Mastering timber moisture

Furniture wood drying

To be sure that the wood remains stable, durable, and suitable for its intended use, the drying process is crucial for wood used to make solid timber joinery and furniture. The chance of stretching, cracking, and other types of damage that can happen when wood holds too much moisture decreases when the wood is properly dried. The right range for moisture content is 9 – 14%.

Every piece of wood used to make furniture is checked for moisture to guarantee its strength.

The two main methods for drying wood are air drying and kiln drying. Each method has benefits and disadvantages.

Air Drying

In order to allow for air drying, stack the wood in a well-ventilated location, like an enclosed porch or a dedicated drying shed.

Typically, wood is laid out with not much gaps between the boards to allow proper airflow.

The type of wood, its thickness, and environmental conditions are only a few of the variables that might cause significant differences in drying time.

While it takes longer than kiln drying, air drying can help retain the wood’s original colour and character.

During the air-drying process, it is essential to protect the wood from excessive moisture, rain, sunlight, and pest exposure.

To be sure the wood achieves the right moisture content before being used, it should be regularly checked and observed with a moisture meter.

Kiln Drying

Kiln drying is the process of speeding the drying process by means of a specialized chamber termed a kiln.

To achieve ideal drying conditions, humidity, temperature, and airflow are carefully managed once the wood is placed within the kiln.

Compared to air drying, kiln drying offers faster and more controlled drying.

Several weeks are typically required for the process, depending on the type and thickness of the wood.

Kiln drying may lower the possibility of defects and improve the timber’s overall durability.

However, due to the energy expenses associated with operating the kiln, it can end up in subtle variations in colour in the wood and may cost more.

Whatever drying method is used, it’s essential that you adhere to these broad principles:

Begin with properly cut wood that has undergone initial treatment to remove excessive bark and branches.

While the wood is air drying, make sure there is enough ventilation around it. When the wood is kiln drying, keep the humidity and temperature at the proper levels.

Use a moisture meter to regularly measure the timber’s moisture content. The project’s specific needs and the environment in which the wood will be used will impact the target moisture content.

Before starting with any construction, give the wood enough time to adjust to the conditions in which it will be used.

Until it is time to use it, store the dry wood properly and protect it from excessive moisture and temperature changes.

These recommendations will help you obtain well-dried wood that is suitable for use furniture making and solid timber joinery projects.

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