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Air Drying Timber

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marcus

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I have access to a small bit of land that is just the right size for a couple of stacks of boards. I'm thinking about getting into seasoning my own timber as in theory it will save me quite a bit of money in the long run.

I have a general idea of what is involved but just wondering if anyone with experience of doing this has any tips about pitfalls, problems and risks involved? If I mess up and ruined a load it would rather defeat the point....
 

twothumbs

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In very basic terms it needs a year for every inch (25mm) of thickness for air drying and then further stabilising interrnally. It can be air dried under a tarpaulin, tin sheet and so on. The big mistake I have seen is people not putting sufficient sticks in at close interrvals so the wood bends between sticks. Protection of the end grain is a must. I am sure it is a most satisfying experience to work with your own stacked timber. I certainly enjoyed using/converting the sawn boards I purchased as air dried with an element of selecting which boards and cuts would go where. It is a big subject with a knowledgeable skill on the Forum. You get quite mean in terms of using every bit as you have done so much in converting! I look forward to the replies and advice offered. Best wishes .
 

chipmunk

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Depending on what you want to do with it, my suggestion would be to start with something easy to dry like ash or beech - I certainly wouldn't bother with anything difficult like sycamore or holly to begin with. Oak can also be tricky too from my experience unless it's cut thin.

The most important thing is to keep the timber out of the sun and have good airflow through the stack. Protection from the ground is more important than protection from the rain.

Good luck!
Jon
 

marcros

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may also be worth considering doing everything as quarter sawn. I have read a few bits and this seems to be a common recommendations. worth search for info about chainsaw milling too- if you are not doing that, skip the bits about the actuall milling because the rest will still be relevant
 

AndyT

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Marcus, you don't say where you are, but one suggestion would be a visit to MAC Timbers, as described in this thread from Richard T, seen here sitting among Mike's stacks of timber:



Mike is a very friendly and approachable guy, and I'm sure he'd be happy to share some of his wealth of experience in converting and seasoning hardwoods. (And I'm sure he'd let you buy a few souvenirs to take home!)
 

Cheshirechappie

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It may be worth obtaining a copy of the book, 'The Conversion and Seasoning of Wood' by William H. Brown. Amazon can supply, and I found it under 'Stobart Titles' on the Stobart Davies website. There's a lot of scientific background, and plenty of practical, down-to-earth information.
 

marcus

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Thanks all for your suggestions. Shame oak is a bit tricky as that's mostly what I use. If I go ahead with this it will be mostly oak, so I hope I don't mess up! MAC Timbers is a little far for me, but it's a good idea to go and have a chat with an expert if I can find someone local, will look into it. Quarter-sawing sounds good in some ways but I wonder how much timber I'd end up wasting and if this might negate the purpose of the exercise... I try to get rift cut oak where possible, which may be a compromise if anyone will sell me only rift cut green boards (I won't be milling). I'll definitely get a copy of the book recommended.

As always I expect there is a lot more to this than meets the eye.... Oh dear, another learning curve :?
 
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