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Thread: Kiln Drying time

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    South Haven, MI
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    Default Kiln Drying time

    I have some fresh cut green oak 4x4s, how long will it take them to kiln dry? I understand that moister content plays a roll but if i can get like a broad estimate, that would be great.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Default Re: Kiln Drying time

    Tell us more. What exact use do you have in mind? Commercial kiln can tell you, or are you talking about building your own?

    For most boatbuilding use wood like that is stickered and air-dried, often taking a year or so in the process.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    1,158

    Default Re: Kiln Drying time

    Seems to me commercial kiln run times are around 3 weeks, howevery my memory could be faulty. Kiln temperatures and sequencing as well as kiln design will be big factors. I don't believe there is a way to have an answer. Experience operating your kiln would provide the best data.

  4. #4
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    Default Re: Kiln Drying time

    Except for oak frames that will be steamed. Then, the greener the better. Meg's were cut down one morning, logs selected and milled that afternoon, and the first frames were being steamed the next day.

    Sliding some in ---


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Eastern CT on the CT river
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    Default Re: Kiln Drying time

    16/4? Using an optimistic 1% maximum moisture content drop per day in a conventional kiln. I'll guess 60 days (initial MC 80% target under 20%).

    If green oak in quantity did not stink so bad green I'd consider starting the drying process (16/4) in a basement that has a wood stove with a dehumidifier and a fan.


    To air dry 4/4 down to 20% moisture ball park would be 50-80 days (favorable conditions)
    Commercial kiln drying
    4/4
    Recommended maximum moisture content drop per day 2-4% depending on species/quality (WO/RO)

    8/4
    Recommended maximum moisture content drop per day ranges from 1-1.5%
    16/4
    questimate .25 - 1.5 % max moisture content drop per day (made these rates up)

    The estimates above are for Steam and DH kiln. I have a DH kiln.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Default Re: Kiln Drying time

    ^

    In other words, if you can resaw it down closer to what you want to net it will dry much more quickly and evenly with less checking, warping and twisting. Do you really need 4X4?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: Kiln Drying time

    I doubt you will find a commercial kiln that will want this job, unless you have a kiln load's worth of wood. The larger the beam, the more gently it needs to be dried to prevent splitting. Tying up a kiln for a couple weeks for 4 beams is unlikely.

    For a quick cheat, steam your beams in a steam box for an hour per inch thickness. When cool they will be much drier, and rot fungus will have been killed as well.

  8. #8
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    Portland, Oregon
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    Default Re: Kiln Drying time

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    I doubt you will find a commercial kiln that will want this job, unless you have a kiln load's worth of wood. The larger the beam, the more gently it needs to be dried to prevent splitting. Tying up a kiln for a couple weeks for 4 beams is unlikely.

    For a quick cheat, steam your beams in a steam box for an hour per inch thickness. When cool they will be much drier, and rot fungus will have been killed as well.
    I work with a custom kiln operation at times. They've never turned down a job, but sometimes it takes them a while to find a load that is compatible with my small batches. Thicker stuff is, indeed, a sticking point, as most of what goes thru any kiln is 1X or 2X material. Or 4/4 or 8/4 rough.

    So...

    Find a kiln that'll take on your project, then work with them on the schedule. It really does vary widely for odd lots.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    Waterbury Center, Vermont
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    Default Re: Kiln Drying time

    You won’t find kiln dried 16/4 oak for sale in very many lumberyards in the US. I was looking for 12/4 for table legs years ago and called all my usual suppliers. They all said no, after getting someone knowledgeable on the phone they said it is very rare because of the time and hazards involved in killing such thick oak. I finally found it at Talarico Lumber in PA, and had it shipped freight to VT. Over $500 for a board that gave me 8 3” turning billets. Sam Talarico is a real character. When I told him what I was looking for he said “yeah, I’ve got it and you won’t find it anywhere else”.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Sequim, Washington
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    Default Re: Kiln Drying time

    I've got several stickerd and stacked piles of Full size 6x6, 3x5, 2x6 milled from Doug fir trees off my property. They are covered, and the 6x6s have been air drying for 3 years. They are just about ready at 14%. If you need them right away a Kiln is the way to go.
    PaulF

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