air drying lumber on garage wall rack?

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Forum topic by martin007 posted 07-31-2008 03:09 PM 7065 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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142 posts in 4280 days

07-31-2008 03:09 PM


I have green lumber that I would like to air dry in my garage wall rack. But doing this, I will not be able to stack it as high as I would like to, only 3 or 4 board high. So my worry is, does it require to have some weight on the lumber so that the boards remain flat.


-- Martin, Gatineau, Qu├ębec

6 replies so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4202 days

#1 posted 07-31-2008 04:54 PM

Make sure you keep it well away from a cement floor or wall and air has to flow through the boards

View Mrdude's profile


10 posts in 4131 days

#2 posted 08-04-2008 10:44 PM

Yes, you should have something on it to help keep it flat. It will take years and years to get it dry. If you ever plan to have it be furniture quality, it needs to be dried to 6-8% moisture content. That comes from kiln drying it. If you don’t kiln dry, best you’ll likely get is 12%. Something to think about. It would be disappointing to have a project go bad later.

View Boardman's profile


157 posts in 4266 days

#3 posted 08-05-2008 02:26 PM

Ufortunately, that’s one of the toughest ways to dry lumber. Enclosed buildings trap humidity. Years and years ago I stacked some green pressure treated pine in my garage because I wouldn’t be able to get to the deck project for a couple weeks or so. When I uncovered the middle of the pile it had mold all over it.

Air flow is the key, allowing the off-gassed moisture to dissapate. Although it mainly applies to larger stacks, you have to rotate the inner and outer sections of the pile to keep the drying at an average rate. And weight for flatness.

As far as 6-8% MC from air dried lumber, Arizona is about the only place you can get there by only air drying. Here in MN I’ve seen it get as low as 10% outside.

Are you air-drying it to preserve the color? I do that with walnut or cherry since they have the greatest color variance in air dry vs. only kiln dry. But even then I take it as low as I can get it outside then kiln it for the last few %. Stuuf like oak, maple, etc. – it doesn’t make much difference.

View stanley2's profile


354 posts in 4300 days

#4 posted 08-05-2008 05:02 PM

Martin, see my air drying fixture in my projects
With the proper setup and air movement you can do better than 12%.

-- Phil in British Columbia

View Boardman's profile


157 posts in 4266 days

#5 posted 08-05-2008 07:25 PM

Phil – I didn’t see that before. An absolutely great idea! Solves all the problems.

View MattH's profile


27 posts in 4143 days

#6 posted 08-07-2008 08:25 AM

You can get air-dried if you wait, at least in Northern CA. I am about to put down a floor of black acacia which has been cut & stickered a bit over a couple of years, and it’s about 8% or so. It was dried & stickered in the house (I set the stack in the kitchen over a vent with weight on it, and built tunnels through the stack to push the hot air through it for two winters). B/c it was a year down at 1” thick when it went into the house, it didn’t crack or anything and it’s now ready to be put down.

-- Death before dishonour; nothing before coffee

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