Tips for Drying Your Wood at Home

Drying wood at home requires proper technique and patience. To air-dry lumber, you must typically allow one year of drying time per inch of thickness of the wood. What else do you need to know to dry wood at home? Use the following tips from your lumber yard in Houston to dry your wood:

  • Don’t delay: Did you recently suffer storm damage? Did you just cut down a tree? Don’t wait to create your wood. Process the tree into lumber as soon as possible. If you delay, the bark will act as a moisture-trapper, and fungus and decay will appear. Prevent rot and stains by processing the logs immediately.
  • Oversize it: Did you know that wood shrinks as it dries? Because of this, you must cut your wood larger than the size you eventually want. Keep in mind that a bit more size will be lost when the boards are jointed. This oversizing will allow you to dry the wood and enjoy the finished size you desire.
  • Protect it: While you want to process the lumber quickly to avoid moisture damage, you must also protect it from losing moisture too quickly. Moisture escapes from the ends of wood 10 times faster than from other surfaces. To ensure moisture leaves the wood in a uniform pattern, seal the ends. Failing to do this will allow the ends to shrink faster than the rest of the lumber, resulting in stressed wood. To seal the ends, use shellac, polyurethane, paraffin wax or latex paint. This thick film will prevent moisture from escaping through the ends of the boards. Apply the coating within minutes of sawing the wood.
  • Space it: For the most effective drying, you’ll need to stack the lumber properly. Try to cut the wood in uniform size so it stacks well. Then, use stickers to provide space between the wood for ventilation. Stickers are small pieces of wood that are placed between the layers of stacked wood. A good rule of thumb is to use stickers every 12 to 24 inches.
  • Weigh it: As your lumber dries, it can warp and curl if it is not weighed down properly. The pieces at the bottom of the stack probably have enough weight from the wood above them, but the top of the stack needs weight too. Weigh down the entire stack so your efforts result in flat, usable lumber.
  • Heat it: Once your wood has fully dried, you might need to bring the moisture level down even more. This will depend on the purpose you have in mind for the lumber. To do this, you can move the lumber into a heated basement or drying cabinet.

Would you like more tips from a lumber yard in Houston? The pros at Houston Hardwoods Inc. are ready to assist you. For over 25 years, Houston Hardwoods Inc. has been your locally owned and operated lumber yard, specializing in hardwoods, plywood and molding for custom furniture. Contact our team today with any questions!