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Drying wood

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  • Jerry Harder
    Several people have question why even dry wood and green woodworking. Certainly green woodworking has its advantages like not having to wait for the wood to
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 27, 2013
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      Several people have question why even dry wood and green woodworking.
      Certainly green woodworking has its advantages like not having to wait
      for the wood to dry, and once together wood can shrink in such a way as
      to lock everything in place so it won't come apart such as when green
      wood shrinks around a dry peg. It also has its disadvantages such as
      splitting twisting and dimensional change. Machine parts need to have
      there parts stay the same. If they warp, or twist, or change size, the
      machine will stop working. I would like to explain my theory as to why
      wood checks and how I have dried mine. I am by no means the expert but
      I have managed to be successful and when push comes to shove, results
      matter. I know that wood is dried commercially in kilns but know little
      about the process. I suspect that the wood is not only heated which
      speeds up the drying process but the moisture in the kiln environment is
      reduced slowly and in a very controlled way. If for instance you put a
      piece of wood in an oven where there is heat but no moisture, it will
      split in dozens of pieces and be worthless.

      My Theory:

      Wood shrinks when it dries. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12%,
      and green wood can have 30-40% moisture which in a good dry piece of
      wood may have around 12% moisture. These numbers come out of my head
      from previous reading (I don't know what) and I am sure someone on this
      list has better documented numbers than me. For the sake of discussion
      lets assume we have a perfect 12 in diameter log (looks like a lathed
      out telephone pole) and lets draw circles on the end every inch so it
      looks something like an archery target. The key to drying wood is to
      get it to dry evenly. So when we have just cut it down, the wood dries
      from the ends very rapidly It is therefore necessary to seal the ends
      with something. I use the cheep miss-colored paint and indoor latex
      works as well as the outdoor stuff. Duct tape would probably work if
      you can get it to stick. I have read that in medieval times wood was
      buried in manure or under ashes but that was a modern undocumented
      source. I have not found any period descriptions of the medieval drying
      process.

      As our log starts drying, the outside dries first while the inside dries
      hardly at all. You can prove this to yourself, just take a freshly cut
      log say 4 in in diameter and let it dry for a month and cut in half.
      The outside will be dry but the inside will still feel wet to the
      touch. Now lets go back to our 12 inch log. The circumference on the
      outside is given by (pi)X(D) or 3.142 X 12 = 37.704 inches. Lets assume
      that our log has dried on the outside ring about half way but inside
      that not much at all. Why? Look at your 4 in test piece. That means
      that the outside ring has shrunk about 5% and that 37.704 inch
      circumference has shrunk 37.704 X .05 =1.885 inches so now it is 37.704
      -1.885 =35.819in. The inside layer has not dried much at all so is
      still the original size. So how do you get a 35.8 in piece to fit in
      where a 37.7 in piece should be. Natures answer was to put gaps of air
      space there. Walla: checking!

      So how do we stop checking? We figure some way to dry the wood in such
      a way that the inside dries near to the same rate as the outside. One
      way is to control the moisture on the outside of the wood. That would
      mean that in kiln drying where the heated wood could dry very quickly we
      force the outside from getting too dry too fast by keeping the outside
      air moist and humid and bring the air moisture content down slow enough
      that the inside of the log can keep pace. Burying in sawdust, manure,
      or ashes does the same thing without the aid of heat to make the process
      go faster. Wrapping the wood in plastic also does the same thing but
      you have to let the plastic open on occasion so the moisture can get
      out. Otherwise all the moister condenses condenses on the inside of the
      plastic and stays in and on the surface of the wood and causes it to
      rot. The caustic and basic nature of ashes in the method mentioned
      above may actually prevent mold growth. For large beams 2 1/2 by 12 I
      have painted with diluted latex paint same as what I used on the ends
      full strength and left it a little streaky so there were spaces for
      moisture to get out. They say wood dries an inch per year so our log
      will be ready (maybe) in 12 years.

      So how can we do this faster? Well someone mentioned splitting the log
      lengthwise. That certainly helps. Half a log will only take 6 years.
      If you know what you want to make you can pre-cut before drying but you
      must leave extra stock on the board in order to make it flat, square and
      straight.

      Example of my practices:

      The fellows on my 8 foot tread-wheel (there are 24 per side IE 48 in
      all) are 2 3/4 wide and 3 1/4 thick. They were cut from honey locus
      growing in my fence rows. The grain all goes with the curve of the
      wheel. So how did I bend them? I didn't. I cut the straight spokes
      from the trunks and the curved fellows from branches that already had
      the right curvature by matching them up to a plywood pattern. Reaction
      wood? The limbs I cut them from were about 8 in in diameter. These
      were the steps I used to cut and dry them.

