Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Chitown cornfields
I speed dry everything in a makeshift kiln.Reason being is I don't have space or time to wait for woods to come of age at ~1" per year.
I need them next week, but have had some stubborn 6" thick pieces take 3 months to dry to an internal M.C. of 8-9%.
I do buy some slabs that have set for 3+ months, and then finish dry them when I get them home. That has been very successful.
On some species and woods with radical grains, I've had a few things blow apart and crack up, but the name of the game for me is chance it and get to work. If I lose 1/4 of the wood to crack/twist/whatever, so be it. It isn't a financial loss, since shop space is a premium, and you figure said space as wasted and unusable. Also much of what I use is "junk wood" that has some bug chew or damage. Not suitable for fine straight grained boards. Those are usually burn piled or for firewood. I get those free except for transporting them home.
Last fall, I got 35ft of silver maple hollow logs, that were from 30" - 45" dia., and the sides were only 3" to 8" thick. Chewed to hell by carpenter ants. It cost me $125 for cutting them unto moveable sizes and transport. 1/2 of them split apart but we still used em. The other 1/2 are good bases for kitchen/coffee tables w/ glass tops, and oddity pieces. The grain are stunning.
So I don't know about live oak, but if you slab em, get weight down on em after stickered, coat the ends and any radical areas that might split and dry em....fast or slow...your choice.