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mesquite drying

Discussion in 'Milling & Saw Mills' started by bandersontx, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. bandersontx

    bandersontx New Member

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    alright y'all, I'm new here because I need advice.
    I cut down some mesquite trees in the summer of '08. Sawed em up early Jan.'11. I' got them stacked in a shed spaced out. I've got on of those cannon shaped heaters that runs on diesel being brought in about 8ft away using stove pipe. I believe it will get as hot as i want it in there. Of course I dont want a fire. I cut a 8" hole at the opposite corner to vent. I'm keeping it below 150F. and above 120F. is there anything else I need?
    How long will this take?
    My moisture meter max is 50% and every time I cut into a select piece, it maxs.
    How do professional kilns work?
    I need to have it dry by March11th so I can have furniture finished by the 14th.
    Anything? Anybody?
     
  2. Walnut33

    Walnut33 ArboristSite Member

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    What I have found is that airflow is the most important. You may need more airflow depending on how big your shed is. My solar kiln will do 4/4 Ash in about a month and a half, after I air dry it down to about 30% and it only reaches about 120* in the summer. What are you tring to get it down to? I usually only go down to about 12% just because it looks and works nicer than 7% or 8%. But with 12% you are more prone to warping after finishing. Professional kilns typically are dehumidifaction and I have run one in my kiln too if I want to get a batch out quick. But again, if you dont have enough air flow, you might as well just be boiling it because the moisture just goes right back into the wood.
     
  3. bandersontx

    bandersontx New Member

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    The shed is 6x12 5ft high and insulated
    1. air flow. I had a fan in there and it quit working. So i put another one in there and it quit shortly after as well. Pretty sure they overheated.
    2. dehumidifier. I had one in there as well. But it overheated too. That happened today actually. Its one from WalMart.com. Is it just entirely too hot in there if that happers?
    You said that you air dry it to 30%. How long does that take? do you cut into the wood to measure the moisture? thats what I've been doing because the outside is all dry. 5% or usually 0%
     
  4. Daninvan

    Daninvan ArboristSite Operative

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    I have no experience with mesquite, so take this with a grain of salt.

    I am surprised that the moisture content is still so high on them after beign cut several years ago. Most meters come with some kind of species correction table, are you using that?

    I'm also surprised that after 2 or 3 years on the ground the logs were not all cracked.

    I would echo what walnut33 said, airflow is key. I'd stack them somewhere where the wind can get to them, either that or put a dehumidifier in the shed.

    My guess would be that if it is not dried very gently mesquite will crack and warp like crazy. Probably still do that even if it is dried properly!

    Dan
     
  5. betterbuilt

    betterbuilt Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I would think your heater is putting some moisture into the air. I know propane does.
    You should check some of the wood in your building to see what it's moisture is.

    How thick is the stuff your trying to dry?
     
  6. bandersontx

    bandersontx New Member

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    The logs were cracked after 2 1/2 yrs on the ground. do logs dry in that amount of time? does the type of wood really make that much difference. of course cedar compared to cherry or bowdark. but is mesquite that different from any other hardwood other than having a hard time getting a log w/out physical blemish?

    Do yall think deisel burning would put moisture into the air?
    are there specific fans to use that can take heat?
     
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  7. betterbuilt

    betterbuilt Addicted to ArboristSite

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    It takes a year per inch thick. A log in the weather is not gonna dry completely.

    It take a month or two to get lumber down to 30%, depending on the time of year.

    My best guess on the the diesel heater is. Look at your car exhaust when you first start it, the exhaust drips water until it comes up to temperature. I would bet it's putting moisture in the air.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  8. qbilder

    qbilder AboristSite Guru

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    Sounds like a moisture meter issue to me. I wouldn't think mesquite would have 50% moisture in a living tree, let alone logs that were harvested 2 years ago. As far as your kiln goes, 120-150 is VERY hot. Are you letting the lumber cool to room temp before testing with the meter? Those temps are usually temporary in kilns to kill bugs. Otherwise, 90-105 is more common & less stressful on the wood. The idea is to evaporate the moisture from the lumber, and the airflow circulates the "wet" air around in the chamber while the dehumidifier sucks the moisture out of the circulating air. The idea is to keep a controlled & non stagnant environment to steadily remove moisture. It's a science & I don't understand it to lengths, but the nuts & bolts are pretty basic.
     
  9. Walnut33

    Walnut33 ArboristSite Member

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    These guys all nailed it. Why do you have to cut into your boards? I am assuming you have a pin meter? Where are you taking your readings at on the board? I have a pinless meter so I dont have to cut into any of my boards. You have to have a nice flat surface to use these so I keep a handplane in my kiln as well. And one more thing to mention. ---- The slower you dry wood the better. I understand that sometimes you are so excited to make something with it, but when you kiln wood quick you lose alot of the beauty. I absolutly refuse to kiln my walnut slabs, and It shows whether the lumber becomes a bowl or a table.
     

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