      1) Cut them to length leaving at least 6 inches extra long. The longer
      the better as it's always nice to be able to doge a knot that would end
      up in a tendon or some other such flaw. Paint the ends Immediately.

      2) Trim them all around (with chain saw) leaving about 2 inches extra
      stock all the way around. Wrap in clear plastic and store in barn.

      3) When moisture collects (which is every day at first) open the plastic
      and let it dry out which takes about 15 minutes to an hour. Then rap it
      back up.

      4) Eventually moisture stops collecting on the plastic even if left for
      a week or two. At this point I leave it unwrapped.

      5) Check the wood frequently. By winter I started to see some checking
      start to appear. The wood has been drying for maybe 6 months. I then
      built a box that a single curved log could sit flat in and torx screw it
      solidly in so it cant move around. I used a 1/4 in piece of plywood to
      build a base for my router about 2.5 ft long which I then reinforced
      with 2x2 so it wouldn't flex. The screws that fasten this base to the
      router are counter sunk so the entire bottom is flat. (except for the
      router bit) The top edges of the box that the rough cut log is in
      becomes the guides and the router is moved back and forth on them to
      "mill" the top surface of the log perfectly flat. You can then router
      box mill the other side or run through a planer as I did. This turns
      the rough chainsawed wood to a smooth piece which is still an inch
      oversize. It also removes the wood that has started to check. We now
      have a piece of wood that is closing in on the right shape at least in
      one direction, is slightly less dry on the outside than at the beginning
      of this step, and has the wettest part that is closest to the center now
      more closer to the outside edge and it is back to having few if any
      checks and is much drier as a hole than in step 2. I have to work for a
      living so this step took about a month.

      6) I stacked the wood crossed like for stickering and covered with
      plastic but it didn't show much moisture condensing off. We know
      however that the wood is no where to completely dry.

      7) I made a new pattern for the top and bottom curves leaving 3/8 in
      extra stock. I then cut the pieces out and stacked them to dry some
      more while I did roughly the same procedure to the spokes which took a
      couple more months.

      8) I cut the parts to length whiten 2 inches.

      9) Repeat all the above processes starting with the router box milling
      to re-flatten, bringing all the dimensions to the desired size and
      cutting the tongue and grove or mortices depending on how you want to
      view them, groves for the floor and so on. Immediately upon finishing
      the part I give it a coat of linseed oil.

      So what have I done? All this cutting and re-cutting helps the wood to
      dry by removing more and more wood. It also allows stresses to relieve
      themselves. (Ever cut a dry straight board in half only to have two
      warped pieces. Maybe it was reaction wood? (Would you believe that
      metal does this too?) But processing by making repeated cuts allows the
      wood to react while leaving stock to correct for it. In a way it is
      like adzing and hand planing, in effect whittling a board out of the
      lumber so that it ends up straight. In the mean time the spaces of time
      in between the steps allow for drying. Repeated slicing away material
      also removes small checks that have started and thus prevent them from
      propagating themselves, because if air can get inside the crack, it
      dries it out in that immediate area more and causes it to check even
      further. The linseed oil not only provides a period finish, but insures
      that any further drying happens very slowly and so prevents warping and
      checking. The result: a finished and stable part.
    • D. Young
      Most furniture of quality was made from quartered wood. I own an extensive collection of 15th - 18th century pieces *original* and most utilize quartered wood
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 27, 2013
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        Most furniture of quality was made from quartered wood.   

        I own an extensive collection of 15th - 18th century pieces *original* and most utilize quartered wood ....which is very stable.

        I do believe logs were often given a year or so to dry out a bit...but that moisture remains for upwards of 10 years.   IVe seen this in my own logs.

        Two things to bear in mind....

        Peasants and lower class folks had very little furniture.    Log furniture basically.   Not unlike what we might call "rustic"  log stools and tables etc

        But after circa 1200-1300 deforestation was so serious, it was deemed a priority as the Renaissance/Colonial period began

        The explosion of furniture in the 17th century is due to North American and Baltic oaks being imported in huge quanities.


        I guess my point here is that if you dont want splitting,. checking etc....ie, CRACKS.....you need to work with quartered wood.

        However quartered wood is limited in size...if sawn you only get about 4 directions of the widest wood pie shapes in the form of a cross "+".....

        Any other pie pieces (quartered) tends to be narrower....but it all depends on the oak tree, etc  ....

         We dont often get out hands on 4-6 food wide trees....so our panels are not often as wide as some of those insane hutch chests with 20 inch wide panels.


        -Drew

        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        *)*Make sure to replant what you take down*(*.....who will, if you dont?




