How long can I expect green 4X4 and 2X4 lumber to cure? I have it all
stacked together on a level surface. I do not have 1/4" strips separating
the wood, however there is a constant dry breeze. Am I looking at 6-8
weeks? 6 months? I know there are variables that I haven't thought of, but
I'm just trying to figure out when I can use this stuff.
Also if this lumber is on a level surface, can I expect it to warp? How can
I prevent warp?
Without strips (called "stickers") separating the layers of wood, it will not
dry in your lifetime - it will rot first. The wood *must* have air circulation
on *all* sides in order to dry. And the stickers need to be thicker than 1/4"
for proper air circulation: 3/4" is better.
You *must* sticker the wood if you expect it dry properly. This is not
optional. You'll have a pile of useless, rotted wood within a year if you
The rule of thumb for air-dryed wood is one year per inch of thickness, plus
one year - so figure 5 years for 4" thick lumber, 3 years for 2" thickness. If
you live in an area with very low humidity (such as Arizona), it won't take
that long; OTOH, if you're in Florida, it could be much longer.
Not enough information to tell. Depends on the species, on the individual
tree, what part of the tree the wood came from (trunk or branch), on how the
wood was sawn from the log, and on how it's stacked.
If the tree was pretty close to straight when it was alive, the wood came
from the trunk and was cut properly and stickered promptly, stacked on a level
surface, you won't see too much warping. OTOH, if the tree was leaning, or if
you cut lumber out of large branches, it'll warp. (Google search on "reaction
wood" to learn why.) Some species (e.g. beech) are prone to warping, others
(e.g. black walnut) generally are not. Quartersawn lumber is more stable than
flatsawn lumber. And on and on.
For more information:
1) look for a copy of "Fine Woodworking on Wood and How to Dry It" at your
2) check out the chapter on drying wood in "Wood Handbook: Wood as an
Engineering Material" available on-line at
3) post your question over at rec.woodworking - several guys there air-dry
their own wood, and can give you a lot of useful tips.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
This is Turtle.
Without Strips deviding the wood to dry. It should be dry by the year 2035 or
If you strip it ever 30 inches you should not have much warping of the wood.
Like it is you can see the dry wood by it turning up or bowing up to show it. As
it drys through the years it will bow to tell you it is dry.
Doug Miller has some good words on dring the wood.
Or, weight it down with cement blocks over the stickers.
Other factors of importance:
1. cover the stack, like with tarp, over the top, and extending off the
sides, to shed water and minimize direct sunshine. Cover as little as
2. place stack with max southern exposure, and open to wind movement.
Temperature is very important to drying wood, having major impact on
equilibrium content of wood and drying rate.
The important thing to remember in home drying rough wood is keep it slow.
The slower the drying the less checking and fibre seperation.
If the wood is to be used for framing, use it green and quick or it will
walk away on you. Old timers up here in central ontario's logging country
would stack and sticker hardwood in barn lofts and cover it with sawdust to
control drying. Quick dries destroy wood.
Remove the obvious to reply. Experienced and reliable
Concrete Finishing and Synthetic Stucco application in the GTA.
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