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Does anyone have experience with drying wood. I'm having some tree trimming done to a Bradford Pear and a holly tree. I would like to use the wood for future projects. Any suggestions/comments?



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I used to wonder why cut lumber was painted on the grain ends when wandering around a sawmill. Read a post on this forum that stated that waxing or painting the end grains, limited or stopped splitting caused by drying out to quickly. Sounds logical to me.


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I have cherry cut into planks 1" thick by 6 to 8" wide and what ever length I could get out of a fallen tree. The saw mill guy told me to do what Jud said paint the ends to stop some splitting. I asked him how long to dry and he said it depends on how much moisture content I wanted. If I was doing furniture he said a moisture content from 6 to 12 percent.

 Oh Yes and he also said I should sticker the planks. HUH?   so he explained that it was putting sticks between each plank to let air around the planks evenly as possible.

 I looked on the net and some places recommend almost a year to dry to those moisture contents.

 Hope this gives you some useful information


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By shear coincidence I have Just broke down a batch of Bradford pear that I salvaged from the trees in front of my house downed by Hurricane Sandy.  I ripped the logs into pieces about 4in square painted the ends and stored them in a unheated shed since Nov 2112. When cut the wood absolutely weeped water and quickly turned a golden color.It held this color all the while it was stored. I did not do a moisture test but it was much lighter than when it went in the shed And after cutting away the outside the wood inside is the most wonderful creamy white wood that is quite nice to work with. I used a previous batch in my Prince model. It can be brittle when overly bent, but holds a sharp edge and keeps the cream color even after sealing.

   If I can be of any other help just ask. Tony

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How do you test for moisture content?  Do you need one of those probes they use to check houses?




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Previous builds:  AL Swift, AL King of the Mississippi, Mamoli Roter Lowe, Amati Chinese Junk, Caesar, Mamoli USS Constitution, Mantua HMS Victory, Panart San Felipe, Mantua Sergal Soleil Royal

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  The one I saw had 2 little probes on the end and a digital meter on the other. The guy stuck it in and it said what it was .

 I would assume they are expensive and unless you are doing a lor of wood its not worth investing in. Perhaps a trip to a cabinetry shop my result in them testing it for you.

 Worth an ask as far as im concerned.


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 It looks like all the basics have been covered, well. The only thing that I could add, in my humble opinion, is to, at some point, mill it down to the approximate size that you think you will work from, and let it season for at least a couple months indoors, where the project will stay.

 The smaller the piece, the quicker it will dry, and the more it will be affected by a dramatic climate change. For example, back in Michigan, we milled lumber for hardwood floors, and would always leave it in the house, after final milling, for a couple weeks to acclimate, before installing.

 Here, in South Florida, I dry my lumber indoors, where there is less humidity.

 For what it's worth, there are advantages to working with greener lumber, and I prefer closer to 16% moisture content for material that has to adhere to a shape.

 Also, try to quarter saw it, rather than flat saw the pieces. The wood will work much better with the growth rings across the thickness (a rift grain) as apposed to the width (flat sawn).

 Sorry for all the words, good luck.

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Thanks DaveF that's the tool I was picturing, good advice about checking with the cabinetry people.  They used to also be pretty nice about letting me pick up some offcuts at no charge.




Current: Sergal Sovereign of the Seas

Previous builds:  AL Swift, AL King of the Mississippi, Mamoli Roter Lowe, Amati Chinese Junk, Caesar, Mamoli USS Constitution, Mantua HMS Victory, Panart San Felipe, Mantua Sergal Soleil Royal

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I have found Bradford pear to be an excellent wood to work with.

Closed pores, holds edge well, relatively dense, drys OK, does not check too badly.  Nice color.


Holly will be a problem.  Once dry, it is an excellent wood.  It can be used for any part.

Drying it is the problem.

It will host a fungus - blue mold.  You need to get dry as quickly as possible to keep the mold from ruining the wood.


My suggestion.

1) Coat the cut ends and knots.  Latex paint will do.  Parafin, varnish, just block the uneven rapid water loss. 

2) Get it into billets 1-2 inches thick as quickly as possible. Debark the billets.  A band saw with a powerful motor is an efficient tool to do this.  Fix the log to a wooden sled to get perpendicular cut planes on 2 sides - then you can use the cut surfaces against the fence and table.  Hooly is very hard.  It will labor an under powered saw.  The Wood Slicer bandsaw blade is as good as it gets, but you may wish to use standard blades for the green wood if you have a breakage problem -

3) You can make your own kiln for not much cost.

     A box can be made using foam insulating sheathing that comes in a 4x8 sheet. I used 1 inch with a foil surface on one side. I got Home         Depot to cut it into  4x 16 inch pieces - my 350Z is not much good as a truck.  They sell 2x2 foam pieces for projects that will work for the 2 ends.  I built my box into a shelf for support but duct tape will probably do.

4) Heat -  200-300 watts from incandescent light bulbs will do for my sized box.  I put the foil surface on the inside.

5) Moisture removal - Amazon sells computer heat exhaust fans for ~$10.  One is enough.  Match a DC power supply to the fan -  I understand higher is OK, lower will burn out the fan ~$10.

6) Sticker the billets - 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch strips cut from a furring strip will do .  You need good air circulation arround all sides of the billets,

7)  A month should do more than enough.  Amazon also sells a moisture meter for ~$12 if you wish to follow the progress.


I air dryed the Bradford pear and it did OK.  I kiln dried Holly and Dogwood.   Holly wants to warp and twist as it dries.   If you start with a 4 foot long billet and  it twists 45 degrees over that length - well - a 6 inch piece will be relatively straight and at 1/4 scale that is a 24 foot board.

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