        Fine Armour and Historical Reproductions

             Custom Commissions Welcome....!

        www.partsandtechnical.com
        (Well Formed Munitions Catalog Coming This Spring)
         



        To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
        From: geraldgoodwine@...
        Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2013 05:56:54 -0600
        Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Drying wood

         
        Several people have question why even dry wood and green woodworking.
        Certainly green woodworking has its advantages like not having to wait
        for the wood to dry, and once together wood can shrink in such a way as
        to lock everything in place so it won't come apart such as when green
        wood shrinks around a dry peg. It also has its disadvantages such as
        splitting twisting and dimensional change. Machine parts need to have
        there parts stay the same. If they warp, or twist, or change size, the
        machine will stop working. I would like to explain my theory as to why
        wood checks and how I have dried mine. I am by no means the expert but
        I have managed to be successful and when push comes to shove, results
        matter. I know that wood is dried commercially in kilns but know little
        about the process. I suspect that the wood is not only heated which
        speeds up the drying process but the moisture in the kiln environment is
        reduced slowly and in a very controlled way. If for instance you put a
        piece of wood in an oven where there is heat but no moisture, it will
        split in dozens of pieces and be worthless.

        My Theory:

        Wood shrinks when it dries. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12%,
        and green wood can have 30-40% moisture which in a good dry piece of
        wood may have around 12% moisture. These numbers come out of my head
        from previous reading (I don't know what) and I am sure someone on this
        list has better documented numbers than me. For the sake of discussion
        lets assume we have a perfect 12 in diameter log (looks like a lathed
        out telephone pole) and lets draw circles on the end every inch so it
        looks something like an archery target. The key to drying wood is to
        get it to dry evenly. So when we have just cut it down, the wood dries
        from the ends very rapidly It is therefore necessary to seal the ends
        with something. I use the cheep miss-colored paint and indoor latex
        works as well as the outdoor stuff. Duct tape would probably work if
        you can get it to stick. I have read that in medieval times wood was
        buried in manure or under ashes but that was a modern undocumented
        source. I have not found any period descriptions of the medieval drying
        process.

        As our log starts drying, the outside dries first while the inside dries
        hardly at all. You can prove this to yourself, just take a freshly cut
        log say 4 in in diameter and let it dry for a month and cut in half.
        The outside will be dry but the inside will still feel wet to the
        touch. Now lets go back to our 12 inch log. The circumference on the
        outside is given by (pi)X(D) or 3.142 X 12 = 37.704 inches. Lets assume
        that our log has dried on the outside ring about half way but inside
        that not much at all. Why? Look at your 4 in test piece. That means
        that the outside ring has shrunk about 5% and that 37.704 inch
        circumference has shrunk 37.704 X .05 =1.885 inches so now it is 37.704
        -1.885 =35.819in. The inside layer has not dried much at all so is
        still the original size. So how do you get a 35.8 in piece to fit in
        where a 37.7 in piece should be. Natures answer was to put gaps of air
        space there. Walla: checking!

        So how do we stop checking? We figure some way to dry the wood in such
        a way that the inside dries near to the same rate as the outside. One
        way is to control the moisture on the outside of the wood. That would
        mean that in kiln drying where the heated wood could dry very quickly we
        force the outside from getting too dry too fast by keeping the outside
        air moist and humid and bring the air moisture content down slow enough
        that the inside of the log can keep pace. Burying in sawdust, manure,
        or ashes does the same thing without the aid of heat to make the process
        go faster. Wrapping the wood in plastic also does the same thing but
        you have to let the plastic open on occasion so the moisture can get
        out. Otherwise all the moister condenses condenses on the inside of the
        plastic and stays in and on the surface of the wood and causes it to
        rot. The caustic and basic nature of ashes in the method mentioned
        above may actually prevent mold growth. For large beams 2 1/2 by 12 I
        have painted with diluted latex paint same as what I used on the ends
        full strength and left it a little streaky so there were spaces for
        moisture to get out. They say wood dries an inch per year so our log
        will be ready (maybe) in 12 years.

        So how can we do this faster? Well someone mentioned splitting the log
        lengthwise. That certainly helps. Half a log will only take 6 years.
        If you know what you want to make you can pre-cut before drying but you
        must leave extra stock on the board in order to make it flat, square and
        straight.

        Example of my practices:

        The fellows on my 8 foot tread-wheel (there are 24 per side IE 48 in
        all) are 2 3/4 wide and 3 1/4 thick. They were cut from honey locus
        growing in my fence rows. The grain all goes with the curve of the
        wheel. So how did I bend them? I didn't. I cut the straight spokes
        from the trunks and the curved fellows from branches that already had
        the right curvature by matching them up to a plywood pattern. Reaction
        wood? The limbs I cut them from were about 8 in in diameter. These
        were the steps I used to cut and dry them.

