Air-Drying Hard Maple

Handle maple carefully and keep an eye on it, if you don't want sticker stain or lumber degrade. October 12, 2007

I just got six very good hard maple logs dumped at my mill tonight and I need some help to prevent sticker stain. I have read the literature about it and have a few questions.

1. Can I use dry red oak sticks to stack hard maple or not?
2. Can I let it air dry for about two weeks or should I switch kiln loads for it?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor D:
Look in the Knowledge Base for "20 steps to drying hard white maple" and also "Causes and cures for sticker stain." The answer for question #2 is in these articles. Step #6 in "20 steps" (fluted stickers) made a big difference in reducing the amount of stain I ended up with. I also read somewhere here at WOODWEB to re-stick the lumber about a week after you originally stick it, placing the sticks in a different place on the boards. I did this on a load of soft maple waiting to go in the kiln so I don't know how well this helps yet, but it sounds logical. For question #1, look at "Stickers for stacking" in the Knowledge Base. The Knowledge Base has enormous amounts of info in it. I have spent hours reading and learning from it.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Thanks, contributor D, for your comments, which are really helpful.

In case the questioner cannot get to the archives promptly, the short answers are #1 = yes; #2 = switch. Each of these two effects does contribute to staining and stain formation, but it is more complex. For example, if the lumber gets rained on in air drying, you can really have a problem, as the reference that contributor D quoted indicates. Also, stay under 110 F for the best color when the lumber is above 30% MC average.

From contributor K:
I have a solar kiln and dry almost exclusively figured maple. You have to be very careful with maple as it easily blue stains, especially in hot humid weather. When I have more maple than my little solar kiln can handle, I sticker the maple with 1" thick stickers in my garage. I then have a large fan blow through the lumber pile 24/7. This is very important, as airflow prevents the mold/fungus from developing. I also restack and move the stickers every five days. This results in bright white maple out of my solar kiln when it finally gets in there. I do not have to run the fan in the winter because the fungus/mold does mot grow when it is below 32 degrees, but be diligent. If temps go up into the 40-50's, get that fan running. Your maple can be ruined in a couple days! I know this from a very bad experience I had.