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AIR DRYING SLABS AND CONFUSED

Discussion in 'Milling & Saw Mills' started by BJD85, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. BJD85

    BJD85 ArboristSite Operative

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    So im completly new to milling. This is my first mill & stack attempt. I have posted previously about drying in garage questions and have been convinced to move the operation outside by you helpful Sawyers. The picture below is the final resting place. I have pine and red oak stacked. So far I have made every mistake and had every problem happen possible. I HOPE. (Some of you may remember from previous posts) ive had bugs... (Treated with bora care) ive had mold.... Treated bith borax...leveled the stacks several different times. Sealed the ends with SPAR urathane several coats. And now here I am. So my confusion comes from the end checking happening. I tested the woods M.C and it was 35% with no checks. Ok I stacked it as best as possible leveled and strapped it down. There is some variation in length but it was what I needed to do because I have no other place for shady spot or 4x4 to start a new stack. 3 weeks go by amd I,check the wood and I have the exact same moisture content but now,have end checking? Im not mad ive accepted early on its going to happen even to the pros but if the wood hasent dried out any how is it splitting? Lol. Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. Also how do you guys stack cookies? Amd I did all of this with the little money I have allotted for the experiment. I have many oaks and pines so next time I will use better sealer and treat for bugs immediately.
     
  2. Franny K

    Franny K xyz

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    I have read that putting a sticker essentially at the end of a board will limit the drying from the top and bottom and lessen the overall shrinking leading to less cracking as opposed to the sticker not on the end. I at times practice this. If you stab the moisture meter in the middle it might not represent what is going on at the ends. There is stress from curing (differential shrinking before "done") and there is stress that is in the board. If your cracking is due to stresses in the board the stacking procedures will likely make little difference.
     
  3. ChoppyChoppy

    ChoppyChoppy Addicted to ArboristSite

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    That is why lumber is milled with "trim". Like if you plan on getting an 8ft 2x6, we cut the log to 8ft 6 or even closer to 9ft.

    Slabs we just throw in a rack, band up and sell for firewood.
     
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  4. BJD85

    BJD85 ArboristSite Operative

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    The "slabs" im stacking will be used for live edge tables. One for myself and each of my family members. So the clacks and splits will ultimetly add character and I will create a way in the finish to make it look appealing. But I did keep them al long as possible for the possibility that I may wind up cutting the ends off or something.
     
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  5. BJD85

    BJD85 ArboristSite Operative

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    It must be stress in the board because I took the M.C at the ends of the slab. Is this stress an unavoidable accourance? Or is this the part that im cluless to... Reading the pith and cutting accordingly... Haha
     
  6. csmillingnoob

    csmillingnoob ArboristSite Member

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    Voodoo and chickens will tell you why they're checking.
     
  7. cedarhollow

    cedarhollow ArboristSite Guru

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    you should be putting stickers between each layer in your stack every few feet, tobacco sticks are about perfect. keep bottom layer several inches/half a foot off the ground
    the need to have good ventilation and be in a dry place, a cheap fan will work.
    boric acid powder dissolved and mixed with peroxide or viniger will put an end to mold perminent, mix in bucket and mop it on
    i'm just a hobbiest not an expert
    for quality woodworking your gonna have to run them through a joiner and planer so when slabbing plan accordingly for trim
     
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  8. Bmac

    Bmac ArboristSite Member

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    End grain dries faster, and even faster if not sealed well. I seal my ends with anchorseal and I still get some splits, but I'm not sure if spar is very effective at sealing the ends.

    What happens is the endgrain dries faster than the long grain and shrinks faster, the stress of this uneven drying creates the splits. Anchorseal minimizes this better than most other end sealers, but you can still gets splits with anchorseal. Putting the stickers at the ends does help also, but nothing will ever eliminate all splits. The wood drying process will always result in some waste and defects, one needs to accept it and plan for it. The boards NEVER look as perfect after drying as they do when they are milled.

    I've read and studied this process for years and dried wood just as long, I've developed realistic expectations. Take time to study drying and gain experience and you won't be confused.
     
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  9. csmillingnoob

    csmillingnoob ArboristSite Member

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    You need a drying plan before you fire up your saw.

    1. Anchor seal the ends of the log as soon as you cut it.

    2. Look for cracks in the heart and rotate the log so your cracks are horizontal/level.

    3. Build a level drying frame beside the log and sticker/stack each s lab as you go. Or, haul off each night to sticker stack at your home or other drying area. Sticker 3/4" in hot weather to begin so you don't dry too fast. Weight the top asap or ratchet strap.

    4. Cover the sticker stack from day one. A full day of sunlight will start cupping the exposed side fast. Face the side of the stack to the prevailing win direction.

    5. If one slab starts to bow, twist or cup, pull it out of the stack. So it doesn't spread to the rest of the stack. Cupping can be cured by exposing the convex side to sunlight.

    6. Stack the pith on top. It's gonna cause problems to boards that are stacked on top of it. Consider ripping it in half or thirds if it looks like it will split on its own. Consider milling it 3-1/2 inches thick and making posts later.

    7 De-bark as soon as possible.

    8 chicken bones '& voodoo

    You will still "lose" a few but there are uses for them.
     
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  10. Bmac

    Bmac ArboristSite Member

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    Super good points. Seal immediately, and I actually do a second coat after the first dries.

    Watch the pith, will cause problems.

    Debarking is excellent advice also.

    Keep stack covered and out of direct sunlight, checking and cupping will occur. One thing that helps is to use wind screen material around your stacks, or at least on the southern facing sides of the stacks. Wind screen material can be the stuff you see on outfield fences at HS baseball fields. It lets the air flow continue but shades the stack.

    And in the end you need some luck as wisely stated above!
     
  11. buttercup

    buttercup Major General Fool

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    I have a big chunky bible about different wood; it covers all from the description about the live tree, how it looks like, where it grows, what conditions it prefer, what it have historically been used for, and how it's best threatened.
    One thing that repeats about most kinds of wood is that the max recommended thickness of the boards should be like 2", obviously because most wood shrinks a lot when drying and the thicker the boards the more likely it splits.
     
  12. csmillingnoob

    csmillingnoob ArboristSite Member

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    Boards? Yes.

    But posts and beams can certainly be thicker and are. That's what I almost always plan to do with the pith
     
  13. buttercup

    buttercup Major General Fool

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    Thicker than that and I laminate it, because it becomes a better, stronger and straighter material.
     
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  14. bayard

    bayard Addicted to ArboristSite

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    i milled some hickory 3 years ago.i stacked it out side , most were 2 inch and some were 3 inch. left it covered for 2 years. i sanded one of them last winter and did 8 coats of poly. then moved it up stairs, for 7 months no cracking. most wood seems to not get lower than 14% moisture outside.
     
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  15. rarefish383

    rarefish383 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Boy, go away for a few days and you miss a lot. One thing that helps around here is to know the proper meaning of words. We have several professional Miller's on the forum, and they tend to use words and terms correctly, not in the slang form. A slab is the outer most piece, mostly bark, with some wood. I'll defer to Choppy, but I think what most of us lay people call a "Slab", is a live edge board? I use the slang term because most people look at you crosseyed when you say live edge. But, if you plan on maybe selling what you mill, most quality wood workers know what the terms and usage mean, so it doesn't hurt to look up milling terms. Not a lecture, I started at the bottom too, only it was my Dad that corrected me, every day.
     
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  16. BJD85

    BJD85 ArboristSite Operative

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    I appreciate it. Live edge board it is!
     
  17. BJD85

    BJD85 ArboristSite Operative

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    This is my very first rodeo so just making as many mistakes as possible. Thats how I learn
     
  18. csmillingnoob

    csmillingnoob ArboristSite Member

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    Yeah, the EMC in my region is usually over 13% so 14% is about as dry as you can get the wood air drying

    January--------------------------------------------------------December
    13.5 12.9 12.5 12.2 12.2 12.4 13.3 13.3 13.3 12.9 13.1 13.6
    --------------------
    April/May----------------------------------------
     
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  19. BJD85

    BJD85 ArboristSite Operative

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    Geez I cant win! Lol. I take all the advice as I go along and do whst I'm told and still have problems. I treated my pine with borax and still I just found this little bugger. Looks to be pine beetle larva. I treated again this time with boracare. I hope thats enough. I guess this is just the nature of the game and I can only do what I can and hope for the best. Moving fareward should i uave used boric acid to start or did I receive bad advice in treating with borax to prevent bugs?
     
  20. BJD85

    BJD85 ArboristSite Operative

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    This is it forgot to add[​IMG]
     

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