Last Updated on May 12, 2022 | Andrew Jason
In the world of woodworking, drying the wood is important. For wood, especially those used by woodworkers, drying timber is an important procedure that must be completed. A building or working with green lumber is technically possible, but it is not encouraged because wood tends to retain moisture quickly and shed that moisture slowly. If you’ve taken the effort to gather your lumber, or even if you’ve purchased green lumber for your project, you should at least know about drying it since this is an important aspect of the success of any woodworking project. So, the question arises ‘how to dry wood fast for woodworking‘?
When you attempt to assemble or construct woodworking projects using wet or green lumber, you can expect to see a certain set of results in the process. Warping of the materials, as well as broken or fractured joints, are examples of this.
There are a variety of methods for drying wood quickly. The method to use is determined by the type and quantity of wood available. There are three basic drying methods: air drying, shed drying, and kiln drying. Air drying is the most common way. Air drying takes time; however, kiln drying takes much less time. The drying methods of air drying and shed drying depend on the natural climate. Kiln drying is more expensive, but it produces a more consistent outcome.
Regardless of the type of woodworking project you intend to do with the newly acquired lumber, it is unquestionably necessary to allow fresh cut lumber thoroughly. As a result of the shrinkage that will occur once the wood has dried, you’ll want to make sure that you dry your lumber thoroughly. Several choices must be considered when determining the optimum method for drying wood, and each depends on the size and thickness of the lumber being dried. Also, drying methods, such as air drying, may impose restrictions on the thickness of the logs you’ve cut; nevertheless, some viable options do not consider elements such as the thickness, size, or kind of timber. One can choose the perfect method for themselves with the help of a wood drying time chart. Do you want to know the most efficient method of drying wood? We have listed three of them in this article.
What we have covered
Method 1: Air Drying by Laying Panels of Wood
First, we’ll have a look at what to do. Purchasing a stock wood moisture meter will be the first thing that you will want to do when you get to this point. A wood moisture meter is a small instrument used to determine the amount of moisture present in the wood. Two metal probes are attached to the device, which you touch against the wood to obtain information about the moisture content of the wood through the wonders of scientific discovery.
The first step in determining how to dry wood fast is to find out the amount of moisture present in the wood, and you will need to utilize a moisture meter. The maximum permissible moisture content for most woodworking jobs is now 7 percent, the industry standard. If the wood has a higher moisture level than that, you may be sure that it needs to be dried out more.
Following your discovery that your wood must be dried, you should lay out a row of stickers on the ground to mark the spot. These are nothing more than pieces of wood that have already dried out, such as some old 2 x 4s that have been left outside. Distribute them evenly over the table, leaving approximately 16 inches between each of the stickers. This will offer you an elevated platform, allowing air to reach the wood from the ground and preventing moisture from the ground from making the wood you are attempting to dry even wetter than it already is. Ensure you have enough stickers to support the entire amount of wood you intend to dry.
The third step in ‘how to dry wet wood fast‘ is to take the boards you want to dry and begin stacking them on top of the stickers, starting with the first layer of stickers. It’s important to make sure the wood you’re drying is laying perpendicular to the stickers and to leave around an inch of space between each piece of wood. The airflow to each piece of wood will be increased due to this procedure. The greater the airflow through the stack of wood, the quicker it will dry.
Now that you have completed the first layer, you will need to add a second layer of stickers to complete the project. It is important to remember that the wooden pieces you are drying cannot be put exactly on top of one another because this would prevent air from reaching them. To achieve this, you must alternate between layers of stickers that are 16 inches apart and segments of drying wood that is 1 inch apart and perpendicular to the stickers. Sticker on wood, sticker on wood, sticker on wood, and so forth and so on. It is necessary to have this airflow for air-drying to be successful, or else your wood may not dry properly.
One of the most important things to do when you have completed building your stack is to weigh it down and, if you are putting it outside, protect it from the elements. This normally entails obtaining a piece of plywood large enough to cover the entire top of the stack, laying the plywood on top of the pile, and then weighting the pile down with cinder blocks or bricks, preferably in large quantities to exert pressure on the plywood layer.
