I have been getting request lately to further explain the concepts of drying lumber. Instead of doing a video on this topic which would consist of me just talking in front of the camera I have chosen to do a blog entry series instead. I am also considering writing an E book on the topic in the future for people to purchase as a reference guide. This will be a series of blog post in which I am going to share what I have learned over the past 8 years of my journey with my sawmill business. This will in no way be the definitive guide to drying but rather a good start at understanding drying lumber. My goal is to share everything that I wish I would have known when I started out. This information comes from research, books,articles and the most valuable insight was found by talking to country sawyers. That term which is not meant to represent a stereo type of the occupation but to convey the type of sawyer(s) that allowed me to pick their brain for this valuable information. This education can be found in text but hearing it straight from the sawyers mouth for me was the ultimate learning experience. The information in this series is by no means "trade secrets" or knowledge that is only available to members of an elite club. This wisdom amongst experienced sawyers is obtainable to anyone if they only do one thing, ask.
Drying lumber is as important as felling a tree and sawing it on a mill. You can have great success with your felling technique and also experience Christmas when the log is opened up for the first time, but without proper drying of the timber you will not enjoy the rewards of your labor.
There are many key terms that are always mentioned when discussing drying lumber. These are the ones that will be key in this series on drying wood.
Air Drying: The task of drying lumber with the assistance of mother nature. This usually consist of lumber being stacked/sticker-ed in either a barn, drying shed or simply on a base made out of concrete blocks and timbers covered with an old piece of tin. Wood is considered green in the initial state of air drying and great care should be taken as this is the most crucial period of the drying process.
Kiln Drying: This consist of using artificial air flow and heat to dry the lumber to the desired moisture content. There are many types of kilns from wood boilers to vacuum kilns. This series will focus solely on the kiln I operate at my sawmill which is a dehumidification kiln.
Sterilization: This process is when the lumber's core is heated to a set temperature in order to kill any bugs/larva etc in the timber. This is a very important part of the process that if skipped could result in a dining room table sitting on sawdust pillars.
In tomorrows entry I will start explaining the process of stacking lumber for airdrying. I am going to attempt to make an entry on this series everyday this week here on my blog. Thank you for reading this post and remember to sign up for updates on this site so you won't miss any of the entries.