Air-Drying Thick Maple

      Four-inch-thick maple slabs are likely to degrade a lot during air-drying. Here are a few tips for better results. July 13, 2006

Can 16/4 maple be air dried? I have a 28 inch diameter log I want to quarter saw for 4x9 gun stock blanks. I know it will take a long time, if it is even possible. I dry my lumber in an old corn crib. It has a V mesh bottom and perforated sheet metal sides. It never gets sun or rain in it but wind blows through the lumber easily. It is designed for drying ear corn. Log ends are sealed. I am thinking that I should air dry two years and then plane the blanks to 3.5 inches by 9 and bring them in the shop for another 2 years. Stock makers do not like kiln dried stuff I am told. Any thoughts?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
You could air dry in very cold weather but if it gets over 60F degrees, you can plan on a lot of degrade. The rule of thumb is that any hard Maple 6/4 and thicker goes into a kiln or pre-dryer with tightly controlled conditions immediately upon sawing.

From the original questioner:
Why would you get degrade? What do you mean by degrade? Discolored or something else? If discolored, will that be limited to maybe the half inch of surface layer or would it go all the way through a 4 inch slab?

From contributor A:
Mostly surface and end checks but color can be an issue too. The end checks can be helped by end coating but surface checks are a big problem with heavy Maple squares.

From Gene Wengert, technical advisor Sawing and Drying Forum:
You might be able to dry this best by putting it into a freezer for a few years and maybe add some moth balls to control fungal discoloration. It is very hard to dry conventionally due to degrade - checks, splits and discoloration going throughout the piece.

From contributor A:
To Gene Wengert: We have a customer who supplies figured hard Maple for high end pool cues and a top line of automobiles. He has a freezer container and puts all logs in that until he is ready to saw. I will mention the moth balls to him and see if he has done that.

From the original questioner:
I don't have these problems of checking and discoloration with 4/4 or 8/4 maple I have milled in the past. Is my problem here because these are going to be so thick?

From Gene Wengert, technical advisor Sawing and Drying Forum:
Yes, exactly.

From the original questioner:

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