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Thread: First slab - now what....

  1. #1

    First slab - now what....

    I had some white pine cut down at the cottage (Ottawa Canada) in the spring and purchased an Alaskan mill with the idea that I would slab the lumber and build a bar counter in a corner of the deck. The Alaskan mill was awesome and last weekend I cut some 2" slabs (14" across). I've read the sticky on drying lumber - thank you for that - I was going to stack it in my basement to dry but will now find a spot outside with good airflow and sticker the wood for drying. I can stack the wood under the cottage - maybe not as good airflow but it would keep the snow off. Lee Valley sells log sealer which they describe as a wax emulsion so I'll apply that to the slab ends.....

    Is it reasonable to expect the lumber to be dry enough to start building the bar counter next summer? Also interested in options for sealing the wood. Stain or epoxy.

    Pine is about the only species on our lot that gets big enough to make a bar counter out of, so I don't have any options in that sense.
    Last edited by Mike Mitchell50; 10-10-2018 at 9:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    cleveland,tn.
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    284
    I would use the basement and I have used two box fans and a timer one on each end , having them alternate back and forth time wise on low speed.( the stock was 12 plus feet) You would think the stickers would hamper the drying but to me it seemed to work well enough. What I was thinking about under the house if your crawl space froze it would lock the moisture in place till a thaw, making it take longer to dry.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    6,842
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Mitchell50 View Post
    Is it reasonable to expect the lumber to be dry enough to start building the bar counter next summer? Also interested in options for sealing the wood. Stain or epoxy.
    I don't have a clue to how fast pine will dry in your environment. Do you have a way to rig up a scale and weigh the plank? If so, weigh it every month that it's not frozen. When the weight is stable for two or three months in warmer weather the slab is probably as close to as dry as it will get in the air. If you can't weigh the entire plank, perhaps you have a shorter piece the same thickness from the same tree, sealed on the end grain the same and stored in the same conditions.

    When air drying I put down concrete blocks, some 3x3 or 4x4s longways, some stickers perpendicular, then stack the lumber with stickers between. I put more stickers on top and some heavy concrete blocks for weight, then cover top with old plywood, siding, or metal roofing with something to keep it from blowing away. This shades from the hot sun, the rain runs off and the snow melts and runs off. Be we don't have much snow around here - Deep snow might need a sloped top or regular cleaning.

    I would rather have the air circulation outside and protect from the elements than have it in an enclosed space without out a good air exchange. If there is a good space under the cottage that might be about as good as being out in the open.

    JKJ

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
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    8,946
    Hi, I dry mine outside, then when it's down to equilibrium outside I bring it into the shop to continue drying.

    Where I live that's about 15% outside and about 8% inside.

    Snow isn't going to be an issue, put a sheet of plywood over the top held down with some straps and maybe concrete blocks.

    Here's a shot from a few years ago.................regards, Rod.

    Outdoor Drying.jpg

  5. #5
    thanks for the feedback. My cottage is on the side of a hill with a fair bit of open space (6 feet high) and the prevailing winds providing a decent flow of air so I think I'll go that route. We get 3-4 feet of snow and there is no road access in the winter so I would either have to build a significant shelter or snow shoe in on a regular basis to clear the snow and that is unlikely to happen.
    I will take the suggestion and cut a piece off one of the slabs and take it home with me. I can store it in similar conditions at home and weigh it as suggested.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Mitchell50 View Post
    thanks for the feedback. My cottage is on the side of a hill with a fair bit of open space (6 feet high) and the prevailing winds providing a decent flow of air so I think I'll go that route. We get 3-4 feet of snow and there is no road access in the winter so I would either have to build a significant shelter or snow shoe in on a regular basis to clear the snow and that is unlikely to happen.
    I will take the suggestion and cut a piece off one of the slabs and take it home with me. I can store it in similar conditions at home and weigh it as suggested.
    It sounds like the space under the cottage will be perfect!

    Except, I would probably weigh and leave the smaller piece with the slabs, on the same stack even, so it would have exactly the same air circulation, temperature, and humidity. Wax the ends just like the slab. If the ends have been exposed to the air before sealing I might even cut a few inches off the end and seal that, if I had enough wood to spare. Weigh it once or twice before winter sets in then start weighing again when you can get back in the spring. I usually write the date and weight on the board itself with a lumber crayon as well as in a log book.

    You might be surprised at how quickly it dries. I've only cut 4/4 white pine but it dried quickly, almost as fast as eastern red cedar.

    Can't remember if I mentioned it in this thread, you can also use the "oven dry" method to measure the absolute moisture content deep in side the slab. However it requires cutting a small sample out of the center of a slab.

    I sure wish I had a cottage like that!

    JKJ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
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    404
    You purchased a sawmill to get a slab for a bar top? Mike, you didn't slip down the slope, you jumped off the cliff !

  8. #8
    Tom - I thought I was keeping my wife happy. She had the idea for the slab bar top and the Alaskan mill and a rip chain was a reasonable expense to achieve that goal. Turns out I love milling logs and have come up with a ton of ideas. Off the cliff and in free fall now .... Hope it's not as expensive as my other obsession - Muskie fishing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    6,842
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Mitchell50 View Post
    Tom - I thought I was keeping my wife happy. She had the idea for the slab bar top and the Alaskan mill and a rip chain was a reasonable expense to achieve that goal. Turns out I love milling logs and have come up with a ton of ideas. Off the cliff and in free fall now .... Hope it's not as expensive as my other obsession - Muskie fishing.
    Some years ago I bought a new Woodmizer LG15 for around $7000. Just sayin'...

    The kerf is tiny so very little wood is wasted. Mine will handle up to a 17' log 28" in diameter and so quick to process big blocks for woodturning. Just a little gasoline and an occasional new blade are the operating expenses. This has been SO useful on the farm for the new peacock house, barn siding, remodeling the chicken house. Just the thing to add on to your cabin or build a shed for little more than the cost of the fasteners.

    sawmill_blanks.jpg sawmill_cedar_log_10x10.jpg cedar_P9064287es.jpg

    All you need is a flat spot and a phone call to feed your addiction. Save that silly fishing until you get too old and feeble for real fun. Those things are too dangerous anyway.

    JKJ

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