Why air dried wood is better. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-22-2015, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Why air dried wood is better.

I need your opinions on this article. These people are close to me and it would be easy to get to. I just don't know what they are saying is good or bad.

Thanks Don

http://www.stonesriverhardwoods.com/air-dried-wood
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-22-2015, 01:51 PM
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They sound like they have their craft down pat. Wish they were closer to me.
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-22-2015, 02:27 PM
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I've heard the "brittleness" point being made before. I'm not sure i agree about internal tensions though. No matter how you dry it, some wood is gonna warp when you cut it. It is possible that air dried is better in that regard but it can't be black and white.
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-22-2015, 04:37 PM
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Air dried is good except for possible bugs that kiln dried would kill.

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post #5 of 12 Old 07-22-2015, 04:51 PM
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I'm gonna jump in here but I probably shouldn't just because I have no hands on experience with wood drying yet. I have been reading any information I can get my hands on about this subject because I want to build a kiln for drying turning stock and maybe some boards for laminations but not no 500 bf.

In the information I have been getting if you ask 10 woodworkers on how to dry lumber you will probably get 15 different answers. The most negative I hear about air drying is the length of time it takes to try. Thats why kilns are more popular because the drying process can be sped up with a kiln if its done properly, same with air drying it to has to be done properly. The part about 1 year of drying for 1 inch of thickness is a vague rule to follow because every type of wood drys at different rates.Red oak dries faster then white oak. It all has to do with the molecular structure of the wood itself. Boards can warp,twist, and bow no matter how its dried or even if it was properly staked. Some of the stress and tension in wood can be controlled and some can't, that depends on how the tree grew, if the board was close to the pith,etc.

I don't believe his statement about the moisture content, the way way I understand it the would is gonna move when placed in a different environment any. The humidity in your where you make the project will stabilize to that environment then when its moved in to the house which probably has a different humidity, the will once again stabilize to that enviroment

I can't speak for the brittleness of kiln dried lumber because I honestly do not know. I also can not speak for the color lose of kiln dried lumber because once again I don't have information to support it or discredit it.

From what I have been reading, I don't believe that there is a right or wrong way between air drying or kiln drying as long as it is done correctley. You will find lots and lots of information from people who prefer a certain way because it works for what they are doing, weather its turning blocks,or 1.000 bf in a solar kiln, a dry kiln,dehumidifier kiln, or air drying they all get the job done
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-22-2015, 08:51 PM
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In my opinion kiln dried lumber is better. Unless you keep it for 20 years or more it seems like air dried lumber never seems to dry.
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-22-2015, 09:14 PM
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I think everything they said is accurate and I think air dried lumber can be better, especially if you want to steam bend it at some point. But, it's usually dried outdoors, so it can only get down to the moisture content of the air surrounding it. That means you may need to bring it to wherever you plan to work on it and let it dry some more.

I am bought into the concept that air dried wood has less internal tension than kiln dried, but it really depends on the quality of the drying process. I've seen musical instrument companies that dry wood in a kiln, but their goal is to dry the wood in a very slow and controlled way so the wood ends up being as stable as possible. Conversely, framing lumber is dried as quickly as it can be.

If the guys selling the lumber know what they're doing, (and it appears they do), air dried can be very good, but if not, you'll never really know how dry it is as Steve said.
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-22-2015, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep View Post
I think everything they said is accurate and I think air dried lumber can be better, especially if you want to steam bend it at some point. But, it's usually dried outdoors, so it can only get down to the moisture content of the air surrounding it. That means you may need to bring it to wherever you plan to work on it and let it dry some more.

I am bought into the concept that air dried wood has less internal tension than kiln dried, but it really depends on the quality of the drying process. I've seen musical instrument companies that dry wood in a kiln, but their goal is to dry the wood in a very slow and controlled way so the wood ends up being as stable as possible. Conversely, framing lumber is dried as quickly as it can be.

If the guys selling the lumber know what they're doing, (and it appears they do), air dried can be very good, but if not, you'll never really know how dry it is as Steve said.
Agreed, but using a moisture meter can help determine just how much moisture a board contains. http://www.delmhorst.com/FAQs/Floori...oodworking#q06
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-23-2015, 01:25 AM
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AIr dried wood is great for outdoor projects. If you want to bring it indoors you'll have to let it acclimate once again so it can get to 6-8% otherwise your project will suffer shrinkage.

Even when buying kiln dried it's always advisable to let that sit in your shop for a month or so to let all the moisture in the wood to equalize.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-23-2015, 01:55 PM
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Some of the points they make are valid but they also miss a lot of important issues. There isn't much that you can make a blanket statement about. Every wood species is different and each tree is an individual. Using a species with a high modulus of expansion that has been air dried will likely ruin your work if it goes inside. What may be true for hard maple isn't the same for red oak.

Kiln drying lumber is not some plot cooked up by the lumber industry. Those guys must either be very young or very inexperienced. KD lumber was developed due to all the problems air drying only creates. It would be far more advantageous to the lumber industry to sell it green but in response to woodworkers needs, they developed a superior product. They didn't sell it to us, furniture makers demanded it and still do.

For them to say things like they didn't have KD in the old days borders on ridiculous. I have a degree in conservation. The museums and collections of period furniture are always struggling to deal with degradation from wood movement, poor joinery, insects, neglect. Many have not survived the ages due to some of these factors. That's why prices for something like a Seymour chest are so expensive. You don't have to look at a lot of period furniture and cabinetry before you see consistent failures. We have history to learn from, not to repeat the mistakes.
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-23-2015, 07:47 PM
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I'm more inclined to think that kiln drying was developed to speed up the throughput for the lumber industry. No matter how dry you get the wood, it will quickly acclimatize to the environment you store it in. The moisture content will become exactly the same as the air dried lumber stored there. The difference is the kiln dried stuff will be more likely to contain internal stresses.

When I first started cutting and drying my own wood, I assumed it would take a year for 4/4. I quickly found that a single Texas summer is sufficient to dry any 4/4 wood. Your location matters a lot when it comes to drying.
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-23-2015, 11:31 PM
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The boat yard my father worked at for 35 yrs did a lot of their own woodwork. During the summer when I was a kid I remember seeing the lumber stock outside one of the smaller sheds standing on end in tall racks. I was told they turned the boards once a day and only brought them in for rain, which meant nothing to me. The sheds are heated yr round like a dry sauna but not as hot. I have no idea how they figured out when a board had cooked enough to use without a moisture reader.

My dehumidifier runs in my basement shop nearly 10 months out of the yr, it's set at 40% from May to Oct, 50% for the rest. All my stock is spaced for air circulation; I can stick any 3/4 to 1" piece that's been there for a yr with the meter and read between 10 and 15% MC.

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