Here's an update of what's happened since July '08, when I was just starting to dry red oak in my basement. I'm near Cleveland, Ohio. In February 2008 we had to take down three red oak trees that hung over the house. I painted the ends with Woodcraft's end sealer. They laid in the yard on 'sleepers' made out of branches until being cut into boards.
The guy who owns the WoodMizer did the work in bits and pieces. Weather and better-paying jobs meant the logs were sawed in some months, but not others. In November the last were cut.
Everything was stickered and stacked on 3/4" strips of white oak (knotty pieces good for nothing else). Wood was stacked on the same day as cut, and now there are two piles, 6' tall. Each is 4' wide, with lengths from 8'-13'. It took some re-stacking to keep longest boards on the bottom. I guess there's 2500-2800 BdFt there.
Through the summer, the two dehumidifiers worked almost constantly. Two fans kept up a good breeze. The whole basement smelled like vinegar, but never moldy. When weather turned colder, the dehumidifiers (set to shut off at 45%) began to run less often. We had 'sweating' on the single-pane glass windows, and dampness on the concrete sill under them, but no other signs of water. The plaster ceiling shows no sign of changes.
Now it's January, and the surfaces I can reach are reading 15% - 18% on a pinless Wagner meter. I see only 3 boards with checking, up to 6" on one end.
What SC said makes sense. The lumber I bought at a yard two years ago is reading 8-9%, up a bit as it's stacked in the same room as the new wood. I imagine in time the new wood will get to the same level.
The project has been fun, but I wouldn't have done it if I weren't taking down 80-year old oaks from my own yard, and I couldn't have done it if I didn't have more basement than I need. I think in the end, I'm going to figure out a way to have these milled into flooring. I don't know any other way I'm going to use 2500 BdFt of oak, and I really would rather keep seeing this particular wood around the house.
Many thanks to you all for the advice!