Drying Hickory and Ash without Sticker Stain

Timing and handling both play a role. February 26, 2005

When will it be safe to begin drying hickory and ash? I have avoided first air-drying and then kiln-drying the lumber during the summer. Apparently, the threat of sticker stain and shadow in the sapwood is too great during the hot, humid months. The lumber will be mostly one common and better. I'm in Kentucky, where the days and nights are still warm and the humidity is high.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Check the archives for some good info about sticker stain. Many people dry ash and hickory all year round. The article mentions using dry stickers, keeping them dry, etc.

From contributor C:
I dry ash and hickory all summer long with no sticker stain, but I use dry stickers, including some walnut stickers, with no staining.

From contributor A:
Dry stickers for sure, but I have been leaning the boards up against the wall for a few days to let the surface water dry off. They do not seem to warp or bend any more than normal, but do have a lot less - or no - sticker stain.

From contributor J:
Do you recommend standing all types of lumber on end to surface dry, or just ash and hickory? I'm about to cut up some European copper beech.

From contributor R:
I do it like contributor A describes on all lumber when air drying. The boards warp some, but they dry faster and without mold growing on them.

From contributor A:
I just do my light woods that I want no stain on. I guess you can do any wood. I have done clear pine, soft maple and persimmon this way with no stain. I would guess that grooved stickers would cut down on this as well. To be fair, you must realize that these are runs of 500 bdft or less most of the time. The other 1500 bdft was dead stacked or dropped on stickers that day.