am here to tell you the 1” per year stuff is bunk and I wish this tale would just go away.

Dr Wengert at Madison will tell you otherwise as will the USDA documentation on air drying and kiln drying.

You can effectively air dry Red Oak or White Oak in average temps above 70 degrees in less than 4 months.

I dry thousands of BF of wood ( walnut, oak, cedar, pine etc) and none take that long.

8/4 stock can take upwards to a year or year and a half at most depending upon where you dry and stack.

-- Kyle Edwards,, Iron Station , NC (near Charlotte)

View millmgr's profile


27 posts in 4078 days

#13 posted 09-27-2010 07:28 PM

It’s not so much a time issue as moisture content . Depending on the intended usage, you may be able to make something like a table leg out of well air dried stock, but need kiln dried for furniture, cabinets, doors etc. that will be fastened to kiln dried stock or plywood. There should be some local woodshop or mill with a kiln that will put your boards in with a load that dries on the same schedule and then you don’t have to worry about it.

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