Lumber Drying is Removing the Moisture from your Lumber

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Lumber drying is removing the moisture from your lumber.

This is a necessary process in order to get the moisture content out of the lumber that you are going to use for your projects.

If you use lumber that has too much moisture content to make a project and then when completed you move the project into an area that is warm the project will warp and shrink.

This will spoil all of the hard work that was required to make this item.

There are a number of different methods to accomplish the removal of moisture content from your lumber.

  • Air drying
  • Electric heat
  • Dehumidifier
  • Wood heat

There is a science to the lumber drying

If it is done incorrectly the quality of the lumber will not be as expected.

When the moisture content is removed from the cells of the wood the rate of how fast or slow this is done will determine how much the adjacent cells are affected.

This is why when the moisture is extracted too fast the lumber will warp or twist.

So often it is best to use the slow easy way to dry the lumber.

I like to use the air lumber drying method.

I think that whatever method you use the first step is to let the boards air dry outside with a cover over the stack.

I stack the boards up off the ground and sticker them with 3/4inch stickers placed no more than 3 feet apart.

I then cover the stack with a roof to keep the elements off the stack.

I usually let the boards set outside with the air moving through the stack for a period of time.

A couple of months in the summer or warmer weather does a nice job of pre-drying the lumber.

I have a solar kiln that I use for the final lumber drying

  • This is made from a plan that I obtained from the Forest Service.

  • The concept is quite simple.

  • There are the glass panels positioned at around 40 degree.

  • Under the panels there is a chamber painted in black that has the air moving through it.

    This air is heated as it travels up the chamber and is exhausted into the area where the lumber is stacked and stickered.

  • There is a fan that circulates the warm air through the stack of lumber.

  • The temperature inside compared to the outside is increased to a large amount.

  • I can and do get the moisture content down below 10 percent on my moisture meter using this method.

A good thing when using the slow but sure method is that the moisture is removed at such a slow rate that the distortion of the lumber is very little.

There are not the splits and checks evident that other methods can produce.

Another type of kiln that is in use for lumber drying is the electric furnace type.

This is very similar to what is common in a home.

The idea is the same.

It is just a forced air system and when the warm air contacts the surface of the board the moisture is drawn out.

One drawback to this system is the cost of operation.

The dehumidifier that is used for lumber drying is the same as used in homes to draw moisture out of areas.

This is an effective method of drawing the moisture out.

If the moisture is drawn too fast it will distort the board.

This type of machine does have controls so the rate can be varied.

It does take some experience and time and error to come up with a good quality product.

There are on the market the wood heat type drier.

These use an external wood heat chamber and either the air or water will circulate through the heat chamber and get heated up before it is directed into the area where the lumber is stacked.

The advantage of this sort of setup is the cost of operation.

If you have a lot of fire wood available and lots of energy then perhaps this is something that will work for you.

So whichever method of lumber drying you choose to use you must use one or the other if you are going to use your lumber for finished projects.

It is a waste of time and energy to make some project and then have it to be ruined because of the lumber warping or twisting

If you are not in a great hurry to dry your lumber and want to save energy you can use the solar drying kiln.  This is what I use with good results.  An advantage of using this method is it is slow so there is less warp and checking of the lumber.  You can go to this site to get some more information on this method:

The solar drying kiln I installed was plans from the US forest service.  You can go to this site to get the plans to build one of these:

Click on this link:

A faster way to dry your lumber is with of use of a dehumidifier.  If this is what you want to try you can go to this site to get more information:

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