Aint no quick way-- Unless you saw them up & make a kiln. Wood air
dries at about 1" a year. Remove the bark--Paint the ends immediately
after cutting-- there are commercial waxes available for this ( ck out
alt.woodturning) I've always used gloss oil based paint. I've had
pretty good luck air drying in the shop after I sawed the boards to
1.5"-- You did not mention what kind of wood nor what you are going to
use it for. Aeromatic Cedar won't need much drying time, but it will
split like crazy if you leave it in the sun
I have a few acres and a quite a few young birch. I am making
coasters. I cut up a bunch from a just cut down tree and wound up with
a ton of end grain sanding. I was hoping to help myself out by drying
Thank you for your input, if I cut them about 1/2 inch wide the seemed
to dry by the fire fairly fast.
Yep, wood loses moisture from the end at about ten times (10-15 according to
FPL) the rate of face grain. Phil heard an inch per year somewhere, and has
not, apparently done much drying or research. That "rule" applies to boards
in outdoor New England.
For biscuits, you're going to want to cut them green, because birch,
especially white birch, spalts so easily in the log. The bark is
waterproof, and so will hold the interior above 20% MC - the mold point -
for a _very_long time. Removing the bark is a guarantee of radial checks,
so you're doing the right thing - less the fire, which might increase the
rate of checking - right now.
We turners often sand at about 100 while the wood is wet, using open coat
stearated paper. Cuts faster then, one grit from reality after it dries,
and doesn't build up heat and produce end checks so readily.
I have a lot of birch trees in the woods around my house, and what you
say about the bark holding the moisture in is really true. If a birch
goes down and I leave the logs intact, they will rot very quickly.
Within a year or two, they are not even usable for firewood, and after
several years, the inside completely rots out, and you have an empty
hull of bark. As I heard on a Canadian TV show once, "even the lowly
beaver knows not to cross a stream on a birch log".
HOWEVER, once, when a BIG birch came down, I took about a 6' long
section of the trunk, and split it down the middle into 2 pieces. I was
intending to make a bench out of it, but never got around to it, and
just left it out in the woods. After about 6 years, I thought for sure
that it was rotten, however I needed a piece of birch for a small
project I was working on, and remembered that split trunk, which still
had the bark on it BTW. Went out in the woods, and I was really
surprised. The wood had dried very nicely, and was hard as a rock. Birch
cuts like butter when green, but once dried, it is quite hard.
Anyway, it may not be necessary to completely cut up the wood. You
may be able to just split it in two. Of course, I have no idea of how
long it really took to dry, as 7 years is a bit excessive, but at least
it doesn't rot while waiting to deal with it if you split it.
One thing though, when splitting birch, you almost have to have a
hatchet or machettee handy to cut the bark down the split.
The thing I don't understand about birch though, it that when you
pick up a green log, it seems very very light, compared to say oak or
maple. It even seems less dense than pine. However, after it is dried,
it seems like it somehow gains density, which doesn't seem possible to
me at all. Once dried, birch is considerably more dense than pine, and
is as dense as maple and nearly as dense as oak. I don't understand
this at all.
Yep, waterproof made it ideal for another use - canoes. Has to do with a
bunch of oils in the bark, which is another thing the bark is used for -
starting a fire even when damp.
Difference between green and dry wood is easily ascertained at
Take a peek at Chapter three, where you'll find that yellow birch and red
oak are both about .66 s.g. , and both start at roughly 80% MC. Must be an
illusion on the weight difference.
Oh yes, the boys who bring the logs up from Superior saw and use them as if
they were fresh. Nicer if they're sawn with someone else's teeth, though.
Make sure you dry your wood if you see bore holes that look like
somebody had a handful of darts and was banging on it. Powder Post
Beetles infest the wood and they are 1/4 the size of termites. The
larvae feeeding/growth cycle is up to 10 years and they don't come out
of the wood until they are mature... then they mate, bore back in and
lay eggs. Many very old houses I inspect here in MA have timbers made
on site with a portable sawmill. They used wet wood and now the
current owners are looking at jacking the sagging basement and
chemical treatments. Not an issue with pens, but I have come across
Powder Post Beetles in furniture made in High Point that wasn't
properly dryed before using. A dining room table was about 12 years
old and all of a sudden the lady noticed mounds of powder under it.
And yes, I am a licensed inspector.
On Fri, 25 Mar 2005 00:53:54 GMT, the inscrutable Darrell
A bigass long honkin' microwave. ;)
======================================================= TANSTAAFL: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
http://diversify.com Gourmet Web Applications
Sorry for changing the topic somewhat, but I'm also curious about drying
very wet wood. In particular, I own some property along side of a
small lake that years ago used to be used for logging. Ie the lake
dammed up and made bigger, logs hauled to the lake, then the dam opened
so that the logs flowed downstream. Or so I have been told by the local
Anyway, although this is a small lake, it is about 50' deep in
places, and every year a few logs float to the surface, and these logs
must have been down there for 100 years. I've seen Norm on PBS getting
old lumber from commercial places that recovered such underwater logs,
but I was wondering if there was any way for an amateur to do it.
Ie if I were to drag one of these logs up, would it start rotting
right away, or can I let it start to dry naturally? Ie I'm thinking that
it would be too wet to cut to length with a chain saw even. The logs
I've seen aren't big enough to be commercially valuable, ie only a foot
or so in diameter, but I thought it might be interesting to try to get
some small boards out of it.
Anyway, I'm just curious whether anyone has ever tried this.
The rule for air dried lumber is that it needs to be cut into planks
ASAP after the tree is felled. This is because of the facts that George
has clearly stated, ~ end grain dries much faster than side grain.
People who disregard this will find end grain checking sufficiently
destructive to warrant moving their lumber which was previously
destined for furniture into the fireplace. (Been there, done that)
As far as lake-salvaged lumber goes, probably the same general
principles apply, just no idea who is going to rip lumber with water
coming out of it.
Bill Jones wrote:
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