Boiling Wood

      Boiling wood before drying has various effects on the outcome. May 23, 2011

Does anyone have experience boiling wood before drying? I have heard it releases the internal tensions in burl and crotch woods so they not only dry better (less defect), but dry faster. I have heard this is the preferred process for madrone in the west.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Boiling wood, which would also include steaming wood, has been researched. In fact, when using a preservative for treating, sometimes the wood is boiled in the preservative. The process is actually covered by a patent issued to Danny Elder a few years ago. When boiling wood or heating it to 212 F in a saturated atmosphere, the amount of moisture in the cell walls is reduced to about 22% MC (instead of 30% MC), so some shrinkage does occur. When the wood is brought out into the open after steaming, it immediately has a large amount of flash off of moisture. The process also seems to open up the wood so subsequently it dries faster.

From contributor B:
I have an original volume of Audels Carpenters and Builders Guide, 1923. Lots of their advice is folksy and not necessarily laboratory tested. They say, "Boiling timber in water has much the same effect as steaming but is costly and probably weakening in its effect." (Vol. I, page 11.) It also talks about seasoning by immersion in water, salt or salt water, smoking, soaking for two weeks then air drying, boiling in oil (for wooden teeth for mortise gears), etc. Seems like they tried a little bit of everything back then.

From contributor E:
Wood turners have been doing this for a long time. They will rough out a blank bowl/plate/etc, boil it, let it dry, finish turning it. It helps prevent cracking, etc.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Air Drying Lumber

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Kiln Operation

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article