Drying Walnut Boards

      Tips on handling, and how to dimension for best value. February 26, 2005

Question
I will be sawing some walnut logs in soon.
1. When do I need to coat the ends of the logs and do I need to also coat the board ends?
2. What thickness do most people want it in?
3. How long does it have to air dry before I put it in the kiln?
4. I plan on kiln drying it at a hickory handle plant here in town. Is it okay to mix hickory and walnut in the same batch?
5. How much does the average walnut board sell for per bf?
6. Do I need to use a special wood for the stickers?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
1. When do I need to coat the ends of the logs and do I need to also coat the board ends?
ASAP and not any later than that.

2. What thickness do most people want it in?
Varies... 8/4 is more valuable than 4/4. 16/4 is also valuable if clear.

3. How long does it have to air dry before I put it in the kiln?
Hard to say; the longer you air dry, the more defect it can possibly have. Shorter is often better.

4. I plan on kiln drying it at a hickory handle plant here in town. Is it okay to mix hickory and walnut in the same batch?
Will the thickness and MC be the same? If so, then it is okay.

5. How much does the average walnut board sell for per bf? What grade? What thickness?
Varies from area to area and depends if the market in your area needs walnut. Small users pay more.

6. Do I need to use a special wood for the stickers? It must be dry and uniform in thickness, etc., but no special species is required.

It sounds to me like to you need to do some reading (sawing, handling, drying and storage), some homework, and some exploration of potential markets. There are questions you have not asked and key items that will need attention. Oftentimes the local natural resource people can help.



From contributor M:
We have rough walnut lumber (1" thickness) sawed and stored in an old house (does not leak) for abut 15 or 20 years. If bugs have not damaged it, it definitely is dry and ready to plane and make furniture, right? Could it be too old to use?


From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Is this house unheated and unoccupied? If so, you will probably average about 11% EMC... maybe 10% EMC. There is no way that the wood can get under 11% MC, as the house is not as dry as a house with heating. So, the answer is "It is not ready." You should get a moisture meter ($200) to check the MC for certain. You need to move the wood to a dry, hot location to finish the drying.

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

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Air Drying Lumber

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Sawmilling


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