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Drying resaw wood in desert

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  • Drying resaw wood in desert

    I want to start leaving the desert to find wood to resaw into usable lumber for shop projects (the desert don't grow trees, just big bushes) and I have read some on drying the wood (1 yr per inch) but I seem to remember something about not drying too fast. The normal temp in the shade during summer in S. CA desert is 110. The wife already said no about putting it in the lvg rm. LOL So guy's, any advise on this? (not the lvg rm) I have a good flat area that can be shaded and lots of stickers. But I'm not sure if it will still bow/cup/twist in this heat of hell.

  • #2
    Re: Drying resaw wood in desert

    I'm no lumber drying expert BUT years ago a good friend of mine, who I was working for at the time, bought 3000 feet of rough Oak. He stacked and stickered it in his back yard and covered it with tarps. Summers here in Phx reach 115 easy and when we checked it a few months into the summer, it was completely un-usable. Each board had a few thousand cracks and all had cupped and warped severly. But on the good side, he does have a fireplace and now a lifetime supply of good firewood!



    • #3
      Re: Drying resaw wood in desert

      Thanks Mark. The weather channel does not show us here in the Imperial Valley, so we use pnx. We have almost the exact same weather. Except it only rains here 1-2 times a year. What you said was exactly what I was worried about. I wonder if it would help if I put A LOT of weight on the wood. huum!!


      • #4
        Re: Drying resaw wood in desert

        If you don't have the room to properly store this lumber then you're better off not doing it. To attempt it would more than likely yield you the same results that Mark's friend ended up with and that can be a very expensive experiment.

        I'm in the same boat as you and don't have the room to keep a large quantity of stock in my shop. I know that I'm paying more by having to purchase my wood by the project but I'd rather do that then ruin a couple hundred dollars worth of lumber. It does help to keep the price down if you have a local source for rough lumber.

        FWIW, I have heard of stories where people have stack and stickered lumber and stored it behind couches and under beds.
        I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


        • #5
          Re: Drying resaw wood in desert

          Red oak is one of the most difficult hardwoods to dry without damage.
          Here are a few things to try.
          1. wax the ends of the boards to prevent moisture loss (latex paint is an option but not as good as wax based end sealer)
          2. cover the ends or entire pile with burlap to control (slow down) moisture loss
          3. Use smaller stickers (thinner) - the closer the wood the less air flow = slower drying
          4. pile over dirt instead of concrete or asphalt, the dirt floor will keep moisture from evaporating as fast
          5. Enclose the pile, a roof is a must to keep the sun off but adding a wall or two will cut down on airflow and keep the moisture.


          • #6
            Re: Drying resaw wood in desert

            To add to Waynes' ideas use a double roof...i.e., two roofs separated by a foot or more with the upper one shading the lower. Don't close in the space between them, let the air move through and keep the lower roof surface as cool as possible.

            Keep the bottom of the stack at least a foot above the floor. I'm not sure stacking over dirt is such a good idea.

            You need to put some weights on top of the stacks, but keep it over the stickers else you'll bend your boards.

            Be sure all your stickers are the same thickness and are aligned directly on top one another all the way up through the stack or you'll have a twisted, worthless mess in no time.
            "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



            1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error