        1) Cut them to length leaving at least 6 inches extra long. The longer
        the better as it's always nice to be able to doge a knot that would end
        up in a tendon or some other such flaw. Paint the ends Immediately.

        2) Trim them all around (with chain saw) leaving about 2 inches extra
        stock all the way around. Wrap in clear plastic and store in barn.

        3) When moisture collects (which is every day at first) open the plastic
        and let it dry out which takes about 15 minutes to an hour. Then rap it
        back up.

        4) Eventually moisture stops collecting on the plastic even if left for
        a week or two. At this point I leave it unwrapped.

        5) Check the wood frequently. By winter I started to see some checking
        start to appear. The wood has been drying for maybe 6 months. I then
        built a box that a single curved log could sit flat in and torx screw it
        solidly in so it cant move around. I used a 1/4 in piece of plywood to
        build a base for my router about 2.5 ft long which I then reinforced
        with 2x2 so it wouldn't flex. The screws that fasten this base to the
        router are counter sunk so the entire bottom is flat. (except for the
        router bit) The top edges of the box that the rough cut log is in
        becomes the guides and the router is moved back and forth on them to
        "mill" the top surface of the log perfectly flat. You can then router
        box mill the other side or run through a planer as I did. This turns
        the rough chainsawed wood to a smooth piece which is still an inch
        oversize. It also removes the wood that has started to check. We now
        have a piece of wood that is closing in on the right shape at least in
        one direction, is slightly less dry on the outside than at the beginning
        of this step, and has the wettest part that is closest to the center now
        more closer to the outside edge and it is back to having few if any
        checks and is much drier as a hole than in step 2. I have to work for a
        living so this step took about a month.

        6) I stacked the wood crossed like for stickering and covered with
        plastic but it didn't show much moisture condensing off. We know
        however that the wood is no where to completely dry.

        7) I made a new pattern for the top and bottom curves leaving 3/8 in
        extra stock. I then cut the pieces out and stacked them to dry some
        more while I did roughly the same procedure to the spokes which took a
        couple more months.

        8) I cut the parts to length whiten 2 inches.

        9) Repeat all the above processes starting with the router box milling
        to re-flatten, bringing all the dimensions to the desired size and
        cutting the tongue and grove or mortices depending on how you want to
        view them, groves for the floor and so on. Immediately upon finishing
        the part I give it a coat of linseed oil.

        So what have I done? All this cutting and re-cutting helps the wood to
        dry by removing more and more wood. It also allows stresses to relieve
        themselves. (Ever cut a dry straight board in half only to have two
        warped pieces. Maybe it was reaction wood? (Would you believe that
        metal does this too?) But processing by making repeated cuts allows the
        wood to react while leaving stock to correct for it. In a way it is
        like adzing and hand planing, in effect whittling a board out of the
        lumber so that it ends up straight. In the mean time the spaces of time
        in between the steps allow for drying. Repeated slicing away material
        also removes small checks that have started and thus prevent them from
        propagating themselves, because if air can get inside the crack, it
        dries it out in that immediate area more and causes it to check even
        further. The linseed oil not only provides a period finish, but insures
        that any further drying happens very slowly and so prevents warping and
        checking. The result: a finished and stable part.

      • leaking pen
        Also, the composition of heartwood and outerwood is different, and they dry at different rates under the same conditions, and also shrink differently.
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 27, 2013
        • 0 Attachment
          Also, the composition of heartwood and outerwood is different, and they dry at different rates under the same conditions, and also shrink differently. 

          On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 4:56 AM, Jerry Harder <geraldgoodwine@...> wrote:
           

          Several people have question why even dry wood and green woodworking.
          Certainly green woodworking has its advantages like not having to wait
          for the wood to dry, and once together wood can shrink in such a way as
          to lock everything in place so it won't come apart such as when green
          wood shrinks around a dry peg. It also has its disadvantages such as
          splitting twisting and dimensional change. Machine parts need to have
          there parts stay the same. If they warp, or twist, or change size, the
          machine will stop working. I would like to explain my theory as to why
          wood checks and how I have dried mine. I am by no means the expert but
          I have managed to be successful and when push comes to shove, results
          matter. I know that wood is dried commercially in kilns but know little
          about the process. I suspect that the wood is not only heated which
          speeds up the drying process but the moisture in the kiln environment is
          reduced slowly and in a very controlled way. If for instance you put a
          piece of wood in an oven where there is heat but no moisture, it will
          split in dozens of pieces and be worthless.

