Drying Cut Lumber The Right Way

Drying Lumber For exterior or construction uses, best results can be obtained by drying lumber. The degree of wetness in wood is called moisture content, and it's expressed as a percentage.   

 Air Drying Lumber: Getting rid of the moisture in lumber requires sticker stacking and good air circulation. 

My suggestion is that within a few days at most, that all of the new sawn lumber be stickered and stacked in an area with good air flow to prevent degradation of your new lumber. Depending on your particular area air drying can bring the moisture content down below 7% making your material suitable for interior cabinet work and furniture. This process is easy and free.    

Green lumber should be stacked on stickers as soon as possible after sawing. This improves air circulation between the boards, speeds drying and prevents discoloration. Applying an high quality stain/sealer to the cut ends of the boards will reduce splitting and saves as much as 10% of the lumber value.    

Properly stacked lumber dries quickly in warm, dry, low humidity weather.  Softwoods like pine and cedar can air dry to suitable moisture content in as little as 6 weeks during the spring and summer months in some climates. 

Hardwoods like Maple, Oak and Walnut will dry in 6 -12 months. Little or no air drying takes place in wet damp weather.   

Stack your lumber with "stickers" (spacers) and place weights on top of the stack.  The "stickers" (1" X 1") and top weights should be aligned vertically and placed about 2 feet apart. Cover the top of the pile with a tin sheet with overhang on all sides. Leave a space between the cover and the lumber pile.    

There you have it, easy to cut your own lumber then stack it nicely and wait!  The results will be thousands saved from the high mark ups of lumber stores and you end up with higher quality wood that has been dried properly to the moisture content you need for your projects.

Once the wood is being used on your project, treat the wood with high quality wood stains, wood preservers, and bug resistant treatments.