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Sorry in advance for the long posting. One of my neighbor’s trees fell over in a storm last spring and part of it landed in my yard. He never did anything about it, my wife was not happy, so yesterday I cut it up with a small chain saw. Since it was towards the top of the tree, the branches were not large but, I salvaged a log 5” diameter and 30” long that’s almost straight. I’d like to try my hand at sawing it into lumber on my bandsaw. I have a ½” woodslicer blade and figured I’d build a sled to hold the log and give it a try. I know the Woodslicer blade is not designed for green wood but this is a small log and it’s been down for over 6 months (not touching the ground). I’d feed it slowly so the chips could clear. I figure that the very best I could get out of it are 3 boards 7/8”, and 2 boards ½”, max 30 inches long. Once its cut I’m sure it will be less than that.

I know that air drying outside is the best way to dry wood. However, I don’t have any kind of area to do that. All I have is a concrete slab in the back yard and in this area, northwest of Philadelphia, we can get wind driven snow in the winter and heavy, wind driven rain in the spring. My shop is in the basement. Now the question; can I dry it in my shop without totally screwing up the wood? Temperature is in the low 60’s all year round with normal home humidity which varies by season. We have a whole house humidifier for the winter. We also have a dehumidifier in the basement that rarely goes off. Of course, there’s not a lot of air flow other than when I’m running the shop vac. What do you think – sticker it, weight it and see what happens? Considering what I paid for it, if it became unusable, it wouldn’t be a tragedy but I’d like to do the best I can to make it work. Since this is totally new to me (all I know is what I’ve read on the internet) I’d really be grateful for any and all suggestions.

I don’t know if it makes any difference, but I think the wood is birch. I’m not sure since I’m not great at reading bark, I’m better with leaves, but the bark sort of looks like Birch. If it’s a different species of wood would that make any difference? Finally, after I cut it I brought it into the garage and sealed the ends with 3 coats of Sealcoat shellac.
 

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John
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Barry
never try drying my own lumber but I have read about it I believe your biggest problem would be that it would dry to quickly causing checking
 

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Theo
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Never gave it a shot either, but I would probably put it in the attic. Probably even better, the garage, if it's unheated. One never knows until one tries.
 

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I've dried lots, probably most of it was white birch. White birch is bad for twisting and bowing. It will probably be too warm and too dry inside. It also works better if there is a lot of weight on the pile, but it still needs good airflow past the faces and sides of the boards. You won't have much invested in this small amount of wood so give it a try. If the ends start to crack right away it's drying too fast. It is also better to keep it fairly dark too.
 

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I have been playing with drying some cherry and apple for the last 3 years. I have it stickered in my unheated shed. Currently I am making a small box for my grand daughter from the oldest cherry pieces. These planed up perfectly. I don't think you will have a big problem drying inside. Drying outside exposes the wood to extremes of temperature throughout the year, particularly if you have a winter climate. A more regulated climate should be fine I think (but I've never done it). Make sure you use pine or other similar stickers so the wood won't pick up stains. Weight it very well. I use concrete blocks on top of a sheet of ply to distribute the weight. My attitude is that if it works it's great and if not well no big loss. Good luck.
 

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Hi Barry. I air dry wood all the time in my live edge woodcraft business. I have found that the cooler the temperature the better. I use spacers between each piece and cement blocks for weight on the top of the pile to prevent warping. I think outside drying is better. You could tarp the wood pile. We do most of our drying in the winter and use fans to keep the air circulating around the wood. Inside would work if you could keep the temperature as low as possible. Good luck. Billy Boy Bill Major
 

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You might get some of the wax based liquid you paint on the ends of the boards to keep them from drying too fast and checking. Probably have to order it. Rockler has it, but I'm sure others do as well.
 

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I walked out past the woodshed this morning. It's wetter inside than outside! Basically a 14' x 16' 'carport' like structure with steel roof.
We're in the depths of a long-lasting fog bank, 4 days and no sign of burning off; everything is dripping wet, especially the underside of the metal roof! .
Ah the joys of living beside the ocean... :)
The dampness just cuts through whatever you're wearing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all of your suggestions. I'm going to try a middle ground, so to speak. I have an unheated garage. That's where the log is right now. As we go into the winter the temperature will be colder than the house and not subject to rain and snow. Not a lot of air flow but some since the garage isn't sealed all that well. On a windy day you can feel the breeze. I hope to to be able to cut up the log later this week. I'll let you know how it turns out in the spring. Thanks again.
 

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I stored some in the attic of my shop once, which would be similar, and that turned out okay so it should work as well as anything else you could do. Good luck.
 

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Theo
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Drying wood can be an interesting process. Some people bury it in sawdust, small pieces can actually be dried in the microwave (or so I've read, not tried it myself), you can build a small shed specifically for storing/drying wood, build a solar wood kiln, and all sorts of different ways. In the old days of sailing ships only, I've read that the British would mark pine trees for masts - that's when they still had this country - and sink them in saltwater ponds, to preserve them. I've got some wood of several varieties that were saved when a hurricane blew down a number of my trees, maybe 15 years or so ago - just stuck the pieces in the shop for when I got a use for them, nicely dried now, and just waiting for me to decide what all I'm going to use it for.

I say stick a few pieces in your attic, basement, garage, and where ever else you can think of, and compare them after a year or so.
 

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Thanks for all of your suggestions. I'm going to try a middle ground, so to speak. I have an unheated garage. That's where the log is right now. As we go into the winter the temperature will be colder than the house and not subject to rain and snow. Not a lot of air flow but some since the garage isn't sealed all that well. On a windy day you can feel the breeze. I hope to to be able to cut up the log later this week. I'll let you know how it turns out in the spring. Thanks again.
The standard is one inch thick needs one year to dry at least. So depending on your thickness drying over the winter won't probably be enough.
 

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Not sure if this applies, but a friend had cut a native TN Cherry tree and had it sawn into 5/4 lumber, and stored for 20 years in attic, rotating and stickered semi-annually. For a 20 year anniversary present, he made his wife a seven foot dining room table. It turned out beautiful, but started to crack and check after about 6 months. The key I think is to let the wood acclimate to where it will be used before planing and joining. Even kiln-dried wood can check after working. The internal stresses need to find a way to settle down.
 
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