          My Theory:

          Wood shrinks when it dries. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12%,
          and green wood can have 30-40% moisture which in a good dry piece of
          wood may have around 12% moisture. These numbers come out of my head
          from previous reading (I don't know what) and I am sure someone on this
          list has better documented numbers than me. For the sake of discussion
          lets assume we have a perfect 12 in diameter log (looks like a lathed
          out telephone pole) and lets draw circles on the end every inch so it
          looks something like an archery target. The key to drying wood is to
          get it to dry evenly. So when we have just cut it down, the wood dries
          from the ends very rapidly It is therefore necessary to seal the ends
          with something. I use the cheep miss-colored paint and indoor latex
          works as well as the outdoor stuff. Duct tape would probably work if
          you can get it to stick. I have read that in medieval times wood was
          buried in manure or under ashes but that was a modern undocumented
          source. I have not found any period descriptions of the medieval drying
          process.

          As our log starts drying, the outside dries first while the inside dries
          hardly at all. You can prove this to yourself, just take a freshly cut
          log say 4 in in diameter and let it dry for a month and cut in half.
          The outside will be dry but the inside will still feel wet to the
          touch. Now lets go back to our 12 inch log. The circumference on the
          outside is given by (pi)X(D) or 3.142 X 12 = 37.704 inches. Lets assume
          that our log has dried on the outside ring about half way but inside
          that not much at all. Why? Look at your 4 in test piece. That means
          that the outside ring has shrunk about 5% and that 37.704 inch
          circumference has shrunk 37.704 X .05 =1.885 inches so now it is 37.704
          -1.885 =35.819in. The inside layer has not dried much at all so is
          still the original size. So how do you get a 35.8 in piece to fit in
          where a 37.7 in piece should be. Natures answer was to put gaps of air
          space there. Walla: checking!

          So how do we stop checking? We figure some way to dry the wood in such
          a way that the inside dries near to the same rate as the outside. One
          way is to control the moisture on the outside of the wood. That would
          mean that in kiln drying where the heated wood could dry very quickly we
          force the outside from getting too dry too fast by keeping the outside
          air moist and humid and bring the air moisture content down slow enough
          that the inside of the log can keep pace. Burying in sawdust, manure,
          or ashes does the same thing without the aid of heat to make the process
          go faster. Wrapping the wood in plastic also does the same thing but
          you have to let the plastic open on occasion so the moisture can get
          out. Otherwise all the moister condenses condenses on the inside of the
          plastic and stays in and on the surface of the wood and causes it to
          rot. The caustic and basic nature of ashes in the method mentioned
          above may actually prevent mold growth. For large beams 2 1/2 by 12 I
          have painted with diluted latex paint same as what I used on the ends
          full strength and left it a little streaky so there were spaces for
          moisture to get out. They say wood dries an inch per year so our log
          will be ready (maybe) in 12 years.

          So how can we do this faster? Well someone mentioned splitting the log
          lengthwise. That certainly helps. Half a log will only take 6 years.
          If you know what you want to make you can pre-cut before drying but you
          must leave extra stock on the board in order to make it flat, square and
          straight.

          Example of my practices:

          The fellows on my 8 foot tread-wheel (there are 24 per side IE 48 in
          all) are 2 3/4 wide and 3 1/4 thick. They were cut from honey locus
          growing in my fence rows. The grain all goes with the curve of the
          wheel. So how did I bend them? I didn't. I cut the straight spokes
          from the trunks and the curved fellows from branches that already had
          the right curvature by matching them up to a plywood pattern. Reaction
          wood? The limbs I cut them from were about 8 in in diameter. These
          were the steps I used to cut and dry them.

          1) Cut them to length leaving at least 6 inches extra long. The longer
          the better as it's always nice to be able to doge a knot that would end
          up in a tendon or some other such flaw. Paint the ends Immediately.

          2) Trim them all around (with chain saw) leaving about 2 inches extra
          stock all the way around. Wrap in clear plastic and store in barn.

          3) When moisture collects (which is every day at first) open the plastic
          and let it dry out which takes about 15 minutes to an hour. Then rap it
          back up.

          4) Eventually moisture stops collecting on the plastic even if left for
          a week or two. At this point I leave it unwrapped.

          5) Check the wood frequently. By winter I started to see some checking
          start to appear. The wood has been drying for maybe 6 months. I then
          built a box that a single curved log could sit flat in and torx screw it
          solidly in so it cant move around. I used a 1/4 in piece of plywood to
          build a base for my router about 2.5 ft long which I then reinforced
          with 2x2 so it wouldn't flex. The screws that fasten this base to the
          router are counter sunk so the entire bottom is flat. (except for the
          router bit) The top edges of the box that the rough cut log is in
          becomes the guides and the router is moved back and forth on them to
          "mill" the top surface of the log perfectly flat. You can then router
          box mill the other side or run through a planer as I did. This turns
          the rough chainsawed wood to a smooth piece which is still an inch
          oversize. It also removes the wood that has started to check. We now
          have a piece of wood that is closing in on the right shape at least in
          one direction, is slightly less dry on the outside than at the beginning
          of this step, and has the wettest part that is closest to the center now
          more closer to the outside edge and it is back to having few if any
          checks and is much drier as a hole than in step 2. I have to work for a
          living so this step took about a month.

