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Forum topic by Pipertom posted 04-18-2017 10:58 PM 800 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1013 days

04-18-2017 10:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: kiln drying air drying trim black walnut walnut

I have air-dried black walnut planks that were stickered and stored in my garage for the last seven years. Yesterday a local specialty woods yard planed them to ~ 3/4 thickness and the planer operator took a moisture reading which turned out to be 12% which was what he had predicted.

He suggested I let the wood dry for another year in the interior space where I’m going to use it (a bathroom where it will be used to trim out the windows, as a shelf over the counter backsplash and to trim out where the ceiling panels meet the beam.

My question is can I use it now or would it be better to find a place that will kiln dry it to the 7 – 8% that the plane man was recommending ?

9 replies so far

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1511 days

#1 posted 04-18-2017 11:11 PM

Let her rip.

View JayCee123's profile


200 posts in 1374 days

#2 posted 04-18-2017 11:46 PM

You’ve been air drying for 7 years, the moisture reading was 12%, that would indicate your local Relative Humidity is in the area of 64 – 70%. Have you been taking moisture content (MC) readings as you have been drying your stock ? That could have help you determine if your stock has reached equilibrium with your surrounding. If you have it kiln dried to 7 – 8% and then return it to your shop, without taking any measures to lower and control the relative humidity; the walnut is going to absorb the available moisture until it reaches equilibrium and eventually return to the 12% MC. Even with a finish applied, the walnut will continue to absorb moisture, at a slower rate, but given enough time the walnut will absorb moisture until it reaches equilibrium with its surroundings.

Not knowing the relative humidity in your area its difficult to say if your 12% reading is reflecting stock which has already reached equilibrium. Your indicated uses don’t seem to be so critical, and by following good WW practices you should be able to design for wood movement.

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 2906 days

#3 posted 04-19-2017 12:07 AM

Use it. It’s going into a steamy environment. It doesn’t need to get any drier.

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1508 days

#4 posted 04-19-2017 12:09 AM

Since it was just planed, I would give it a couple of weeks.

View Bob5103's profile


150 posts in 1443 days

#5 posted 04-19-2017 12:33 AM

Where do you live? I live in the Pacific NW and all of my wood is at 11-12%. Personally I would just carry on and “get er done”.

View mudflap4869's profile


2008 posts in 2068 days

#6 posted 04-19-2017 12:57 AM

The humidity in a steamy bathroom is always higher than it would be in a dry garage. Make allowances for swelling and build away.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View Rich's profile


5152 posts in 1199 days

#7 posted 04-19-2017 01:00 AM

+1 jbay

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Pipertom's profile


2 posts in 1013 days

#8 posted 04-19-2017 01:19 AM

Man was that fast !

I live in upstate New York: hot and humid in the summer, cold and humid in winter. Indoor humidity is low from the effects of heating. I have to run a room humidifier to keep my instruments at a friendly level.

The reading the planer operator took yesterday was the first time MC was ever measured for this lumber.

Thanks to all LumberJocks who replied. I will be trimming my bathroom right soon !

View ArtMann's profile


1462 posts in 1425 days

#9 posted 04-19-2017 09:19 PM

Here is something to think about. Up until the 20th century, all lumber was air dried. Some of the most exquisite furniture I have ever seen is on display in Williamsburg, VA and was built in the 17th century. Obviously, that particular wood didn’t need kiln drying. The lumber doesn’t need to be 7% moisture. It needs to have the same moisture content as the environment in which it will be used.

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