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Ok to Use Kiln Dried Dimensional Lumber in My Garage?

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Forum topic by GLENNpm posted 12-16-2018 03:16 PM 2045 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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GLENNpm

25 posts in 219 days


12-16-2018 03:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: air dry dimensional lumber garage dry question oak wood preparation lumber rack wood storage garage storage kiln dried dimensional lumber

Hi all!

This is my first post here. I’m just now deep diving into woodworking, though I’ve dabbled before. So, please forgive all my upcoming beginner questions that I can’t seem to find answers for through the ol’ Google machine. I’ll try to jump straight to my first issue and would greatly appreciate any advice. I got a deal on around 200 bf of 4/4 mixed oak. It’s green and my only place to store it is in my garage. I don’t have floor space available, so I’m building a rack from dimensional lumber above my cabinets supported by 4×4 posts. Here’s a mach-up:

The only thing different is I’ve decided to go with 2×6’s instead of 2×4’s for the main cross beams around the perimeter and I’m going to set them on the posts with lap joints. I’ll hang a box fan nearby and run on low. It will take a while, but I think they should dry out eventually until I can build or find a kiln in my area to take them for the last stage of drying for any interior use. This whole moisture thing is stressing me out, thought, to be honest. I’m really concerned with doing everything as perfectly as possible. Anything worth doing is worth doing right! I have all my stickers planed to even thickness and even cut a groove down their centers for airflow to hopefully prevent mold and sticker stain:

My plan for tonight was to build this lumber rack perfectly square and level. But then I realized my problem. I bought kiln dried dimensional wood from the Home Depot. If I’m using it in my garage, it’s going to soak up moisture and potentially mess up all my squaring and leveling, right? Although, I’m sure they’ve sat out in the rain and aren’t exactly 6% moisture anymore. I’m just not sure how to tell without a moister meter and I haven’t been able to research enough to decide which meter I should get yet. Am I overthinking this or is this a legit concern? If legit, how long do I need to wait to start working on them? Currently, the lumber is sitting on slightly uneven stickers on my garage floor.

More importantly, it’s taking up my wife’s parking spot in our garage. So, as you can imagine, I’m very motivated to get this project completed sooner rather than later. I just don’t want to jeopardize this drying process and end up with twisted, funky boards when they finally become usable.

P.S.
Also, I heard 2 rumors I’m hoping someone can squash. Someone told me that I can only ever buy kiln dried wood at home stores because of some US law requiring all lumber to be kiln dried. Another person stated that drying lumber in their garage caused all their tools to rust due to the lumber releasing moisture in the air. Please tell me both of these statements are false. I’ve been researching this moisture stuff so much this week that my brain is soggy and I can’t tell the facts from the fiction anymore.

-- Never stop learning.


28 replies so far

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1399 posts in 1238 days


#1 posted 12-16-2018 04:15 PM

I will be the first to tell you. There is no law requiring lumber to be kiln dried. I have acquired air dried lumber directly from sawmills many, many times. I have also bought kiln dried lumber directly from sawmills. I don’t know what big box stores have to do with it.

Drying lumber in your garage might raise the relative humidity a little bit initially but is seems ridiculous to me that it would have that much of an effect on your cast iron.

I will warn you that it takes a looooong time to dry lumber adequately without a kiln.

View GLENNpm's profile

GLENNpm

25 posts in 219 days


#2 posted 12-16-2018 04:32 PM



I will be the first to tell you. There is no law requiring lumber to be kiln dried. I have acquired air dried lumber directly from sawmills many, many times. I have also bought kiln dried lumber directly from sawmills. I don t know what big box stores have to do with it.

Drying lumber in your garage might raise the relative humidity a little bit initially but is seems ridiculous to me that it would have that much of an effect on your cast iron.

I will warn you that it takes a looooong time to dry lumber adequately without a kiln.

- ArtMann

Thanks for the reassurance. I didn’t think those bits of info we’re correct. I think it was in reference to box stores, but that still doesn’t make sense to me.

And yes, I really don’t want to wait on air drying, but can’t really afford the stuff around here that’s already dried. I got this stuff around 20 times cheaper than pre-dried hardwood I’ve found in my area! And I can’t seem to find a kiln around here either. Is live to build the VA Tech kiln one day, but won’t be able to do that for a long time. I’m still just staying out and already feel over my head with the humidity stuff.

On that note, do you have any advice on using the KD pine boards as my base for the drying rack? Will they change so much that it will warp the oak I’m trying to dry on them?

-- Never stop learning.