          6) I stacked the wood crossed like for stickering and covered with
          plastic but it didn't show much moisture condensing off. We know
          however that the wood is no where to completely dry.

          7) I made a new pattern for the top and bottom curves leaving 3/8 in
          extra stock. I then cut the pieces out and stacked them to dry some
          more while I did roughly the same procedure to the spokes which took a
          couple more months.

          8) I cut the parts to length whiten 2 inches.

          9) Repeat all the above processes starting with the router box milling
          to re-flatten, bringing all the dimensions to the desired size and
          cutting the tongue and grove or mortices depending on how you want to
          view them, groves for the floor and so on. Immediately upon finishing
          the part I give it a coat of linseed oil.

          So what have I done? All this cutting and re-cutting helps the wood to
          dry by removing more and more wood. It also allows stresses to relieve
          themselves. (Ever cut a dry straight board in half only to have two
          warped pieces. Maybe it was reaction wood? (Would you believe that
          metal does this too?) But processing by making repeated cuts allows the
          wood to react while leaving stock to correct for it. In a way it is
          like adzing and hand planing, in effect whittling a board out of the
          lumber so that it ends up straight. In the mean time the spaces of time
          in between the steps allow for drying. Repeated slicing away material
          also removes small checks that have started and thus prevent them from
          propagating themselves, because if air can get inside the crack, it
          dries it out in that immediate area more and causes it to check even
          further. The linseed oil not only provides a period finish, but insures
          that any further drying happens very slowly and so prevents warping and
          checking. The result: a finished and stable part.


        • Don Bowen
          ... Some of the firewood I had trouble with was a wind blown Oak that had been down foe several years. It was too wet to burn but after splitting and let sit
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 27, 2013
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            On 2/27/2013 12:38 PM, D. Young wrote:
            > I do believe logs were often given a year or so to dry out a bit...but
            > that moisture remains for upwards of 10 years. IVe seen this in my own
            > logs.

            Some of the firewood I had trouble with was a wind blown Oak that had
            been down foe several years. It was too wet to burn but after splitting
            and let sit for a year it burns fine. Some of that wood is keeping me
            warm right now.

            --
            Don Bowen AD0BR
            "A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom."
            -Michel De Montaigne 1588
            http://www.braingarage.com/Dons/Travels/journal/Journal.html
          • D. Young
            One point I wanted to make about green vs dry wood. I dont believe that all furniture was built green as a sort of means to an end. I believe it was split up
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 27, 2013
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              One point I wanted to make about green vs dry wood.

              I dont believe that all furniture was built green as a sort of means to an end.

              I believe it was split up and cut GREEN because its a hell of a lot easier to work.

              But anyone who knows period woodworking can tell ya that you want a little dryness in the outer layers for planing and some carving.  

              It its too wet its too soft.   

              That SOME moisture remained in a split up plank .....still aids in shrinking.   

              I mostly make furniture from 1550-1750 and Ive got riven/split pieces that were split well over two years ago. 

              They are not planed to square yet, and are still in their triangle/pie shape profile.... yet still have a good deal of moisture inside.

              ....I rather like this arrangement.  


              And note that much of our knowledge of early woodworking comes from the 17th century where we have extant records in much more quantity.

              It may not be the full history of the medieval period where manpower, sawyers,  and sawmills dotted the landscape. 

              In the colonies manpower was VERY limited.   Few sawmills....   so these Jamestown and Pilgrim folks were splitting up a tree on site....

              They split the tree into smaller components they could easily transport with a SINGLE horse and sleigh...or by themselves.

              Just recently I moved a 12 foot x 30 inch tree trunk myself.....split into 7 or 8 long pieces and took about two hours.   

              (I have pics on my FB period woodworking page if youre interested.  Still VERY, VERY heavy....but doable.


               ....so what Im saying is that some of what we think we know about early period woodworking comes from the 17th century manpower shortage.

              Its got a lot of similarities but not necessarily completely true a century or two earlier and beyond when those sawyers and sawmills existed in great quantity in Europe.









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            • Sean Powell
              The rule my father taught me for firewood was: Fell one year, cut to 16 lengths and roll to the shed 2nd year, split 3rd year burn 4th year... but we had
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 27, 2013
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                The rule my father taught me for firewood was: Fell one year, cut to 16" lengths and roll to the shed 2nd year, split 3rd year burn 4th year... but we had enough of a backlog that wood went 5 years before burning and sometimes was butchered to 16" sections after felling if it was standing dead (as most were) rather then trees/branches cleared from a field live. There are ways to stack wood so that internal heat will cause air-motion through the stack and dry them faster but that requires a very large stack.

