Dry Your Own Lumber
Save money and get a year’s worth of beautiful boards
Synopsis: You can save money and enjoy the convenience of having a stockpile of great wood at hand if you learn to air-dry your own lumber. Dave Spacht, who has run a small sawmill for more than 25 years, demonstrates how to transform green wood into stable, seasoned boards. First, he’ll show you how to properly stack lumber outside. Then, after you wait for about a year while it dries naturally, you’ll take it indoors to complete the drying process. Use a little patience, follow Spacht’s recipe, and you’ll have dried boards with a minimum of warping, splitting, and end checking.
From Fine Woodworking #204
As home-shop woodworkers know, lumber is almost always the biggest cost when building a project. But there’s one way to cut down on the cash you spend on fine hardwoods: dry your own. Not only will you save money, but you’ll enjoy the convenience of having a stockpile of great lumber at hand. Also, many woodworkers believe that air-dried wood has richer color and better workability than kiln-dried wood.
Anyone can transform green wood into stable, seasoned boards with a moisture content (MC) of 7% to 9%, perfect for furniture making. You don’t need a kiln. You need only make sure the boards are properly stacked outside. Then you can kick back for about a year while Mother Nature evaporates most of the remaining moisture. At that point, in most places, you’ll be at about 12% MC. To complete the drying process, bring the boards inside a heated workshop. In as little as a few weeks (depending upon species, temperature, and humidity), they will be ready to use.
I’ve run a small sawmill in eastern Pennsylvania for more than 25 years, and I’ve made hundreds of stacks of wood (that’s me at…