Project:Drying Timber

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Drying Timber

Drying timber variety.JPG
Status: ongoing
Release Date: started in 2016, first products in 2018
Initiator: Lukas
Materials Used: various kinds of wood
Tools Used: pocket chainsaw, hacksaw, drawknife


Before actively looking for sources of unprocessed timber or rough-cut boards for woodturning blanks or projects like a "river table", I want to experiment with drying and storage techniques to see which works best. Drying too fast will cause the wood to crack while incomplete drying allows fungi to grow.

Here you'll find my experiences! Different woods are tested as they probably won't behave alike.


Progress/Results

Species Approx. Dimensions Source Treatment Storage Outcome Use Notes
yew two logs Airlag none Lukas' CoMaking bench since 2019-2-6; garage approx. 5 years before that
pine log forest (left over by workers a few weeks before <???>) bark mostly gone already, no further treatment uninsulated attic since 2016-9-25 not too great (poor) chop block, then firewood (2017-5) first "attempt" without any effort, no big surprise...
apple three logs approx. ø 8 × 45 cm orchard cut into pieces for various approaches:
  • 1.5 cm discs with and without bark
  • untreated log
  • log with cut faces painted over
  • log with bark removed and cut faces painted over
planned: woodturning
cherry small piece gardener at the JKI Dossenheim (2016-12) cut faces painted after two months outside
  • double coat of clear lacquer
  • too late - already had several cracks
maple small piece gardener at the JKI Dossenheim (2016-12) cut faces painted after two months outside
  • double coat of clear lacquer
  • too late - already had several cracks
beech small log sawn from fallen tree (2017-2-5) cut faces painted after two weeks outside planned: mallet head "marbled" with some kind of fungus (spalting)
Robinia large log sawn from fallen tree 2017-10-21 (top) cut face painted when brought to the Space
  • double coat of wood glue and water mixture
  • left standing upright
nice overall, some cracks (could have started before treatment) wedding cake stand (2018-4)
ash large log with "handle" branch roadside (left over by workers a few days before 2018-3-3) cut faces covered when brought to the Space planned: axe/hammer handles

Further Ideas

  • get/make a moisture meter
  • there is an Instructable on kiln drying at home, but it seems to require lots of space and electricity
  • try cheaper and ecologically safer options than clear lacquer for painting cut faces
  • wood discs can reportedly be placed in a bucket of sawdust to dry, be treated with "wood hardener" or weighed down in a stack and rotated every few weeks
    • not tried yet, but as they are really hard to dry it's best to not cut the timber into discs when still fresh!
  • write down some of this "theory" part more nicely
    • drying speed with grain, role of bark, importance to cover faces
    • start with long pieces - gives you room to cut off cracked ends