                If I was planing to air-dry my own wood I think I would speak with the local lumber mill about how they do it. I believe that they go from live-cut to full dimension 'flitches' of wood and let those air-dry for only 1 year. Then again planks <2" thick could air-dry that quickly I suppose.

                Sean


                On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 2:55 PM, Don Bowen <don.bowen@...> wrote:
                On 2/27/2013 12:38 PM, D. Young wrote:
                > I do believe logs were often given a year or so to dry out a bit...but
                > that moisture remains for upwards of 10 years. IVe seen this in my own
                > logs.

                Some of the firewood I had trouble with was a wind blown Oak that had
                been down foe several years.  It was too wet to burn but after splitting
                and let sit for a year it burns fine.  Some of that wood is keeping me
                warm right now.

                --
                Don Bowen           AD0BR

              • D. Young
                I burn green wood all the time. I just set on the walls of the fireplace and/or atop the wood stove. By the time I need to put em in, they are very dry.
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 27, 2013
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                  I burn green wood all the time.   I just set on the walls of the fireplace and/or atop the wood stove.   By the time I need to put em in, they are very dry.

                  And the escaping moisture in winter keeps the room from getting too dry.





                  Fine Armour and Historical Reproductions

                       Custom Commissions Welcome....!

                  www.partsandtechnical.com
                  (Well Formed Munitions Catalog Coming This Spring)
                   



                  To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                  From: sean14powell@...
                  Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:30:56 -0500
                  Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Drying wood

                   

                  The rule my father taught me for firewood was: Fell one year, cut to 16" lengths and roll to the shed 2nd year, split 3rd year burn 4th year... but we had enough of a backlog that wood went 5 years before burning and sometimes was butchered to 16" sections after felling if it was standing dead (as most were) rather then trees/branches cleared from a field live. There are ways to stack wood so that internal heat will cause air-motion through the stack and dry them faster but that requires a very large stack.

                  If I was planing to air-dry my own wood I think I would speak with the local lumber mill about how they do it. I believe that they go from live-cut to full dimension 'flitches' of wood and let those air-dry for only 1 year. Then again planks <2" thick could air-dry that quickly I suppose.

                  Sean


                  On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 2:55 PM, Don Bowen <don.bowen@...> wrote:
                  On 2/27/2013 12:38 PM, D. Young wrote:
                  > I do believe logs were often given a year or so to dry out a bit...but
                  > that moisture remains for upwards of 10 years. IVe seen this in my own
                  > logs.

                  Some of the firewood I had trouble with was a wind blown Oak that had
                  been down foe several years.  It was too wet to burn but after splitting
                  and let sit for a year it burns fine.  Some of that wood is keeping me
                  warm right now.

                  --
                  Don Bowen           AD0BR


                • Don Bowen
                  ... We have an airtight and green wood plugs the screen at the top of the chimney. I just had to get someone to climb up there this week to clean the screen.
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 27, 2013
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                    On 2/27/2013 3:51 PM, D. Young wrote:
                    > I burn green wood all the time. I just set on the walls of the
                    > fireplace and/or atop the wood stove. By the time I need to put em
                    > in, they are very dry.

                    We have an airtight and green wood plugs the screen at the top of the
                    chimney. I just had to get someone to climb up there this week to clean
                    the screen. I am recovering from leg surgery so could not do the
                    regular maintenance myself. We burn mostly Oak and Hickory.

                    --
                    Don Bowen AD0BR
                    "A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom."
                    -Michel De Montaigne 1588
                    http://www.braingarage.com/Dons/Travels/journal/Journal.html
                  • Jerry Harder
                    A good point. And quarter sawn oak is used for barrel staves which puts the legium or ligumen , a special component of oak, (which I know I have misspelled
                    Message 9 of 11 , Feb 27, 2013
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                      A good point.  And quarter sawn oak is used for barrel staves which puts the "legium or ligumen", a special component of oak, (which I know I have misspelled but is not "legume" (beans) which my spell checker suggests) in the right direction so the barrel doesn't leek.  What I don't know is why quartered wood has less problems, do you?

                      On 2/27/2013 12:38 PM, D. Young wrote:
                       

                      Most furniture of quality was made from quartered wood.   

                      I own an extensive collection of 15th - 18th century pieces *original* and most utilize quartered wood ....which is very stable.

                      I do believe logs were often given a year or so to dry out a bit...but that moisture remains for upwards of 10 years.   IVe seen this in my own logs.

                      Two things to bear in mind....

