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Thread: Want to heat / dry construction beams

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    402

    Want to heat / dry construction beams

    I have maybe ten 3 x 10 x 8' beams I got from a construction site that read at 17% moisture content.
    I want to dry them further, and also kill any bugs.

    Can I sticker them inside a plywood box that I paint black and place that in the sun?
    With a hole at each end for venting?

    I don't think I need to make a solar kiln, but I want to run it by you guys who know more than I do about this.

    Thank you, Mark

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Crystal Lake, IL
    Posts
    474
    A solar kiln of any kind is not going to get hot enough to kill powder post beetles, and quite a few others that can be a problem, either.

    Trying to speed dry those timbers may result in effecting the wood in a negative way. You may get lucky, but more often than not, you can cause damage like warp, case hardening, honeycombing (cellular collapse), and a long list of other defects.

    There are drying schedules for each different species of wood. There's a lot of science behind the process.

    I'm not saying that you need a PhD in forestry management....far from it, but I've been sawing and drying my own timber for my woodworking business for over 20 years, and every time I've tried to rush things, I learned quickly how to make a lot of expensive firewood.

    What species are your boards? That will have a lot to do with giving you some good advice.

    Edit: There are chemical products like Timbor that can be used to kill bugs and prevent future infestations. Google is your friend. Grab a cup of coffee, and spend a few hours reading.
    Jeff

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    402
    Thanks Jeff. The wood is doug fir.
    Got my coffee.

  4. #4
    The lycid powderpost beetle that we all fear and hate only infests hardwoods, not softwoods. I do not believe that you need to heat treat the beams if they are douglas fir. That solves one problem.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles
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    402
    Good to know, thanks Danny.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    New Hill, NC
    Posts
    2,151
    Danny is correct (as usual!)

    RE drying below 17%MC, consider stickering them in a hot attic for a few weeks with a box fan blowing across the stack.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,485
    Are these used beams? In southern california they should be much lower mc then that if they are more then a few years old.
    Bill D

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