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How to dry fresh wood??

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  • How to dry fresh wood??

    Today I lost a box elder which was dying.
    the tree guy cut me two slabs that are about two feet across a nd two or three inches thick.
    What I need to know is how do I dry it out without getting cracks?

  • #2
    I'm no expert in this field, but I believe if you paint the ends of the planks with a good quality house paint and store them somewhere (a shed) that the air can circulate around them they will dry. A general rule of thumb is that it takes a year per inch to completely dry, so in your case you are probably looking at 2 to 3 years , depending on the climate in your area.
    If you're looking for me, you'll find me in a pile of wood chips somewhere...


    • #3
      I use Anchor brand end grain sealer and have had good luck. Do your pieces include any pith wood? As the pith dries differently then the other wood and often causes cracking. I drill out the pith out of logs I’m drying.
      Living in a pile of chips.


      • #4
        Stacked and stickered in the shade, you can expect the wood to air-dry at a rate of about 1" thickness per year.
        Slow drying seems to ease the strains of water loss better than fast/hot drying.

        Paint the cut ends with anything you've got, even carpenter's glue.
        The concept is to slow down the water loss form the cut end so it's more like the water loss from the broad side surfaces.

        No, there's nothing at all to guarantee that the wood will dry with no cracks, no matter what you do.

        I buy 24" western red cedar shake blocks. Fresh, a big block might weigh approx 40 lbs.
        Given a few years outdoors on top of the dog house, that might go down to 25 lbs.
        I expect the ends to crack in maybe 4", giving me 16+ inches of good carving wood.
        Sometimes, I can ignore the cracks and carve right through them.
        Brian T


        • #5
          If you want to know how dry it is during the process, weigh the slab row and record it. Calculate the cubic feet in each slab (length in inches x width in inches x thickness in inches, then divide by 1728). Every so often, weigh the slabs again and record. The average weight for dried box elder is 30.2 pounds/cubic foot (nominally at 12% moisture content).

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          • #6
            I suspect your tree guy just cut you some "rounds" off the trunk of the tree. In other words, you can count the growth rings to see how old it is on the top and bottom of the piece and perhaps it has bark around the 2-3 inch thick edge? The reason I say this is because it would be highly unusual for a tree guy to cut it up into board or slabs for you. If this is what you have, then painting it top and bottom is about the best you can do, but it will probably crack despite your best efforts.
            'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"