                      Peasants and lower class folks had very little furniture.    Log furniture basically.   Not unlike what we might call "rustic"  log stools and tables etc

                      But after circa 1200-1300 deforestation was so serious, it was deemed a priority as the Renaissance/Colonial period began

                      The explosion of furniture in the 17th century is due to North American and Baltic oaks being imported in huge quanities.


                      I guess my point here is that if you dont want splitting,. checking etc....ie, CRACKS.....you need to work with quartered wood.

                      However quartered wood is limited in size...if sawn you only get about 4 directions of the widest wood pie shapes in the form of a cross "+".....

                      Any other pie pieces (quartered) tends to be narrower....but it all depends on the oak tree, etc  ....

                       We dont often get out hands on 4-6 food wide trees....so our panels are not often as wide as some of those insane hutch chests with 20 inch wide panels.


                      -Drew


                    • Gary Link
                      All wood has Lignum(noun:woody tissue) Barrels are made with White Oak only not Red for two reasons, tannin(give flavor and color) and its rot resistance.
                      Message 10 of 11 , Feb 28, 2013
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                        All wood has Lignum(noun:woody tissue) 
                        Barrels are made with White Oak only not Red for two reasons, tannin(give flavor and color) and its rot resistance. Cherry is some time used because of the tannin as well. 

                        The reason that Quarter sawn lumber is preferable over flat is in the orientation of the growth rings in the wood. This is true in any species of wood. Moisture is absorbed by surface contact with the growth rings, on a Flat sawn board the difference between the surfaces create absorption disparity(some species up to 25%). This causes cupping and warping of the board, and some twisting(some from the wood fibers direction). In a true Quarter sawn the growth rings are oriented perpendicular to the surface so moisture is absorbed evenly causing the wood to expand and contract(normally less than 6%) along it width but remain flat.

                        Economics means that Flat sawn gives you more out of a log but it is less stable, true Quartered is much more stable but you get about 20% less out of the log. Now days what is called quartered sawn yields about 4 boards(the widest ones) that are true quartered and the rest are rift sawn, meaning the growth rings can move off the perpendicular by up to 30deg. some time leading to warping or twisting. 
                        In period it was common to leave the log till it started to naturally split, this relieve the stresses in the wood. You then start splitting wedge shapes from the outside into the center of the log to get pieces with the growth ring orientation you want. Now you plane down to get parallel surfaces the thickness you want, it's very time consuming and back braking. 

                        In Service
                        Hal

                          

                        To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                        From: geraldgoodwine@...
                        Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2013 01:02:02 -0600
                        Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Drying wood

                         
                        A good point.  And quarter sawn oak is used for barrel staves which puts the "legium or ligumen", a special component of oak, (which I know I have misspelled but is not "legume" (beans) which my spell checker suggests) in the right direction so the barrel doesn't leek.  What I don't know is why quartered wood has less problems, do you?

                        On 2/27/2013 12:38 PM, D. Young wrote:
                         

                        Most furniture of quality was made from quartered wood.   

                        I own an extensive collection of 15th - 18th century pieces *original* and most utilize quartered wood ....which is very stable.

                        I do believe logs were often given a year or so to dry out a bit...but that moisture remains for upwards of 10 years.   IVe seen this in my own logs.

                        Two things to bear in mind....

                        Peasants and lower class folks had very little furniture.    Log furniture basically.   Not unlike what we might call "rustic"  log stools and tables etc

                        But after circa 1200-1300 deforestation was so serious, it was deemed a priority as the Renaissance/Colonial period began

                        The explosion of furniture in the 17th century is due to North American and Baltic oaks being imported in huge quanities.


                        I guess my point here is that if you dont want splitting,. checking etc....ie, CRACKS.....you need to work with quartered wood.

                        However quartered wood is limited in size...if sawn you only get about 4 directions of the widest wood pie shapes in the form of a cross "+".....

                        Any other pie pieces (quartered) tends to be narrower....but it all depends on the oak tree, etc  ....

                         We dont often get out hands on 4-6 food wide trees....so our panels are not often as wide as some of those insane hutch chests with 20 inch wide panels.


                        -Drew



                      • K
                        rays.... quarter sawn parts are more stable because of the rays. these are structures that run from the pith out to the bark. White oak is used for barrels not
                        Message 11 of 11 , Mar 5, 2013
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                          rays.... quarter sawn parts are more stable because of the rays. these are structures that run from the pith out to the bark.

                          White oak is used for barrels not because of it's quarter sawn or ray character but because of it's tyloses and strength. it is stronger than other woods and the tyloses block the pores making it water proof. it is also favored for it's flavoring aspect.

                          the lack of tyloses is why you never see a red oak barrel.

                          i recommend reading or perusing "Understanding Wood" by Bruce Hoadley
                          have fun
                          K
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