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I was given several hundred BF of oak that was cut at least 5 years ago and air dried. The problem is that it still feels wet. I know "get a moisture meter" which I will should I ever decide to use it on a major project. For now though I have sliced some 1/4" x 4" boards that I want to make small boxes out of. Does anyone have any suggestions on making sure the wood is dry by putting it in a microwave for a few seconds? Since the pieces will only be about 5" long and 1/4 thick it seems like it would be feasible.
 

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Might work. But, a few minutes in a low heat (250°) oven would be safer. Trapped moisture in a microwave could be disastrous.
 

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Pay attention..
and BE VERY CAREFUL...
you can start the wood on fire internally..

Set the microwave on its lowest setting. On most microwaves, this is "defrost" or lower. Whatever your microwave's settings, choose one that runs on roughly 200 to 360 watts.
Place the wood on the outer edge of the carousel plate so that it rotates around the cavity of the microwave. Place two to three paper towels underneath the wood to absorb the moisture the wood gives off as it dries. You may place more than one piece of wood in the microwave at a time as long as they fit on the outer edge of the carousel and none of the pieces touch each other (touching pieces may ignite).
Microwave the wood for 1 ~ 1½ minutes. (way less for thinner wood) Never leave the wood unattended while it is drying. If you notice smoke, stop the microwave immediately as you may have an internal fire...
Remove the wood from the microwave with oven mitts or heavy work gloves. Place the wood on the counter to release the steam.
Lift the wood off of the counter after 30 seconds to check the amount of condensation underneath the wood. Then allow it to cool to room temperature and to release the moisture removed by the microwave.
Repeat until little the wood produces little condensation while it cools down to room temperature. Do not try to nuke away all of the condensation. If the wood is too dry, it may smolder or ignite internally....

https://www.woodworkweb.com/woodwork-topics/work-shop-tips/105-microwave-wood-drying.html
 

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Might work. But, a few minutes in a low heat (250°) oven would be safer. Trapped moisture in a microwave could be disastrous.
the more gooder way...
but over ''drying'' will case harden the wood...
 

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Place the wood on the counter to release the steam.
Hot items can separate laminate and the base material or melt an acrylic as Corian. Put the wood on a wire rack to cool all sides.
Had a fellow who came into the cabinet and lighting gallery where I worked. His wife was out of town. He took a pan off the stove and, not thinking, put it on the Corian countertop. Melted a nice circle about 8 inches in diameter. Owner had to contact someone to repair it.
 

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Art, Chances are the wood is dry enough after 5 years. Acclimate for a week or two, then use it. Or make sure with a moisture meter. A moisture meter will give you a reading on that side of the lumber (not the entire thickness). Once the lumber is shaved to thickness...it will release tension if it has a lot of moisture. I say see what happens.
 

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I have never wanted, needed, or tried, to dry wood in a microwave. But when I first heard about that, I did a lot of reading on it. Forgot 99% of what I found out, but do recall that some of the wood was put in a paper bag with sawdust in it, then covered with sawdust, and dried in the microwave, don't recall any details. Seems to me that was used for green wood. What I do know is, if I wanted to dry wood with a microwave, I'd do a lot of reading of material posted by people who had actually done it. You'll also read about the mistakes many made learning how to do it.

However, it is most likely the wood is totally, ruined if it feels damp after 5 years, and utterly worthless to use. Your best bet is to forward it to me, for appropriate sacrifice to the Woodworking Gods - I am a High Priest, and will take care of all details. There is a time window on proper sacrifices, so send it quickly.
Kiddies, do not try this at home.
 

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I’ve seen a wood technologist check samples for moisture content by microwaving for 20 seconds at a time I think and then weighing it. When it stops loosing weight it’s dry.
 

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I have never wanted, needed, or tried, to dry wood in a microwave. But when I first heard about that, I did a lot of reading on it. Forgot 99% of what I found out, but do recall that some of the wood was put in a paper bag with sawdust in it, then covered with sawdust, and dried in the microwave, don't recall any details. Seems to me that was used for green wood. What I do know is, if I wanted to dry wood with a microwave, I'd do a lot of reading of material posted by people who had actually done it. You'll also read about the mistakes many made learning how to do it.

However, it is most likely the wood is totally, ruined if it feels damp after 5 years, and utterly worthless to use. Your best bet is to forward it to me, for appropriate sacrifice to the Woodworking Gods - I am a High Priest, and will take care of all details. There is a time window on proper sacrifices, so send it quickly.
Kiddies, do not try this at home.
I have read that microwaving the green wood,think of turning wood, kills the kills the boring critters that will tend to keep on eating while the wood is air drying.
HErb
 

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I have read that microwaving the green wood,think of turning wood, kills the kills the boring critters that will tend to keep on eating while the wood is air drying.
HErb
They sound like popcorn on their way out...
 

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Up until last year I've had a microwave in my shop, both for drying small pieces of wood, and for re-heating my coffee. @stick's method is pretty close to the way that I do it.
My microwave's control panel quit working, so I got rid of it, but with plans to get another. It just hasn't happened yet. I really do miss my coffee re-heater.

Charley
 

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I’ve seen a wood technologist check samples for moisture content by microwaving for 20 seconds at a time I think and then weighing it. When it stops loosing weight it’s dry.
I have used the microwave to dry turnings. Don't overheat the wood, it should be warm but not hot, use short periods in the microwave and pull it out and weigh it, record the results. Let it cool then heat it again, weigh it and record the results. when it comes out the same weight or close stop the process and let it acclimate to the surroundings.

You might get some movement in the wood when it loses moisture so if possible clamp it to a flat surface and let it cool each time. On bowls, I usually put the rim down and clamp across the bottom until cool, it helps maintain the shape. This does work but I don't know that it is any better than turning green and storing in a paper bag of shavings until dry, then finish turn the bowl.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Art, Chances are the wood is dry enough after 5 years. Acclimate for a week or two, then use it. Or make sure with a moisture meter. A moisture meter will give you a reading on that side of the lumber (not the entire thickness). Once the lumber is shaved to thickness...it will release tension if it has a lot of moisture. I say see what happens.
I think Gary is right. I looked at the wood I prepared and it seems as dry as a piece could get and now cuts just fine. It might have been that it was out in the rain for a few days and wasn't really green. I noticed yesterday that there were more 5/4 and 6/4 boards in the burn pile. I just don't have room for any more wood but I really hate to see it burned up
 
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