Drying pine

I am going to cut 4000 board feet of eastern white pine and have it milled into 6" X 3/4" X 8' boards. If I stack this wood in a boiler room of a building which is constantly 70 degrees F could I expect it to dry to the point where I could use it for interior walls (V style Tongue and groove). Maybe put a dehumidifier in with it. It would be in the boiler room for 8-9 months. Locally it is pretty expensive to have lumber kiln dried.
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Not an expert on the subject, but the key to proper drying is to have the lumber stacked and stickered properly, and have excellent air circulation. I don't know of too many boiler rooms that have really good air circulation, but at the same time, the wood won't be exposed to the outdoors either. You certainly won't get the degradation common to pine that is dried outside.
The dehumidifier will help, but you'll need a *big* one for that much lumber. Without doing the calculations, I'd bet 4000 board feet of green pine might contain a couple hundred gallons of water.
Check this link: http://www.popularwoodworking.com/features/fea.asp?id 63
Jon E
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4000 bd ft is 333-1/3 cu ft. of lumber.
At merely 20% moisture content, that's 66-2/3 cu ft of H2O.
Or almost 500 gallons of moisture.
Call it 25 gallons for *each* percentage point of moisture content.
Postulating you've got dehumidifier capability to take 40 qt/day out of the air, that's roughly a week _per_point_ of moisture reduction. *assuming* you can maintain close to maximum dehumidification for the entire period.
Secondly, there are the space requirements:
Including the room for the stickers, this will occupy a space 6' high, by 8 ft long, by roughly 10 ft wide. And you'll need 3-4 times that space, for 'working room' when 'rotating' the stock.
*AND* one has to get decent air circulation through the *ENTIRE* stack
High -speed- air flow is not desirable, but one *does* want the _entire_ air mass to be moving. With relatively even airflow over _all_ the stock (else, things dry unevenly). Thus, it's a "Good Idea"(TM) to rotate the stock several times during the drying period.
I sure wouldn't want to be rotating 4000' bd ft of stock _by_hand_ every few weeks. WITH a fork-lift, It's probably at least a half-day each time, even if things are carefully banded on pallets.
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wrote:

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Outdoors in the barn and no central heat/air.
Folklore.

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If you are talking about planing this lumber green and want 3/4" dry stock you better mill to at least 7/8". Better to saw to 1 1/8" and plane when dry. As for air drying. It is best to do it outside or in an unheated building. If it starts to dry too fast it will check and split very badly. I keep my wood outside at least until it gets to less than 15% mc and then bring it in side, but, still not too much heat.
-- Bill Rittner R & B ENTERPRISES Manchester, CT
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the rule of thumb for air drying hardwoods is 1" per year. I don't know how that will relate to your pine, but if it's cut at 3/4" and stacked well with stickers in the right places it sounds like the timing is about right.
some things:
how dry is the wood now? trying to force the drying by high temperatures and low humidity can ruin the wood. kiln drying starts with high temperatures and high humidity and doesn't start dropping the humidity until the wood moisture content gets well down.
make sure your stacks can and do get good circulation, or you will get moldy wood.
make sure that the boiler room isn't the home of termites.
all of that escaping moisture has to go somewhere. in this case it's going into the building with the boiler room. it's going to smell like drying wood. make sure the dampness isn't going to damage anything and that the smell isn't going to offend anyone.
keep good airflow....
    Bridger
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I'd keep in mind that if you have the stock sawn to 6" X 3/4" it will no longer be 6" X 3/4" when it dries. The good news it that it will still be 8' long.
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I would be more concerned with 6'' board "cupping"& warping if it isn't stacked right, than the speed or means of drying it.

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Is moisture content calculated by weight or volume? I was actually going to have it milled to 15/16" and after it was dry have it planed to 3/4". This boiler room is in the basement of an 8 unit apartement building. There is a drain in the floor near where I was planning on doing this so I was thinking the dehumidifyer could continously dump into the drain. I had no idea there would be 500 gallons of water in that much lumber. There is approx. 30' X 20' of open space in the 100' X 60' basement. There are apartments directly over this area, would the smell be offensive to the tenants?

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habbi wrote:

No.
I've worked in steam plants/ powerhouses and have been in boiler rooms.
They are about the most humid places I've been. Only thing you'll do with a dehumidifier is run up the electric bill and wear out the machine.
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Mark

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On Tue, 13 Jan 2004 15:24:25 GMT, Mark wrote:

I agree, the dehumidifier is a waste of time. Your 500 gallons of water will get sucked up the flue of the boiler.
To save space you could get your timber milled into 2"+ boards, dry them & then get them resawn. Longer drying time but thicker boards are less likely to cup and twist whilst drying & less work stickering them.
If you've got use of a barn, I'd put them in there instead. Or even a patch of ground where you can sticker them and cover them with a tarp (plenty of airflow). Although the resulting moisture content of the boards will probably end up higher than the boiler room, unless you use them during the summer months (assuming you're not in the tropics or in the Arctic ;)
BTW, Taunton press do a book "Wood & how to dry it" which is worth getting considering the value of the timber you are dealing with.
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Frank

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