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

3117 posts in 2595 days


#3 posted 12-16-2018 05:16 PM

Quit sweating the humidity. KD lumber won’t affect your oak or the rack. KD lumber might pickup a few % coming from lumber yard to garage but it might lose a little moisture also depending on how long it has been stored and where. you might want to get an inexpensive moisture meter to monitor the moisture content of you oak. It probably won’t take but a month or so to air dry that oak. The speed it dries at is dependent on temperature and relative humidity it is stored in. That’s where the moisture meter comes in.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2765 posts in 3305 days


#4 posted 12-16-2018 05:21 PM

Your whole garage is made out of dimensional lumber. Using the same for a small rack won’t be an issue at all.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View fuigb's profile

fuigb

559 posts in 3380 days


#5 posted 12-17-2018 03:24 AM

A couple of thoughts…

Seal the ends of your boards or they’ll split. Waste paint is what I use and I’ve lost virtually nothing to splits or ruptures.

You’ll need to prevent your stock from twisting and cupping as it dries. Cinder blocks, bags of cement mix, or anything heavy will do the trick, as will ratchet straps.

You’re going to build a rack onto which the stock will rest? By the time you’ve done that you might have been able to make a simple kiln. Research dehumidifier and space heater kiln options. I made one from salvaged 2x’s and the skins of hollow core doors thrown away by my neighbors. Aside from time and hardware it cost me only the price of insulation and the little fan and milk can heater from a garage sale.

Don’t worry about the moisture that leaves the wood: with the fan and the door opening each day as you come/go things will be fine.

Air drying might take a couple of years to get moisture down to an acceptable level. Waiting sucks, but the greater issue is mold and mildew. Run that fan (on a timer is fine) but monitor and rotate the pile lest something start to grow and spoil things.

If it were me I’d paint the ends tomorrow, sticker, stack, then pile on weight right where it is. Beg your wife for her patience and understanding (and give your spot in the garage) then figure out how to construct a kiln on the cheap.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View GLENNpm's profile

GLENNpm

25 posts in 219 days


#6 posted 12-17-2018 06:09 AM

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I’d rather overthink than under think, but it’s reassuring to hear that I might not need to be so concerned.

As far as the storage goes, I’ll have to build it whether I air or kiln dry. I just don’t have anywhere else to store lumber at all. But I will definitely look into making a smaller, more fordable kiln. Making one from salvaged items is a good idea to help me get working on other projects sooner. Plus, I can practice with a few boards at a time.

-- Never stop learning.

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

958 posts in 1641 days


#7 posted 12-17-2018 01:37 PM


Also, I heard 2 rumors I m hoping someone can squash. Someone told me that I can only ever buy kiln dried wood at home stores because of some US law requiring all lumber to be kiln dried. Another person stated that drying lumber in their garage caused all their tools to rust due to the lumber releasing moisture in the air. Please tell me both of these statements are false. I ve been researching this moisture stuff so much this week that my brain is soggy and I can t tell the facts from the fiction anymore.

- GLENNpm

never heard of that law and if that is the case theres thousands of people breaking it. kiln drying comes into play when wood is transported. theres laws about wood needing to be kiln dried to kill bugs and disease if transporting across some state lines and i think i read even some county lines in some states.
as for the rust- i could see it happening in my shop if i put 5,000 BF of fresh cut in there. but i only have a 16 by 24 shop so that would be a lot of lumber in a small area. i have 6 live edge slabs of red oak and maple(2 1/2” thick) drying in my shop since july. havent had any rust issues.
however, i can run into rust problem if i dont have air movement. i keep a fan going all the time out there and dont have a rust problem.

one more thing:
it reads to me like youre referring to the 6% MC being in the kiln dried construction lumber you purchased from HD to built the rack. if im right, that lumber never was 6% as construction lumber( 2 by anything and 1 by anything used for construction) is only taken to something like 10-15%. ive worked with some that was higher.

View Redman1's profile

Redman1

13 posts in 1399 days


#8 posted 12-17-2018 01:58 PM

Nothing much to add except don’t get caught up in doing thing perfectly. You’ll drive yourself stone nuts. Wood moves and no matter how well joints fit sooner or later things change. I’ve built several tables and pie safes from borg KD lumber in my garage. When brought into the house the wood moved. Oddly my slightly bow table tops got flat over time. One other thing you will driver yourself nuts with it rust. Just remember this cast iron does a lot of things well but the best thing it does is rust. On going care is the only sort of remedy, you can’t stop the rust only slow it down.

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

507 posts in 3617 days


#9 posted 12-17-2018 02:07 PM

One of the biggest differences between kiln dried and air dried is the kiln will kill any bugs that might be present.

I think your rumor about the requirement to buy KD from a big box store was probably started by a big box store employee or stock holder.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

9978 posts in 1561 days


#10 posted 12-17-2018 02:36 PM

I applaud your thoroughness but you are way overthinking on this one! Save all that research for when you build a kiln ;-) For now, put your rack up out of whatever lumber you want and throw the Oak up there with stickers and some ratchet straps or cinder blocks to hold it fairly flat and forget about it. Sealing up the ends is good idea too.

Welcome to LJs!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1078 posts in 3240 days


#11 posted 12-17-2018 03:19 PM

The rumor your heard might have a small basis in fact. Where I live (in eastern Canada) building code requires using stamped KD lumber for anything that’s structural. I’ve heard of inspectors making people tear studs out because they weren’t KD. Which is silly, because as long as air-dried lumber has reached equilibrium moisture content it won’t really move any more than kiln-dried.
But this does not stop stores from selling air-dried. One of the local hardware stores near me sells 2×4s that are not kiln-dried. And there are plenty of local sawyers selling air dried lumber.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

586 posts in 326 days


#12 posted 12-17-2018 09:26 PM

If your wife’s parking spot will be under the lumber rack you’re building, be sure the posts are spaced far enough for the car to easily fit. Measure twice. Allow for a newer, bigger car.

My wife suggests you buy her a car cover to protect her car while it sits outside.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

442 posts in 1107 days


#13 posted 12-18-2018 03:22 PM

where are you located? some of us may know of a local kiln operator

I’m usually all for sealing ends but if this lumber was sawn a while back it may no longer make sense unless you cut some off the ends.

The only time I’ve ever had any issues with rust from drying lumber was when i put 2 large swamp maple logs in my garage fresh from the mill. They gave off a ton of moisture in the first couple of weeks. After that, it was not an issue.

View GLENNpm's profile

GLENNpm

25 posts in 219 days


#14 posted 12-21-2018 11:13 AM

Thank you all for the feedback! I feel much better about it all. I’m sorry I’m just replying. I’ve been swamped at work this week and just now able to catch my breath.

@tomsteve
OK. This makes sense. The person who told me this had a business making skids and crates for local manufacturers to ship their products around the world. I think he was applying his business regulations to what I’m doing. My shop is about the same size as yours (2 car garage), but I’m only looking at 250 board feet. So far, so good. Makes sense on the KD. I assumed it would be lower than it might actually be.

@Redman1
I’m definitely an overthinker and researcher. Just starting out with this stuff, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So, it’s great to hear your advise. Hopefully, I’ll find out I can be a lot less careful. I’d rather that than find out I messed everything up by being too careless. As far as rust goes, I guess I finally have something to be thankful about concerning my cheap aluminum table saw! haha

@Jeff
haha. That would be something else. But no. I know this guy pretty well and figured he was probably confused. That’s why I asked you all. I explained it above to tomsteve. I think I understand the confusion now. Sometimes a person’s entire worldview can be skewed because of their limited perspective. There might be a lesson in that somewhere. haha.

@HokieKen
Thanks for the warm welcome! You’re spot on about my overthinking. But I have a lot of catching up to do! Not too long ago, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a planer! My world has flipped upside down and I’m drinking it all in! haha. But yeah, I’m still trying to figure out how to make good measurements and straight cuts. So even now that I realize it’s not necessary, I’m taking my time to build this lumber rack as if it’s fine furniture. I need the practice! I’m sure it will still come out super wonky and look like the garbage the rest of you throw out, but there’s only one way to get good at something: practice, practice, practice. So, I built up a jointing jig for my table saw and going to try and square everything up and do some sort of simple, but proper joinery for the first time in my life. Maybe by the time this wood dries, I’ll be able to make something of halfway decent quality with it! Speaking of kilns, I’m all up for looking into that soon! do you have any suggestions where to look to make something small and easy to operate so that an elementary woodworker can’t blow up?

@jdh122
I see what you’re saying. That makes a bit of sense to me. In this case, my friend was referring to rules related to insects and thought it applied to more than just his industry.

@Phil32
Good call! But then again, this might be a good reason to buy a new place with a big ‘ol shop, right? haha.

@avsmusic1
I’m in western Arkansas. The only kiln I found so far is in eastern Oklahoma and didn’t have room for me. When he makes room, he’s wanting to charge $1 per board foot. I’m not sure what normal is, but considering that’s actually more than I paid for my lumber, it feels excessive. I was planning to paint the ends at my first opportunity – which will be in the next couple of days. I would estimate they were cut down right around 3 weeks ago. Now I’m worried about rust again. I actually did notice rust on an old hammer for the first time the other day. But that could just be because now I’m looking for it. What kind/amount of rust did you experience? on what and to what extent? You said it wasn’t an issue after the first couple weeks. Does that mean the rusted pieces were easily salvageable?

-- Never stop learning.

View becikeja's profile

becikeja

1003 posts in 3235 days


#15 posted 12-21-2018 11:23 AM

Overthinking——Relax, woodworking is supposed to be fun and enjoyable.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

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