Wood will warp as it dries, which is not good for woodworking projects. Therefore, you must weigh it down sufficiently so that it does not warp as it dries to avoid future faults. Using a piece of plywood like this can also assist in keeping the rain at bay if you are storing the stack outside.
In Step 5, if you have done everything correctly and followed all the stages, your wood should dry relatively quickly. Keep in mind that the drier and warmer the air is, the more quickly this process will proceed, allowing you to shorten your drying time because of this. Make sure to follow the safety rules while following these methods.
Method 2: Kiln Drying or Drying Wood in Oven
A kiln is a sort of oven used to heat things over an extended period. Typically, kilns are used for baking bricks and ceramic and pottery products. One of the other applications for a kiln is to dry wood. Another name for this method is drying wood in an oven.
Wood drying kilns are available in several various configurations. Traditional wood dry kilns, sun kilns, vacuum and radiofrequency kilns are all available, to name a few of the most prevalent types of wood kilns.
As a woodworker, buying a kiln is not in the cards for us. If you have access to a kiln, you can use it to dry your wood if you don’t have one available. Because of the limitations imposed by the kiln’s dimensions, the length of lumber that can be used is constrained. A kiln can be homemade too. It can easily be found in urban areas.
Drying logs in a kiln are one of the most efficient wood drying methods. Within a few hours, you’ll have dry wood in your hands. Another advantage of drying wood in a kiln is regulating the temperature and humidity levels during the drying process. There are homemade kilns for wood too.
In most cases, the parameters that influence the drying process are dependent on the magnitude of the activity in question. When a sawmill produces a large volume of slow-drying wood, it is most likely to choose air-drying as the first step, followed by kiln drying. On the other hand, softwoods are frequently kiln-dried immediately after being cut at the sawmill. The primary goal of air drying lumber is to remove as much water as possible while simultaneously lowering the cost of dry-kiln capacity and energy consumption.
When drying timber by air, it is common to set the board on stickers until the moisture content reaches 20 percent to 25 percent. Depending on the end-use of the lumber, it may then be ready for use, or it may require additional processing. The lumber is kiln-dried to achieve reduced moisture content levels, such as those required for usage in furniture companies. In most cases, air drying is sufficient when the final application of the lumber does not necessitate low moisture content.
Rough sawn hardwoods are often air-dried at the sawmills where they are produced to decrease the weight and shipping expenses. One of the most significant advantages of air-drying, particularly for hardwoods, is that it increases the value of the wood. It is also possible to utilize air drying on a limited basis to lower the moisture content of woods such as railroad ties to a level where preservative treatment is appropriate.
Kiln drying lowers the possibility of mold growth and degradation in wood while being delivered, stored, or used in the future. Fungi that degrade wood and blue stain cannot thrive on wood with a moisture content of less than 20 percent. Green lumber reviews are over the top. That is why woodworkers prefer using this type of wood. The use of fungicides to protect green lumber against fungal attack is not recommended, except in the early stages of the drying process when it is susceptible to fungus attack.
Method 3: Drying Wood at Home
Following are some tips and tricks for quickly drying logs at home for wood projects.
Logs should be processed as soon as possible. If a tree has recently been cut down or if there has been recent storm damage, it is preferable to process the logs into lumber as soon as possible. This will help open the wood and speed up the drying process, which will assist in avoiding rot or stain from damaging the wood in the future. For some wood species, bark on whole logs can act as a natural moisture barrier, and if the bark is left unsawn, it can contribute to fungal rot and deterioration. The presence of splatted or partially rotting wood is a distinguishing characteristic of poorly processed, do-it-yourself lumber.
Make a slightly oversize cut in the wood. It is important to remember that wood shrinks as it dries. Greenwood should always be cut larger than the desired finishing size because of this and the material that will inevitably be lost when the boards need to be joined or planned smoothly throughout the manufacturing process.
