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Thread: Good deal on logs....would you?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    56,191
    Since you have access to what appears to be a lot of material, be very selective with what you choose to acquire and have milled. It can feel really wonderful to have "a lot" of lumber, but it takes a lot of space to properly dry it and then properly store it until use. I've honestly wasted some material because of my own stupidity and I currently have some logs set aside that upon second thought, I'm not going to bother with. I have others that are "much more worthy" of my investment in time and money so those will get done and the less-worthy ones will get cut up and left for the firewood crowd in a pile down by the road.

    BTW, the best place to do the initial year or two of drying is out in the open where prevailing winds can get through the stacks to wick off moisture. A simple cover on top to keep standing precipitation off is all you need. Drying under cover may not provide enough air flow unless your prevailing winds will always be coming from a predictable direction that can flow through the stack(s) effectively. (through the sides of the stacks so the stickers don't block the air flow) You can "finish" the drying process in a more limited area including a warm/hot loft/attic space, but the primary drying should be done as I mentioned for best and "quickest" (relatively speaking) results.

    Start preparing your drying space now...you have to be able to level the bottom supports (4x4 or 4x6 or 6x6 PT typically) spaced no more than 24" OC along the full length of expected material size for a particular stack. A sticker goes on top of each of those leveled supports before you start stacking. Don't pack too densely, either. Drying is about air flow to wick off the moisture and air flow needs space to, um...flow. Wider stacks can go higher; narrow stacks are more limited if you want them stable. Special logs that you slab, if that's appropriate, need their own stacks if you want them to remain in order as a "sliced log". And yea...you need a gazillion stickers that are the width of an intended pile long and all the same thickness....75"-1".
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
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    10,343
    I dry wood over the winter outside.

    5/4 dries enough from October to March where I live that it goes down to approximately 12 to 14% RH, then it goes into the shop to reach equilibrium.

    Regards, Rod.

  3. #18
    Lots of good advice here! We get a few 100 degree days, but never 110, and just the way my property is situated, no one spot gets more than a few hours of sun. I'm basically on top of a mountain, nothing but steep slope all around me. Which leads to.....I have a few options for where to stack this stuff:

    1. Lean-to on the side of my shop. Plenty of room, tall and wide. Doesn't get one minute of sun all year long, moss had replaced the grass near by. Roof hangs over the "frame" by 2 feet on all 3 sides.
    2. Under my second story deck. 100% dry, won't ever see a rain drop even during a windy thunderstorm. Problem is will get 2-4 hours of "morning" sun on the side of the stack facing east.
    3. Built a shed/stacky thingy on the west side of my driveway. 2 hours of mid-day sun per day, again, only on one side of stack, but the best air flow location.
    4. Car port attached to cabin. 3-5 hours of mid-day sun on tin roof, but not direct sun, cherry and maple tree kinda in the way. But I have to find where to store the firewood.....


    My thoughts are with the existing lean to next to shop, because there's no sun excessively heating one side of the stack. Humidity in my neck of the woods is pretty bad in the summer, soon as I open the shop doors I'm drenched. Thanks for all the replies, at this time, a kiln of any type just isn't feasible.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Sun isn't really something I'd be worrying about. It's about air flow as I noted. But I wouldn't put the stacks under a bunch of trees, either, because that can exacerbate moisture and critter challenges...DAMHIKT! Lots of folks air dry out in full or partial sun, honestly, including the folks I buy a lot of my lumber from.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #20
    I guess the ultimate factor on where I put this stack is space. Roughly, how high would a 4 foot wide stack of 1000 BF QS 8/4 be? Or 2 500 BF stacks. 4 feet wide is the limit in the few options I do have. Let's assume I'm using 3/4" thick stickers.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Colson View Post
    I guess the ultimate factor on where I put this stack is space. Roughly, how high would a 4 foot wide stack of 1000 BF QS 8/4 be? Or 2 500 BF stacks. 4 feet wide is the limit in the few options I do have. Let's assume I'm using 3/4" thick stickers.
    If you know the length of the boards (or the average length) you can use the formula BoardFt = T x W X L/12 where T and W are in inches, L in ft.

    I can imagine several ways to estimate closely, I might solve for T to get approx thickness (stack height without stickers). Be sure to add estimated spacing between boards in W. Then figure the number of layers and add the sticker thickness for each layer, then add the height of the foundation.

    Or calculate the solid volume of 1000 bd ft (1 bd ft is about 144 cu inches or about .0833 cu ft) and divide up the volume to get the solid stack height at given board lengths and your 4' width (with spacing accounted for) then add the stickers, etc. So 1000 bd ft is about 83 cubic ft.

