If you’re wondering how to dry wood for woodworking, most likely you have your own lumber source and you’re putting it to good use. That’s great! If you don’t have your own supply, then your best bet is to just buy pre-kiln-dried wood — then you don’t have to worry about drying the wood yourself. Otherwise, keep reading to learn how to dry your own wood so it’s ready to be put to use!
How Dry Should Wood Be for Woodworking?
Fresh wood, commonly referred to as “green wood,” has a high moisture content. Wood will slowly dry out; however, working with green wood is a bad idea as it will warp or crack. You can purchase a moisture meter to measure the moisture content of your wood. The recommended maximum moisture content of wood is 7%. Anything higher than that will need to be dried.
How To Dry Wood
What You Need:
- Stickers (dry pieces of wood)
- Cinder blocks or bricks
- If you are using an outdoor space, make sure you have plenty of room and some protection from rain. Clear the space to get it ready for your stack.
- Lay down a row of stickers, leaving even spaces between each piece. Aim for about 12 to 16 inches of space. This will form the base of your stack, so make it big enough to support all the wood you plan to dry.
- Stack your first row of wood perpendicular to the stickers. Leave space between each piece of wood to allow proper airflow. Keep this in mind throughout the entire process — you want maximum airflow as this will speed up the process. Stacking your wood correctly is the best way to ensure no warping or cracking in the future.
- Add another layer of stickers perpendicular to the wood row. Follow the same spacing as the first row of stickers for proper airflow.
- Keep alternating rows with stickers, wood, stickers, wood, etc., until all your wood is stacked. Once you’ve done your final row of wood, top of the pile with a row of stickers.
- Take a piece of plywood big enough to cover your stack and place it on top of the stickers.
- Weigh down the stack by placing cinder blocks or bricks on top of the plywood. This will help prevent warping.
- And now we wait…
How fast the wood dries will depend on the weather conditions where your stack is placed. Hot, dry air will obviously dry the wood faster than humid, wet conditions. To dry wood faster, find an indoor space to build your stack. If you have to use the outdoors, choose a sunny spot. Rain is your enemy, so cover the stack with a waterproof covering to protect your wood.