Air Drying Your Own Lumber

February 16, 2015

I’ve been air drying my own lumber for about 4 years now.  In this video I share an overview of the process which should help demystify and make the process more approachable.

Wagner MMC210 (These have gone up in price since I bought mine):
http://amzn.to/17I89ll

General Tools Moisture Meter
http://amzn.to/1zIw0ql

Anchorseal
http://amzn.to/1EECpHG

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  • Gerard Williams says:

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    Heyyy Matt! Big fan of yours through your channel and WoodTalk (RIP, jk thanks for not quitting (mostly)). I had a cedar on my property felled and I’m getting it “slabbed up” with a Woodmizer so that I can dry it out. I’m in Maryland (near Shannon, so humidity city), and at this point I’m thinking that the best place for me to put it is in my garage where I have a relatively flat slab floor and protection from the elements. I’ve seen around however that there is just no way that i’m going to be able to air dry lumber in my environment to a decent moisture reading to be used to make indoor projects…. does that jive for you? I don’t know that I’ve ever heard you say that air drying is impossible in some environments, but I may have missed it. I’ll have to put fans on the stack (like you do) to keep air flowing, but the garage is only partially insulated and without air conditioning or heat. Any thoughts…?

  • Ryan says:

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you for all your videos and sharing your knowledge! I have a question. A few months ago I purchased some rough sawn black walnut. The guy I bought it from is just sort of starting out with this whole lumber thing and the stack has quite a few issues. For starters the stickers he used were around 1/4″ thick! I meant to restack it all properly but ended up not getting to it for a month or two and of course as I opened up the stack to take a closer look there is some mold growing here and there. No surprise given the fact there was next to no air flow with stickers that skinnny.. The bigger issue is the stack seems to have quite a bit of insect damage. There are holes in various boards and some dust that looks to be from insect damage. In fact, as I turned the first board over a beetle scurried away so it appears to be an active infestation!

    I have the Wagner MMC220 and after 2.5 winter months or so of it being stacked improperly in a non heated room the wood is still reading 15% to 32%. After watching your video, and some others, and doing some research I know how to stack it properly now. I am actually making 3/4″ stickers now and will stack nice and level in a warm dry room with a fan blowing through the stack. But, what do I do about an active insect infestation? There is no bark, but this is very rough lumber with some knots and some debris here and there from cracks and what not. I’d say there are insect holes in maybe 15% of the boards. I plan on cleaning up the debris as I restack. Do you think using “BoraCare” for insect control would be a good idea or would that leave an unwanted residue down the line? I’m a farmer and have access to many different types of insecticide so my inclination is to simply use some that targets beetles/termites and spray it lightly where ever I see insect damage as I restack (checking to be sure it doesn’t stain first). The end result would be quite a bit of residual insecticide throughout the stack which should take care of the problem? Or maybe I should lightly spray every board? I’m not too concerned with the mold/fungus issue as the room I’m storing it in will be very warm soon and there will now be adequate air flow.

    Sorry for the long winded question! Any advice would be appreciated. I wish I lived near you so I could buy your lumber!!

    P.S. You actually helped me out a year or so ago when I had some burn issues from my table saw. Gave me some great advice which solved the problem so I don’t care what everyone says….you are a good guy in my book! Haha.

    • Hey Ryan,

      Great to hear from you again! I don’t have a whole lot of experience with insects (I’ve been lucky). The few times I’ve had to deal with them, I just used my friend’s kiln to kill them so I’m not sure about the overall effectiveness of insecticide applied to the boards. Since it’s roughsawn, I wouldn’t be too worried about it staining the wood. Any residual insecticide would be removed when the boards are surfaced. What I would do is remove the clearly infested boards from the stack and quarantine them somewhere else. You’ll be able to verify that the insect activity has stopped before stacking those with the others again. If you see any sawdust piles under those boards, then the insects are still in there and the boards need further treatment.

      Hope you’re able to get it sorted out!
      Matt