    Or a rougher estimate: use bd ft calculation. For example, one 8/4 board 4' wide and 10' long contains 80 board feet so 1000 bd ft would be 12.5 of these wide 10' boards, about 2' high if read my pencil scratches correctly. (Do the calc yourself) Decrease width number to allow for space between boards, increase height for stickers, etc.

    There are plenty of board ft calculators on the web if needed, like https://www.omnicalculator.com/construction/board-foot

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    WNY
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    Actually, you can easily kiln dry lumber yourself. Go to the Sawmill forum and read my recent posts. I at least partially air dry lumber first, shooting for 30% or less, and then load 500 BF at a time into a very simple insulated box that cost less than $500 and uses a dehumidifier, fan, and oil filled radiator. It dries 5/4 lumber from 25% to 7% in two weeks, and sterilizes it, for about $50 per load.

    There is nothing wrong with air drying lumber. People have been doing it for thousands of years. There are plenty of publications on how and where to set up drying racks. Air drying doesn't take as long as most people think, at least not in the NE. 4/4 lumber will be AD where I am in 3 to 4 months if I cut it in the Spring. I just cut some 5/4 cherry in mid September. I checked it earlier this week and it was 20% MC, using the oven dry method. It's now in my kiln for final drying.

    John

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
    Posts
    500
    I stack lumber on 45" stickers, and 98% of the 4/4 I cut is 8' long, so I figure about 30 board feet per layer if it's square cut and tightly stacked. I don't leave any gap between boards on one layer, I just stack it like it was one very wide board and it seems to do just fine. I can only go about 5 feet high before bumping into the bottom of the rafters at the lower edges of the loft, so I can get up to about 30 layers, with stickers. Thus in theory I can get 900 board feet on one stack, but it's usually less since there's some live edge pieces here and there, and some layers have gaps depending on the board widths.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    WV
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    A kiln is simple. a cargo container painted black with some venting.Leave it in the full sun for a few weeks when it predicted to be 110 degrees or more outside. Throw some blankets on it at sundown. It should be over 160 degrees inside for hours each day.
    Bill D
    Lol... thats a good one. Heh... good recipe for basically nothing more than air dried wood. The material wil never reach the kill zone and will basically be nothing more than very air-dried. The bonus will be relieving the case hardening every evening and cloudy days as the container cools and moisture condenses back on the surface of the material but it will never be "dry".
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Colson View Post
    Lots of good advice here! We get a few 100 degree days, but never 110, and just the way my property is situated, no one spot gets more than a few hours of sun. I'm basically on top of a mountain, nothing but steep slope all around me. Which leads to.....I have a few options for where to stack this stuff:

    1. Lean-to on the side of my shop. Plenty of room, tall and wide. Doesn't get one minute of sun all year long, moss had replaced the grass near by. Roof hangs over the "frame" by 2 feet on all 3 sides.
    2. Under my second story deck. 100% dry, won't ever see a rain drop even during a windy thunderstorm. Problem is will get 2-4 hours of "morning" sun on the side of the stack facing east.
    3. Built a shed/stacky thingy on the west side of my driveway. 2 hours of mid-day sun per day, again, only on one side of stack, but the best air flow location.
    4. Car port attached to cabin. 3-5 hours of mid-day sun on tin roof, but not direct sun, cherry and maple tree kinda in the way. But I have to find where to store the firewood.....


    My thoughts are with the existing lean to next to shop, because there's no sun excessively heating one side of the stack. Humidity in my neck of the woods is pretty bad in the summer, soon as I open the shop doors I'm drenched. Thanks for all the replies, at this time, a kiln of any type just isn't feasible.

    All the math is out there and phenomenal points already in the post... Key overview to me would be:

    1. Even with your free time you will not save any money over purchasing material though you will undoubtedly be left with some juicy bits and pieces.
    2. You will have massive amounts of degrade and had better take care with regards to end coating and your stacking/drying.
    3. The 1 year/inch is bunk with regards to 4/4 material. It will likely lose all the moisture its ever going to lose stickered outdoors for 6-8 months. Beyond that (with normal lightly covered stickering) your fighting for tenths of a percent.
    4. Shipping the material to a kiln as opposed to building your own make the most sense. Building a kiln (with heat source to hit sustained kill temps) is a waste of time.
    5. Your best bet is to have at the juiciest material in the lot. Red Oak to me is junk. I can buy green for $400/MBF green and not much more KD FAS (perhaps $1000/MBF). There will be more work in the Red Oak than its worth unless its all quarter sawn. Similar with the White Oak but rift is in the mix. Go after your highest dollar grades. No flat sawn (other than Walnut and Cherry). Dump all the Cherry that isnt big, or gnarly. You need large logs in Cherry and Walnut to get any yield but chop up the small walnut and dry it slowly and sell it for turning blanks. Small Walnut logs (ton's of sap) have little value flat sawn in 4/4. More work than its worth.
    6. Dont get carried away and take a bunch you can use for a few years and dont try to capitalize on the whole lot because again, other than any figured/funky stuff you land on your going to be into some spendy wood by the time your done handling, processing, dealing with all the waste and degrade..

