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Seasoning lumber from a hardwood supplier

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Forum topic by groland posted 02-11-2020 05:47 PM 563 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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groland

230 posts in 4293 days


02-11-2020 05:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: seasoning rough sawn stock from a lumber yard

When I looked through search results for seasoning lumber, most of the entries treated green wood.

I buy my rough sawn lumber from a commercial lumber mill. Their stock is kiln dried and, I suspect, just stacked, not stickered, until sold. (I’ll have to contact them to find out.)

When I buy lumber from them, it comes, via UPS, wrapped in cardboard, with strapping tape to hold the bundle together. I usually unwrap it right away and put it in my shop where I have a mini-split so heat and AC provide fairly stable, low-humidity conditions. This lumber, then, has been removed from a stack, wrapped, sent in unheated trucks and warehouses for a couple of days until I receive it.

So, now with that background, I wonder what you folks do with such lumber? My inclination is to leave it for a few days to aclimate to my shop, do a preliminary milling—joint and thickness plane it square, leave it for, maybe a week and check and re-mill it if needed before beginning to use it in a project.

Does this treatment sound reasonable, or do I need to leave it more time to aclimate? I am typically using 4/4 to 8/4 cherry, walnut and hard maple.

Any thoughts??

Thanks,

George


12 replies so far

View Walker's profile

Walker

404 posts in 1353 days


#1 posted 02-11-2020 06:02 PM

I’m interested in the answer to this as well. Though in my case I get rough cut or already dimensioned hardwood from a local shop with a controlled environment, spends 15 minutes in my car before entering my not so environment controlled basement.

I’m guessing part of the answer is to get a hygrometer for your shop a good moisture meter. Know the moisture content when you first get the wood, find out where it’s at after a week, and how long it takes to stabilize.

-- ~Walker

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Bill_Steele

730 posts in 2612 days


#2 posted 02-11-2020 07:03 PM

I think your approach sounds reasonable. Are you experiencing problems with lumber warping?

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splintergroup

4046 posts in 2103 days


#3 posted 02-11-2020 08:35 PM

When I get lumber that way, I’ll sticker it in my shop for at least a week or two before touching it. If I’m then going to be using it directly, I’ll skim plane it, let it sit for a few more days, then go for it. Some woods get a bit twisty if you don’t go slowly on the planing/rest cycle so I’ll give them a few more days and approach the final dimensions in smaller bites.

Of course the big indicator is to look at where the wood originates. I’m in the dry Southwest so I can usually assume that any wood not local is going to have more room to dry after arriving here. This is where the initial stacking (and stickering) can alleviate some of the slight warps as it dries to the local conditions.

More typically if I order lots of wood, the quantity (> 100bf.) will be such that it is shipped via truck, stacked and strapped to a pallet.

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MPython

307 posts in 693 days


#4 posted 02-12-2020 02:28 PM

I agree with splintergroup, go slow with the planing. When I bring new lumber in the shop. I let it sit for at least two weeks before I touch it. Next I dress it to rough dimensions and let it sit until I’m ready to use it. At that point I’ll joint and plane it to final dimensions and use it right away. Right now I have a panel glue-up waiting in the shop that I jointed and planed to final dimensions several months ago. I got interrupted before I glued it up and built into my case. One thing led to another and it has been several months before I got back to it. One of the boards in the panel cupped during that time and has to be replaced. Wood continues to move, even after it has been acclimated in the shop. The best practice is to save the final dimensioning until you are ready to use it and don’t let it lay around after you dimension it.

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Bobsboxes

1447 posts in 3545 days


#5 posted 02-12-2020 05:08 PM

Two weeks in shop stickered, then plane each side of board equally. The bigger the glue up, the more chance of warp and cupping. Go slow or chance having to fix it.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

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therealSteveN

6436 posts in 1455 days


#6 posted 02-12-2020 05:24 PM



Two weeks in shop stickered, then plane each side of board equally. The bigger the glue up, the more chance of warp and cupping. Go slow or chance having to fix it.

- Bobsboxes

Read, then reread the parts Bruce (Splint) and Bob have typed out here.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

1710 posts in 1469 days


#7 posted 02-12-2020 08:41 PM

You do not want to “acclimatize” kiln dried lumber. You want to use it quickly before it absorbs significant moisture.

Properly kiln dried lumber is overdried and therefore at its smallest possible dimension. M&T and most other joinery will only tighten as the kiln dried lumber slowly returns to the ambient moisture level and expands.

If you acclimatize kiln dried lumber in a humid environment and then build, in the winter when things dry out, the furniture will come apart.

Use kiln dried lumber as quickly as practical.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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Axis39

357 posts in 478 days


#8 posted 02-13-2020 03:46 PM

I love aging wood in my shop for as long as possible. I cut into a walnut board I’ve had around for about fifteen years last week. I have some maple that’s about the same age.

When I remodeled, we always let wood flooring sit in the house it was to be installed in for as long as we could… Usually, up to a week if at all possible. But, as we know, that’s not always possible. And today’s flooring companies don’t care, they show up that morning and start installing right away.

I moved from the wet Mid Atlantic to Southern California. So, any of the wood I brought with me has been kept un-messed-with for about a year and a half now. One piece was that walnut, it’s been very stable and didn’t move a hair when I began milling it. I avoided dipping into my wood reserve as long as I could, and will continue to keep the few pieces I haven’t touched in place as long as possible as well.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View groland's profile

groland

230 posts in 4293 days


#9 posted 02-13-2020 03:57 PM

Madmark2,

Yours is the outlier response here. It makes me wonder how one knows when lumber was kiln dried in the first place. If the mill cuts and kiln dries lumber then stacks it in a warehouse, might it not sit there for days, weeks, months or years before it is packed up and shipped to me? What then?

I am reading Bruce Hoadley’s book on understanding Wood just now. His take is that the best thing is for lumber to be acclimated to the environment in which it will be used before it is used for furniture.

What say you good sir?

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Robert

4046 posts in 2361 days


#10 posted 02-13-2020 04:02 PM

I’ve never experienced what MadMark is talking about.

The biggest problem I’ve have with KD lumber is stress movement, especially after ripping. If the lumber is dried too rapidly, it can be case hardened—yes its stable until its opened up, & since it wasn’t dried long and slow, there can be lots of internal stresses that haven’t subsided.

Its all economics on the part of the processor who can afford to leave wood in a kiln for a month?.

This is the advantage of buying rough lumber at least you have some leeway with milling.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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bugradx2

181 posts in 900 days


#11 posted 02-13-2020 04:44 PM

Thanks for posting this, I’ve been wondering many of the same things and was considering posting on the forum. The comments from everyone on acclimation of the wood made a lot of sense and it certainly depends on where you live. I’ve got a couple of sawmills and several local guys around me who offer stuff for sale all the time and I’ve been really hesitant to take advantage of what looks like really good pricing because I’m pretty uneducated on how long to let the wood sit.

I do think that a moisture meter will tell you a whole bunch and is probably a good start. I’m an engineer so data kinda drives me… I need to read up on the process a little too. There is a butter zone for moisture vs movement.

-- The only thing not measured in my shop is time

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

1710 posts in 1469 days


#12 posted 02-13-2020 05:05 PM

Groland:

Wood is a commodity, it doesn’t pay to let it stand around once dried.

Check the date on the grading stamp.

I buy enough from my supplier to know that his stock turns rapidly.

Buy a moisture meter and test it yourself.

Stickered wood needs a year per inch to dry, longer if harder.

When all else fails open your mouth and ask your supplier. If you don’t trust his answer don’t buy there.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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