Drying time of logs

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Forum topic by Brodan posted 04-14-2021 02:44 AM 385 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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269 posts in 2387 days

04-14-2021 02:44 AM

Had to cut down a maple tree after it caused me to replace a water line. Stacked the logs on pallet where they have sat for about 18 months. I milled a couple of 12” sections and it was spalted. It is solid, not soft. My question is how long until a log stored outside reaches a moisture content at which it can be used? Having been stacked outside for that time would the internal moisture be reduced sufficiently so as the risk of splitting is less likely when brought indoors and cut into small boards?

Here’s a couple of pics of a couple of pieces

-- Dan, TN

7 replies so far

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6573 posts in 3393 days

#1 posted 04-14-2021 03:10 AM


-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Robert's profile


4556 posts in 2565 days

#2 posted 04-14-2021 10:21 AM

Air dry depends on the climate. In my zone that’s 12-16%.

You’ll need to get it down to 8%, again, depending on climate, this may require a kiln.

Risk of insect damage is higher with air dried, kiln dying addresses this issue.

I’ve had the experience of borer holes emerging in wood 2 years after installing in a house.

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

View OSU55's profile


2794 posts in 3074 days

#3 posted 04-14-2021 11:54 AM

Logs will rot (spalting is the beginning of rot) before “drying”. You have it backwards – the wood is more likely to split left whole, less likely if cut into boards.

I also turn wood on a lathe. I turn it wet then let it dry.

View bondogaposis's profile


5986 posts in 3435 days

#4 posted 04-14-2021 01:59 PM

You should mill those logs as soon as you can. Boards will dry much faster than logs. Logs will check and rot and the longer you wait the more wood will be wasted due to checking.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Underdog's profile


1659 posts in 3120 days

#5 posted 04-14-2021 03:25 PM

It will dry quicker and better if sawn into boards.
You want to do two things:
1) control the drying – so paint the end grain with latex or wax emulsion.. anything to seal the end grain to slow moisture escaping out of the end so quickly – you want it to dry evenly out of the side grain.
2) control the tension created. So if you saw it into boards, you’ve eliminated a big part of tension created when a log is dried – ie. the circumference and the center are losing water at the same rate, so when the larger circumference shrinks, it tends to develops tension and splits.

Good luck and have fun. That’s some really pretty wood.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View Brodan's profile


269 posts in 2387 days

#6 posted 04-14-2021 11:02 PM

I appreciate everyone’s advise. It’s clear I was way off base stacking logs and thinking it will dry. I will saw it and put it up in my shop.

The spalted was a nice surprise.

Thanks Dan

-- Dan, TN

View pottz's profile


16901 posts in 2068 days

#7 posted 04-15-2021 12:18 AM

that spalt is beautiful,dont let it go too waste man!

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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