    Just my 0.02
    Last edited by Mark Bolton; 01-21-2021 at 3:48 PM.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    WV
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    4,375
    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    There is nothing wrong with air drying lumber. People have been doing it for thousands of years.
    Thats true other than for the fact that for the thousands of years it was done effectively the material went from an open air/unconditioned workshop into an open air/unconditioned final destination (home) so pretty much the manufacture and final destination were at equilibrium by default. Thats not the case any longer with modern HVAC, windows, doors, and the like.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Central New Jersey
    Posts
    383
    I dry wood all the time. Not to that mass of quantity but I dry it pretty often. I typically stick and stack it in my basement and fan it. If I had more room i'd build a 'kiln' but i just don't have the space for it.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Okotoks AB
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    2,632
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    A kiln is simple. a cargo container painted black with some venting.Leave it in the full sun for a few weeks when it predicted to be 110 degrees or more outside. Throw some blankets on it at sundown. It should be over 160 degrees inside for hours each day.
    Bill D
    I've heard of some off the wall ideas, but this one really takes the cake. I can just imagine how fun it would be to cover/uncover a sea-can twice a day for months on end. I don't know a lot about drying wood, but it's my understanding that for kiln drying, wild swings in temperature are not desirable. Even with the nicest, fluffiest down filled quilts, there will be drastic temperature changes.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    WNY
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    7,194
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    Thats true other than for the fact that for the thousands of years it was done effectively the material went from an open air/unconditioned workshop into an open air/unconditioned final destination (home) so pretty much the manufacture and final destination were at equilibrium by default. Thats not the case any longer with modern HVAC, windows, doors, and the like.
    Mark, you took that out of context. I said there's nothing wrong with air drying wood after which I put it in my kiln where it dries to 8% mc and then gets sterilized. It's not hard to do, and at low cost and with good control.

    John

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    All the math is out there and phenomenal points already in the post... Key overview to me would be:

    1. Even with your free time you will not save any money over purchasing material though you will undoubtedly be left with some juicy bits and pieces.
    2. You will have massive amounts of degrade and had better take care with regards to end coating and your stacking/drying.
    3. The 1 year/inch is bunk with regards to 4/4 material. It will likely lose all the moisture its ever going to lose stickered outdoors for 6-8 months. Beyond that (with normal lightly covered stickering) your fighting for tenths of a percent.
    4. Shipping the material to a kiln as opposed to building your own make the most sense. Building a kiln (with heat source to hit sustained kill temps) is a waste of time.
    5. Your best bet is to have at the juiciest material in the lot. Red Oak to me is junk. I can buy green for $400/MBF green and not much more KD FAS (perhaps $1000/MBF). There will be more work in the Red Oak than its worth unless its all quarter sawn. Similar with the White Oak but rift is in the mix. Go after your highest dollar grades. No flat sawn (other than Walnut and Cherry). Dump all the Cherry that isnt big, or gnarly. You need large logs in Cherry and Walnut to get any yield but chop up the small walnut and dry it slowly and sell it for turning blanks. Small Walnut logs (ton's of sap) have little value flat sawn in 4/4. More work than its worth.
    6. Dont get carried away and take a bunch you can use for a few years and dont try to capitalize on the whole lot because again, other than any figured/funky stuff you land on your going to be into some spendy wood by the time your done handling, processing, dealing with all the waste and degrade..

    Just my 0.02
    That is not true. I modified my solar drier for Winter use and it easily dries partially AD wood to 6 - 8% MC with excellent control and at low cost. You could build the same type of insulated box I have anywhere, the solar kiln isn't needed. For less than $500 investment I can dry 500 BF of hardwood at 25% MC in 2 weeks for less than $50 in power. At the end of the drying cycle I raise the temp. from 130 to 140F for 24 hours to sterilize it. The kiln uses simple, low cost equipment, with digital controllers, and requires less than 1000 W of power. Good insulation is the key It wasn't hard to build and it works. See the link for further details.


    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....-my-Solar-Kiln

    My friend uses an insulated refrigeration trailer with an electric mobile home furnace and dehumidifier to dry 1500 BF per load. It's all very doable at low cost and with good control.

    John

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