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RE: [MedievalSawdust] Drying wood

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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