Drying Walnut

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Forum topic by green5800 posted 04-21-2011 09:59 PM 2051 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2862 days

04-21-2011 09:59 PM

I live on Long Island in NY I am about to cut down a 35 foot Walnut treeI want to make a dining room table from the trunk section. If I cut the 14’ trunk piece into 2” thick by 30” wide how long would it take to dry in a unheated garage? I am a furniture make but a complete novice when it comes to working with raw wood. Thanks for your help

6 replies so far

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 2908 days

#1 posted 04-21-2011 11:06 PM

If you are currently in your late 20s or early 30s, it just might dry by the time that you reach mandatory retirement age. ;-))))

Really, I couldn’t say but I’m sure that someone here will be able to give you a rough idea.

BTW, welcome to LumberJocks!!

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View AaronK's profile


1508 posts in 3734 days

#2 posted 04-21-2011 11:19 PM

no idea, but make sure to seal those ends. it would be a (possibly easily accomplished) tragedy if they were to start cracking.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 3228 days

#3 posted 04-22-2011 12:24 AM

It would be somewhat useable in 1 to 1 1/2 years or so, but you really should look for a kiln and get it dried correctly. The wood will move on you if you don’t, potentially ruining your table after it is done.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View David's profile


199 posts in 2933 days

#4 posted 04-22-2011 12:24 AM

Pick up a moisture meter and check it periodically. I’d guess a year or two, but don’t think I’m making that guess based on any experience :) If you want, you’re welcome to dry it in my dehumidified and heated basement, but I’d like an equivalent 8/4 slab as payment…

-- Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves possess. --Gandalf the Grey

View HerbC's profile


1798 posts in 3129 days

#5 posted 04-22-2011 12:26 AM


General rule of thumb for airdrying most roughsawn lumber is 1 year per inch of thickness.

You want to provide adequate ventilation that will allow the moisture to leave the wood in a timely fashion.

1. Use stickers (1” thick sticks) to separate the layers, providing room for airflow between the boards. Space the stickers evenly, for thick slabs 16 – 24” spacing would be ok. Create a level, solid base to stack on and ensure the stickers are aligned vertically to minimize warping.

2. Coat the ends with and end-sealer. You can use many different thing to do this but a product like AnchorSeal works best. This will minimize checking. Coat the ends as soon as possible. If you haven’t cut down the tree yet, get the sealer and coat the log ends as soon as they are trimmed to length, even before having them milled into slabs.

3. If you’re going to put them in your garage, ensure you leave adequate space for air-flow around the stacked lumber. Provide ventilation to remove the moisture from the interior of the garage. An alternative would be to run a dehumidifier in the garage to remove the moisture from the air.

4. If you stack the lumber outside, cover the top of the stack with something to keep water off the stacks. Use old / cheap metal roofing or plywood. DO NOT COVER YOUR STACKS WITH TARPOLIANS, THEY WILL NOT ALLOW MOISTURE TO ESCAPE AND YOUR WOOD WILL MOLD AND MILDEW.
Good Luck!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Madwood's profile


68 posts in 3320 days

#6 posted 04-25-2011 12:46 AM

I agree with Herb. I will add though…you should put the wider boards on the bottom of the stack so they aren’t so prone to warpage. Also, weight the stack down with cinder blocks or other weight. This will minimize any twisting, warpage or cupping of your stack. I have quite a bit of walnut stacked for 4 yrs. Some of the boards are 18-20” wide. They were perfectly flat when I took some out last yr and restacked the pile. Too bad I only have a 13” planer!

-- In the shop making chaos out of order

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