Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Use Air Dried Boards as is?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    692

    Use Air Dried Boards as is?

    Hi,

    I have always had my rough cut boards kiln dried, so bugs in the wood has never been a concern.

    I am going to mill some ash that I believe was standing dead for a while, before being cut in to boards and air dried.

    This will end up as trim on a couple windows in my daughter's house.

    It seems prudent to me that i should build a box and heat the lumber for a number of hours, as has been posted here in other threads. Something like 160 degrees F for six hours or so, if I remember right.

    Just wondering what the consensus is with you guys. What is your procedure for working with air dried lumber in your shop?

    Better safe than sorry I suppose...
    Too much to do...Not enough time...life is too short!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    1,120
    If it's standing dead, sterilization is a necessity. Bugs love ash!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    5,705
    I've used a lot of ash killed by the emerald ash borer that I milled and dried myself. The EAB doesn't go much beyond the bark. I've never had any issues using it after it's dry. Other bugs could be a problem, but I haven't had any of those so I can't comment.

    John

  4. #4
    What you described is a sterilization cycle. Getting the wood up to 160 will kill any kind of bug hiding inside it. I personally would let it stay in your heat box for 2 or 3 days, to make sure it is dried down where it won't go crazy after you make some panels. I had a few walnut boards on the floor of the shop for a few weeks, and had 2 panels glued up and nice and flat before setting aside for a few days, then found I had some panels with about an inch of bow across.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    East Virginia
    Posts
    601
    I wouldn't worry about it. Assuming the wood has been air dried normally (a year per inch thickness), I don't think there's anything going to be in the wood that would be killed by cooking it, and cooking it won't protect it from insect damage (from PP beetles, for example) in the future.

    I think some people get little silly about KD wood, sometimes. No matter how dry you get it in the kiln, and no matter how many layers of finish you put onto it, it's still going to take up and give up moisture seasonally, moving between 10-15% moisture in most parts of the U.S. I'd rather use wood that's already 10-15% than use KD wood that's going to move all over the place until it reaches equilibrium...YMMV.
    Last edited by Jacob Reverb; 02-19-2019 at 5:58 AM.

  6. #6
    I used to buy my air dried walnut shorts from Michael Kaufman at Kaufmann Lumber in Millersburg, Ohio. This was an Amish sawmill. Sadly it burned down several years ago. He stickered his shorts on pallets without a cover and torqued it down with metal banding. He would stack the 4' x 4' pallets 4 and 5 high! Anyway, I would always ask him...."is the walnut dry?" and he would always answer..."it is as dry as it is going to get". At $2.65 a bd ft the walnut was great and never gave me a problem.
    Ask a woodworker to "make your bed" and he/she makes a bed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    9,220
    Hi Bill, I normally air dry my lumber in the winter from freshly cut logs so bugs aren't a problem.

    It would be prudent to heat the wood as you've described to make sure that you don't have an issue...........Rod.

  8. #8
    As I say: It's probably smart to kiln it for a few days to kill any larvae - which can survive mild winters without sustained deep freezes.

    As I do: For my own air dried lumber and green wood turning blanks, I have never done this. Apart from visual inspection under the bark and telltale signs of tracks or holes, I have not done it. I have not had a problem, but YMMV.

  9. #9
    Air drying definitely can be a bit risky re: insect damage, especially with certain species like poplar and pine.

    Depends on your area and the species. I've had pine trees cut down on my property I planned to have sawn. Within 24 hours of felling the tree, you will hear the beetles cutting. Also, I've had yellow pine practically destroyed while air drying in spite of spraying with insecticides.

    That said, hardwood species are a bit safer. Like Prashun, I do a visual and look for sawdust in the stack. Lots of times the damage is just under the bark and not affecting the wood. Skim planing and /or jointing the edges will reveal damage, especially sapwood.

    Also, Jacob brings up an interesting point. I aim for 8% MC in my project wood. But in my area, acclimated lumber will air dry equilibrate at around 12 -14% - ish.

    I sticker the lumber in a climate controlled room with a dehumidifier & I cannot get the ambient humidity below 55%. I have had lumber reach 8%, but often it won't get below 10.

    So rather than shoot for a number, I check the lumber weekly and when it is stable, I begin the project.

    So far I've never had an issue. I keep all the lumber and project parts in climate control, in plastic bags when possible if the humidity is bad.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    1,120
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Reverb View Post
    I wouldn't worry about it. Assuming the wood has been air dried normally (a year per inch thickness), I don't think there's anything going to be in the wood that would be killed by cooking it, and cooking it won't protect it from insect damage (from PP beetles, for example) in the future.

