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Best Tips for Drying your Wood at Home
Water can infiltrate into the framing, flooring as well as the other wood in your house in multiple ways. The moisture can come from plumbing or roof leak and can collect inside the wood. When the wood becomes wet, bad things happen but not immediately. So, you have time to dry the wood before any permanent damage. Remember that lumber cannot dry if it is covered.
You have to expose the wet wood so that the air can easily circulate around the wood and the source of moisture is destroyed. The ideal time to dry the wood is summer season. One of the best ways to dry the wood is to let it sit and dry it naturally at home in a humidity free environment. Drying the wood at home may be a slow process but is worthwhile if you can manage it properly. Just remember that the drying times can differ depending on the quality of wood, the moisture level as well as the environmental conditions of your drying area. The following tips will help you in drying out your wood at home:
Drying tips for a log
- Go a little larger: Wood has the ability to shrink during the process of drying, so cutting the lumber oversized is a smart idea. Remember that you will also need some material when jointing and planning the wood to get a smooth surface. This is also the reason why the green wood is cut a little larger than the required size of finishing.
- Seal off each and every end: Ensure that the processing of logs is done quickly, it is also essential to note that if you fasten the process of drying, it will result into some problems for the logs such as splits. Sealing the ends will help you to prevent the wood from drying very quickly. The moisture in the wood escapes 10 times faster from the ends than through the surfaces. When you seal the end grain, it encourages a predictable and even drying process. You can use latex paint, paraffin wax or polyurethane to accomplish this process.
- Stickers: Now, when you are ready to stack up the wood, ensure that they are exposed and surrounded by air from all the sides. This is done with the use of stickers- the small pieces of wood that create a tiny space in between the sawn planks. It provides great ventilation and ensures a more even process of drying.
- Importance of putting on weight: When you have stacked the wood completely, add some weight to the stack in order to prevent it from distortion which usually happens in the early phases of drying. The top boards will need something placed on them to make this work efficiently.
Tips for drying firewood at home
Wood is are long tubes that run through the length of the trees. There is moisture content in these tubes and when a tree is cut for the purpose of using it as firewood, it is dried completely to reduce the moisture completely. When the moisture content or water leaves the wood, it starts to crack and shrink. Here are some tips
For the optimal burning of the wood, it is dried till the time its moisture content reduces to less than 20%. If the moisture content is higher than this value, the wood may burn but it will be a hard job to light the wood. And even if the wood is lighted, it is hard to keep it burning. Due to this moisture in the wood, even your high efficiency furnace will work slowly and most of its energy will be wasted in drying the excess moisture from the wood. The semi dried wood produces a lot of blue and grey smoke which can foul the house, stick into your Windows and annoy your neighbors.
There is one more benefit of seasoning or drying your firewood- when the wood is cut properly and stacked right away, there are less chances of mold establishment. When you have undried firewood into a pile of wood, the mold spreads throughout the log. You can test the moisture content of your wood with the help of a moisture meter. Use the following tips to check the moisture content of your wood accurately:
Checking moisture content
- Radial checking: See if there are any cracks or end grains which are radiating from the Heartwood to the Sapwood. They appear before your firewood is completely seasoned so don’t stop your testing here.
- Color: As the wood starts seasoning, it fades and darkens in color. The change occurs from White to yellow and grey. There are different colors of different species of wood but it is safe to say that fresh wood is far different from the seasoned or dried wood.
- Smell: Sniff a piece of wood and if the exposed surface has a pleasant smell, it is too wet to burn.
- Loose bark: As soon as the wood dries up, the bark separates from the wood and falls away from it. If the bark doesn’t fall, peel it and check it’s cambium. If the cambium is green or greenish- yellow, so is the wood.
- Listen: Cut two pieces of wood and bang them together. If the wood is dry, the sound is hollow but if the wood is wet, it makes a dull sound.
- Lift: The seasoned wood weighs less than the green wood if the species is same.
- Fire trial: If still in doubt, burn some wood. Dry firewood will burn easily than the wet or moist wood. Moist wood hisses on fire.
Tips for seasoning firewood
- Cut to the length: Cut the wood in an appropriate length for your fireplace or furnace. The approximate length should be of 3 inches which is shorter than the width. Shorter is always a better option than longer.
- Split at the right size: Split the wood in proper dimensions for your wood burning appliance. The best range of dimensions is 3-6 inches for the wood stoves and a but larger for the furnaces.
- Stack and Expose: In order to dry the firewood properly, stack your wood in proper sunlight where the sun can warm it easily and the wind can blow through it. Make a single exposed to the sun from all the sides. In this position, the sun evaporates the moisture content from the wood and the wind takes it away.
- Seasoning: The key to seasoning the wood lies in the word. If the firewood is properly seasoned and stacked, it takes at least a season to dry properly. A season means 6 months. If you plan to stack your wood in early spring, it will be ready for you to use in winter by October. Hard wood takes a longer time depending on the local climate, the species as well as it’s moisture content.
- Never cover it up: If you cover the pile of your drying wood, it may prevent it from the moisture of the environment but at the same time, it will be hindered from sun drying.
Tips for drying wooden furniture at home
- Keep your furniture out of the sun and don’t allow the sunlight to directly fall on the wooden furniture. The temperature of the sun can go above 140 degrees which can destroy your furniture and shrink the wood.
- Don’t keep your wooden furniture from any heating unit for the purpose of drying. Dry heat will cause the furniture to shrink.
- Furniture has an ability to attract the moisture from the walls which affects the wood drastically. Pu your sofas six inches away from the wall.
- Use Lacquer: Apply a coat of lacquer depending on the polish of furniture at least once in two years to increase the longevity of your furniture. It prevents the wood from swelling due to moisture and also helps in drying it quickly.
- Before drying it, give a good cleaning with a lemon or orange cleaner. Don’t waste your time in polishing the furniture. Spray it or wipe and allow it to stay for 10-15 minutes. Wipe it off. Repeat this process 2-3 times allowing your furniture to dry between this process.
Drying Lumber Tips
People are successfully drying the lumber long before any modern technology came into picture. The drying of lumber can be seen as a difficult task and pushing the process of lumber of turning as quickly as possible, it can be a difficult process for you. However, if you choose the right process following some smart tips, you can easily achieve this goal of drying your lumber. It is a difficult task to hire a lumber dryer for just a small quantity of wood. But they don’t handle the wood with proper care and lastly you are unsatisfied with the job. So, the best option is to dry it at home for a complete satisfaction.
With the help of mother nature
Drying wood is a simple process. There are two sources provided by our mother nature i.e. temperature and wind. Use these resources and air dry the lumber until there is no moisture left and then find out different ways to dry the wood completely. Just the process of air drying will help you achieve the moisture content reduced by 10-15 percent. However, it differs according to the climate of your area. If your region is Arid, you can easily achieve a moisture content of 8 percent by air drying but humid regions will take a longer time in drying the wood with a higher moisture content. The aim of a commercially dried lumber is 6- 8 percent. Create a good foundation of sticks to successfully dry your wood. However, remember that you don’t have to go crazy in achieving the perfection for creating a proper base. Slight variations in setting the base will easily negate the perfection. It is essential to remember that you have a system setup where you can easily correct the pile after it is dried. A proper setup is also essential for keeping an eye on the pile for the potential problems.
Consider Wind as your dear friend and do not forget to forget it’s temper. Keep some specific parameters in your mind when you choose a stack for the site of your lumber stacks. The movement of air is the key factor for successful drying. However, a forceful wind is proved to be detrimental for the lumber. Under the correct conditions such as an arid day with too much wind, you can ruin your lumber in a very short time by drying the surface only.
Just like the wind, the sun is also your friend but can also be dangerous at times. Warmer conditions are best for drying up the lumber. The heat attracts the water molecules inside the lumber. However, direct sunlight can also damage the lumber especially when the summer season is on full heights. If you feel that there is too much exposure of sun and wind, use a commercial screening by attaching it to the sides of the piles. It deflects some of the sun and protects it from the wind. You should also consider the time of the year for drying your lumber. It is best to take your trees cut in the fall.
Once the lumber is set on a good location for drying, let the elements do their work and do not forget to check the piles occasionally.
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