Oven drying wood?? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-11-2015, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Oven drying wood??

Some background...we have some shagbark hickory around that was cut for firewood originally. I believe this is from a tree that was felled not quite 2 years ago. The wood is sound and pretty much free from insects, etc.

One of my boys is suddenly in a big hurry to build a couple of cribbage boards, one of which he wants to give as a wedding gift for one of his roommates, who is getting married over Labor Day weekend.

He would like to use a piece of this hickory as the base of the board and then the thought is to inlay walnut, or some other darker exotic wood. The inlaid walnut will be where the cribbage "tracks" are drilled, the hickory is the base board.

I tested one of the hickory logs tonight with my moisture tester and it was right around 16%...about what I would have guessed. So it has certainly dried down a ways, but is not down in the 8% range yet.

Tonight we cut four approx. 4/4 thick slabs the length of the log...about 18" long. I then used some 1/4" oak for stickers and placed those between the 4 hickory slabs and then wired the log back together essentially.

My thought is to quick finish the drying process in the oven and wiring it together will hopefully help to avoid curling/cupping. I have never done this before, but we are trying to expedite the drying process so he can finish the board in time to give it away less than a month from now. I would be fine with the center two boards making it through this process and sacrificing the outer two.

Am I bananas here, or is there a better way to finish drying these boards. I would hate to have him invest the time to make an inlaid, hand made cribbage board and give one away as a wedding present...only to have it warp or crack later, etc.

I know we could buy an already dry piece of hickory and be good to go...but this hickory is from our farm and there is a desire to make these boards from "our" wood...particularly the one he plans on giving as a gift.

Shoot...for that matter...we could cut a couple walnut branches this weekend and dry those babies up quick like for the inlay pieces...then whole thing would be native.

Anyhoo...does anyone have any good advice on small quantity wood drying that would fit the scenario I described above? TIA.
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-11-2015, 11:45 PM
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Being mostly dry it might work, but almost every wood turner including myself has tried to quick dry green wood resulting in fire wood. The walnut branch definitely won't work.
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-14-2015, 12:37 AM
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My grandad used his microwave. It will distort almost certainly

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post #4 of 9 Old 08-20-2015, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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So, I cut the log open and made 4 slabs, each about 4/4 thick, and then stickered between them about 10 days ago and then let it air dry inside for about 9-10 days. The moisture reading went from about 16% to about 13% in those 10 days. Does that sound realistic?

I then baked the stickered log for about 30 minutes at 150 degrees last night and the moisture content read 6%. Does that sound reasonable?

There was definitely some drying going on because I got a couple of end checks and a split out of the process. The slabs that I am trying to preserve though are still viable. I anticipated some checking and left the log longer than we need, so I can easily cut off the end checks and still be good.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-20-2015, 02:56 PM
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my guess is that you are forcing the easy moisture out first, that closest to the faces of the board. and the internal moisture will still be higher.

I would just sticker it (not wired back together) and maybe run a small fan over it until you absolutely need it, then just go for it. i suspect that even with inlay, the final shrinking should not be catastrophic. maybe overdrill the peg holes by a 1/64"
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-20-2015, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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I should have mentioned in my earlier post today...that when I wired the sliced up log back together initially and then let it air dry for about 10 days...I had the 3 wire bands pretty tight around the perimeter of the log. Last night, prior to being put in the oven, those bands were loose enough that the stickers were sliding out very easily. So that to me correlates with the wood drying out, and shrinking, a fair amount over the first 10 days of air drying.

I will try the fan idea too, thanks. But it would seem to me that I still want to do something to prevent warping and cupping...yes/no?
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-20-2015, 05:24 PM
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drying with air or kiln will cause some distortion of the wood. allowing the air to circulate all around the board is critical, hence stickering. the jointer will flatten out when done.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-25-2015, 01:12 PM
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stack in your attic, the attic is warm and (hopefully) has some airflow, air dried in an attic will speed up air dry time
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-26-2015, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the nearly finished product...my son made this and he is almost done, he has to drill a couple of final holes and then finish it. But you can see that it turned out pretty nice. Since it was one of his first mostly solo projects, I thought he did very well.

He preserved the live edge of the hickory log and was also successful in inlaying walnut into the hickory on a straight line in a curved board. He made a couple of minor errors, but between us, we hid those pretty well and the young couple that he will give this to in a couple of weeks as a wedding present will never know they were there!

It is a high character, well made, but also simple piece...and I am sure it is not the last one he will make.

What recommendations do people have for finishing this? I was thinking either a light spray coating of poly or a hand applied paste wax.


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