    I think some people get little silly about KD wood, sometimes. No matter how dry you get it in the kiln, and no matter how many layers of finish you put onto it, it's still going to take up and give up moisture seasonally, moving between 10-15% moisture in most parts of the U.S. I'd rather use wood that's already 10-15% than use KD wood that's going to move all over the place until it reaches equilibrium...YMMV.
    I had to throw away a couple thousand bd ft of soft maple and ash that had been air dried and then tight stacked on the family farm. Powder post infestation was insane! I was burning 6/4 boards that were 20" wide. With the heart ache involved with all that wood, I never assume an air dried board will be safe, and I always tell the story to folks that haven't seen that kind of infestation. At first I tried trimming down some boards. I'd cut off a foot, another foot, and another. The infestation was so bad that even 3' in, the outside 3" was basically powder. STERILIZE THE LUMBER!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    air dried and then tight stacked on the family farm
    how long was this tight stacked on the farm?
    powder post could happen to kiln dried lumber too, in storage...
    Carpe Lignum

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    1,120
    Some probably 15 years, some less. Walnut and catalpa went untouched, lost some cherry but mainly just the sapwood.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    East Virginia
    Posts
    601
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    I had to throw away a couple thousand bd ft of soft maple and ash that had been air dried and then tight stacked on the family farm. Powder post infestation was insane! I was burning 6/4 boards that were 20" wide. With the heart ache involved with all that wood, I never assume an air dried board will be safe, and I always tell the story to folks that haven't seen that kind of infestation. At first I tried trimming down some boards. I'd cut off a foot, another foot, and another. The infestation was so bad that even 3' in, the outside 3" was basically powder. STERILIZE THE LUMBER!
    Man, that's a heartbreaker, and a big financial hit as well. I cut a few cords of maple and cherry firewood early last spring, and when I went to usse some of it this winter, the stacks were FILLED with what appears to be PPB frass. So far, I guess I've been lucky with most of my furniture wood.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    692
    Thanks to all! Very helpful and informative.

    I know it would be best to heat the raw lumber first before it is milled. But I am wondering if the bugs/eggs can survive the milling process.

    It would be more convenient to heat the wood after milling as the mass would be less. There is not much quantity though, maybe less than 40 BF, before cutting into lengths. Max length needed is about five feet. Not sure what will be coming...

    Does one have to worry worry about bugs making it safely through the jointer, planer, saw cut, etc., in to the dust collector?

    I guess worst case I could cut the boards outside first. Or even better, have the SIL’s father do it before he brings them.

    Bill
    Too much to do...Not enough time...life is too short!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Crystal Lake, IL
    Posts
    555
    Drying wood is kind of like an art. You can't just take freshly sawn wood, stack it in a large kiln or storage container, and heat the hell out of it to 160°, as you will ruin the lumber. Each species has a different drying rate, and some dry much easier than others. As has been mentioned, kiln dried lumber is not safe from bugs. When wood is kiln dried, a part of the drying schedule, for each particular species of timber, involves getting the temperature up to sterilization levels. That kills the bugs, and their eggs inside.

    A lot of sawyers use borates for bug control, but that only works on the parent insects, not the "kids" that hatch later. It only kills bugs that ingest the wood, too, so carpenter bees (a HUGE problem here) aren't effected by borates, as they do no ingest the wood fiber.

    Stacking your wood correctly for post-drying storage is just as important as sticker stacked lumber going into a kiln. I always sticker my lumber stacks, even after they are dry. This takes up extra space, but is worth it, as the lumber stays in equilibrium with it's surroundings.

    The most important thing to know, for those new to the process of drying lumber, is that some arbitrary number of moisture content (MC), say 6% to 8% (often popular numbers with kiln dried lumber) is only what the lumber is dried to. It will reach equilibrium with the surrounding environment that it is stored in, no matter what. Controlling bugs in your wood storage area, and a lot of guys, once again, spray their dried wood with borates. Well, this is a twofold problem, as the wood gets "wet" again, and needs to dry again. The other, and bigger issue, is what you build with that treated lumber. I, for one, don't want to make kitchen tables and baby cribs out of lumber treated with toxic chemicals. Do you?

    Slabs are very popular right now, and a lot of guys store their slabs wet, and with bark on. This creates the happiest of homes for bugs, if you live in an infested area.

    There are different types of PPB's, too. Some will not eat wood once it is dry below a certain percentage. Still others prefer dry wood.

    Mold and fungus are also an issue. They will degrade wood quickly. There's a fine line between spalted, which looks great, and punky, which renders the wood useless without a lot of epoxy and CA applications. Once the wood air dries below 20%MC, mold and fungus stops growing. You can kill mold with a bleach mixture, but you have to be careful with certain species as to not effect the color of the wood.

    Lastly, dead stacking lumber, wet or dry, is the best way I know of to allow the bugs to move in and destroy your lumber. Keep it stickered, and cycle your stacks of lumber frequently for best results. It's a lot of work ( I cycled 5000 bf yesterday in 25° weather in my drying shed), and your back takes a hit, but it's the most reliable way to get the best results. Wood is very expensive these days, and losing a shed full of lumber to bugs and mold can cost thousands of dollars in lost timber. If you're selling lumber, or furniture built with air dried lumber, you can destroy your business by delivering a timber full of bugs to a customer.
    Jeff

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •