How to Kiln Dry Wood
You need to dry wood to perfection to improve its strength and to prevent mold attacks due to trapped moisture inside the wood grain. And when it comes to drying or seasoning wood, there are two ways to do it.
You can use the air-drying technique that lets wood pieces dry with the aid of sunshine and air. Wood is stacked and left to the elements and this can take months to completely dry. But for faster wood drying, most woodworkers rely on kilns.
Kilns are similar to conventional ovens. These dry wood using hot air. Most kilns are wood-fired and are so effective that it can season wood to perfection in just a few weeks.
Kiln drying basics
You may either have a kiln at home or you can have your wood dried from a local sawmill with a kiln. But if you plan to start drying more wood to be used as construction material or for firewood soon then it would be a good idea to construct your own kiln at your property.
Things you will need
- Wood to be dried
- Moisture meter
1) Use a moisture meter to find out the moisture content of your wood
Read More: How To's & Woodworking Techniques [List 1]
This will help establish a baseline value. A moisture meter is the most accurate test for determining a wood’s moisture content. It is a small handheld tool with two metal probes that are applied to wood. These probes read the moisture content of the surface as well as the internal part of the wood. The reading is expressed as the percentage of moisture according to the wood’s volume or weight.
Read More: How To's, Techniques and Tips [List 1]
- How To Stop Sap Coming Out Of Wood
- How To Seal Wood Without Changing Color
- How to Make Cardboard Hard Like Wood
- How To Round Wood Edges Without Router
- How to Bend Wood Without Steam
- How to Transition Between Two Different Wood Floors
- How To Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier
- How To Stencil On Wood Without Bleeding
- How to Flatten a Workbench
- How To Make a Wood Table Top Smooth
- How To Age Wood With Baking Soda
- How to Whitewash Dark Wood Furniture
- How To Make Slime With Wood Glue
- How to Burn Wood with Electricity
- How To Apply Water Based Polyurethane To Wood Floors
Use the moisture meter according to the manufacturer’s directions. The normal moisture content for wood used in woodworking projects is 6 or 7 percent. If you get a higher reading, it means that the wood needs to be dried and it is not ready to be used.
2) Use stickers to dry the wood
“Stickers” are simply 1″ x 2″ (25 x 50 mm) pieces of lumber that are used to provide airflow between the boards you are drying. Lay each sticker about 16 inches (40 cm) apart and line them up parallel to each other. You’ll need enough stickers to support the entire length of the boards you are drying.
Stack the first layer of boards.
Carefully set the first layer of wooden boards on top of the stickers, running them perpendicular to the stickers. Leave an inch or so of space between each board to allow for increased airflow.
Read More: How To's & Woodworking Techniques [List 2]
3) Preparing the kiln
MUST SEE: Make 16,000 Projects With Step By Step Plans
Ted's Woodworking Plans contains complete instructions from start to finish, leaving absolutely no guesswork. Here is what you get:
- Step-By-Step Instructions
- Cutting & Materials List
- Detailed Schematics
- Views From All Angles
- Suitable For Beginners & Professionals
Read More: How To's, Techniques and Tips [List 2]
- How to Remove Nails From Wood
- How to Resharpen a Japanese Ryoba’s Rip Teeth
- How to Sharpen Woodworking Tools
- How to Whitewash Pine Wood
- How To Modge Podge Pictures To Wood
- How To Apply Shellac To Wood
- How To Take Apart A Wood Pallet
- How To Install A Wood Accent Wall
- How to Do String Art on Wood
- How to Remove a Stripped Screw from Wood
- How To Upgrade Wood Frame
- How to Get Nails Out of Wood
- How to Refinish a Wood Table
- How To Make Vinyl Letters Stick To Wood
- How To Measure A Cord Of Wood
Allow the kiln to reach the ideal maximum temperature to dry wood. Close the kiln door to keep the temperature inside the chamber. Use a thermometer to find out the temperature inside the chamber.
Once the kiln has reached the ideal temperature, place the wood one by one inside the kiln. If you have metal grates inside the kiln then you can arrange wood in such a way that no part of each wood touches the other pieces. This will greatly improve drying and will ensure that all the surfaces of the wood pieces are exposed to the hot air.
Take care that your kiln does not run out of fuel so that it can maintain the temperature inside the chamber. Most kilns are wood-fired so be ready with a large stack of wood nearby just in case you need to refuel.
4) Test the moisture level of your wood
Read More: How To's, Techniques and Tips [List 3]
- How To Start A Fire With Wet Wood
- How To Stencil On Wood
- How to Finish Wood With Polyurethane
- How to Refinish Wood Dresser
- How To Age Wood Grey
- How To Apply Gold Leaf To Wood
- How To Apply Polyurethane To Wood
- How To Bend Wood With Water
- How to Burn Designs Into Wood
- How to Carve a Face In Wood
- How to Carve Wood By Hand
- How To Replace Wood Siding
- How To Split Wood With A Wedge
- How To Transfer Pictures To Wood
- How To Treat Pallet Wood For Indoor Use
Read More: How To's & Woodworking Techniques [List 3]
- How To Sand Wood
- How To Season Wood
- How To Spray Paint Wood
- How To Stack Wood
- How To Stain And Seal Wood
- How To Stain Wood
- How to Carve Wood
- How to Hand Plane Wood
- How to Paint Wood
- How to Cure Wood
- How to Petrify Wood
- How to Pickle Wood
- How to Preserve Wood
- How To Screw Into Wood
- How To Split Wood
- How to Find Wood Studs
Take two pieces of wood from the kiln and test it. If the results show high moisture levels, return the pieces inside the kiln and dry some more.
5) Post kiln care
Once the wood is ready, remove it from the kiln and stack these in a neat pile. Use stickers (small pieces of wood) when you stack your newly dried wood. Place a row of stickers on top of the boards, lining these directly with the previous set of stickers.
Continue alternating stickers and boards until you’ve stacked every piece of wood. You may store the wood inside your garage or tool shed but if you must let these remain outdoors, cover the drying wood with a tarp or other overhanging fabric.
Kiln drying will be able to dry wood fast and in a more efficient manner. It can reduce drying times and can make wood ready for use in just weeks compared to months when you air dry. It would also be good to have a moisture meter whether you are air drying or kiln drying wood.