Cutting Stickers

Basic info on making stickers for your drying pile. November 28, 2014

What is the best wood to use for stickers, to prevent sticker stain? I hear poplar works very well.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Contributor Y:
Poplar should work well for most species. Whatever you use, they should be dry, about 1" square (I use 1/18", since that is the most common thickness I cut). Species like maple with light colored wood are less forgiving. I space stickers about 20" apart to avoid sagging.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
If dry, the species is not a big factor. However, many people use a profile sticker. One example is Breeze-Dri sticker. The most common spacing is 24", so you are good.

From Contributor M:
From what I've read, hardwood is recommended. The temptation is to cut them from the milling scraps. I did this with oak and it seemed to work fine. I gather that if the stickers are not dry it can cause staining depending on the species. On the other hand a stick that small will dry very quickly, especially on the surface. The problems I had were with drying oak boards in general, not with the stickers, but that's another story. One way to dry them without having a kiln might be to put them in a warm furnace room over the winter.

The end goal though is to have straight lumber. Sticker spacing is a function of the weight load and how critical the straightness is. Line up the stickers vertically so that there is continuous vertical support. Make the bed as flat as possible. The temptation is to cut them square. I suppose that once a table-saw rip fence is setup this is easy enough to do. The end goal though is to have straight lumber. So, bear in mind that unless you can cut them exactly square, they will be rectangular. If they are rectangular, it may be better to make them obviously rectangular so that there is no confusion when building the pile - 3/4" seems to be a common size and 1" seems fine too. One inch will be more rigid, and offer better air flow, but a given pile will be bigger. When using a fan for drying, I'm not sure on the difference in electricity requirements. A larger space reduces air resistance, which makes it easier to get higher air velocity (common target of 400 ft/min, or 2 m/s), but this also represents greater surface area, so more air flow is needed. The difference in fan energy I'm guessing is negligible.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
3/4 x 1-1/4" is the most common. Often, 3/4" square is too weak.

From Contributor D:
Along this same topic - how about composite decking as stickers? This isn't in kiln but used for air drying. It seems similar to commercial stickers although missing deep ridges.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
It would not be stable with heat and will bend under load.