how long should lumber dry after milling?

mufflerNovember 17, 2009

We are installing Cape Cod siding on our house, but for the corner boards and skirt board we bought lumber that was just milled, but cut in the summer (a few months ago)

We need to paint or stain both sides of the boards before putting them on. We plan on putting them in a garage with a large fan on them. Does anyone know how long they should dry this way before painting or staining at least the inside of the boards. And what is a good paint or stain to use? Thanks for any input on this from someone who knows more than we do about drying wood.

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It depends on the kind of wood, the moisture content, the relative humidity where it is stored, and how it is stacked. For best paint adherence it's best to have it kiln dried.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 8:30PM
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Air drying is normally a minimum of one year per inch of board thickness, in weather protected stickered piles.

Kiln drying is better and faster.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 9:10AM
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The lumber should have been stacked properly immediately after it was cut. If that was the case and the weather has been good it might already be near 20% MC.

Putting it in an enclosed space to get the MC lower should work with proper ventilation but the major issue is that it might have already dried too fast and checked.

Here is a link that might be useful: wood drying info

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 11:32AM
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Thanks for your replies. The type of wood is pine and it was stacked right after being cut. It is indoors and what we ended up doing was tarping it and putting a dehumidifier in with it. It is dry with a little heat in the building so hoping that works. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 7:43AM
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Wood moves a fairly large amount from green to even air dry, let alone oven dry.

You can cut a small piece of wood. weight it (you need at least a postal type scale) and then dry it in the oven and weigh it again.

The weight loss is the water.

The percent is defined as the water lost divided by the dry weight of the wood.

It can be over 100% for green wood since the water can weigh more than the dry wood.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 8:44AM
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Your post reminds me of a mistake I made years ago with some ancient Nova Scotia white pines logs I had, muffler. After having it sawn, I rented a garage and carefully stacked and stickered the whole lot with dreams of having beautiful wide boards the following year to panel my new house.

Something didn't seem right when I came back in eight or nine months to take it to the planer. Seemed to be a dampness about it. As I worked down into the stack, my worry turned to horror as board after board had turned into mold farms, with slimy discoloration all over all but the ends.

I forget how much I lost, but the moral is keep your eye on it once in a while. Don't make the foolish mistake I did ignoring the importance of proper circulation.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 3:18PM
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