Finish by securing the ends. It is important to process logs on time to avoid staining and decaying due to excessive moisture, but it is also important to avoid the opposite: allowing the wood to dry out too rapidly will result in splits and endgrain checks. It is vital to note that moisture escapes from wood at the ends at a rate approximately 10 to 12 times faster than that of other surfaces. The sealing of the end-grain causes the moisture to escape more gradually and homogeneously. The ends of the item will shrink quicker than the rest of the piece if this is not addressed, resulting in severe stress on the piece that can only be relieved by endgrain checks, which are a common drying defect in the wood.
A thick, obstructive layer must be built upon the board’s ends to prevent moisture from leaking through the board’s end grain. To reduce the possibility of checking, it is best to treat timber ends as soon as possible after they are cut, rather than waiting hours or days after they are cut.
Stack and adhere stickers. Once a log has been sawn up into planks of appropriate proportions, it is critical to stack them so that they will be exposed to air on all sides—stickers are commonly used for this purpose—to make the stacking procedure as straightforward as possible. Stickers are little pieces of wood (often 3/4″ x 1 1/2″) used to create space between sawn boards to enhance airflow and aid in a more uniform drying process. Stickers are typically 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ in size. It is necessary to vary the spacing between stickers depending on the species and thickness of the lumber being dried; a cautious spacing scheme would be every 12 inches, while 16″ or 24″ spacing can be used safely on thicker pieces when necessary, with a dehumidifier.
Increase the amount of weight. Once the stack of wood has been properly piled and stickered, it is beneficial to add weight to it to make it more stable. The timber at the bottom of the stack is most likely appropriately held down by the wood on top, but the boards near the top of the stack benefit considerably from the additional weight. During the initial drying period, it is especially critical to the transition from a green to an ambient EMC to weigh the stack of wood down to prevent warping and deformation. To ensure that the drying process results in lumber that is flat, stable, and usable, it is important to stack, mark, and weigh wood in a neat and orderly manner and to do it correctly. With this process, you can dry firewood fast in winter, in the 4 walls of your home. Make sure to follow the safety rules while following these methods.
How long does it take for wood to dry?
However, this is simply a general rule, and constant monitoring of the timber, especially with the use of a moisture meter, allows for greater flexibility in the drying process. Eventually, the moisture content of the wood will achieve a level that is in equilibrium with the surrounding ambient air and relative humidity. While it may take two to three months to air-dry a 1-inch red oak board, it may take six to eight months to air-dry a 2-inch board, and even thicker lumber can take years.
How to draw moisture out of wood?
Once all of the standing water has been removed from the space, place a dehumidifier in the center of the room. Set it to the maximum extraction setting that it is capable of achieving. It should be turned on and left running for at least 24 hours in order to remove moisture from the boards. Set up fans to blow across the surface of the wood to aid in the drying process even further.
How can I dry wood fast without cracking it?
Use a container made of plastic, fiberglass, or stainless steel that is large enough to hold the slice. In order to elevate the slices of bread, place wooden slats on the bottom of the container. Put on a pair of rubber gloves to keep your hands from getting burned and a woodworking apron to keep your clothes safe. If the wood has been recently cut, fill the container halfway with Pentarcryl. If the wood has only half cured, pour wood sealant into the container to seal it. If the slice is much less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, denatured alcohol should be used. Set the slice in the container, on top of which you should place a rock, and cover it with plastic wrap. Permit the wood to soak for 24 hours every inch (2.5 cm) of thickness, up to a total of 48 hours. The wood should be removed and placed on its side to dry until entirely dry.
The outcome is the same regardless of whether you dry by air, kiln, or microwave. You will wind up with a piece of wood that is sufficiently dry to be useful. It is quite beneficial to be aware of the moisture levels that should be targeted. What you should do if you have wet wood that needs to be dried (this may not always be the case) is explained below. You can choose the wood drying process as well as how dry the wood should be for woodworking, based on your preferences. One can even end up drying lumber with a dehumidifier.
There are numerous ways to dry wood fast. The ability to maintain complete control over the moisture level of the wood you employ will result in wood being free of defects. Keep an eye on the moisture content of newly acquired wood to ensure that you always have enough dried wood on hand to complete your woodworking tasks. We sincerely hope that we have answered your questions regarding ‘how to dry wood fast?’.