Drying Siberian Elm Slabs

      Prone to warpage and bug damage, Siberian Elm is tricky wood to dry. March 31, 2008

I was wondering if anyone has a schedule for drying 3" Siberian elm slabs. I really don't want to screw up this beautiful wood. The slabs are 3" x 48" x 9'.

Click here for higher quality, full size image

Click here for higher quality, full size image

Forum Responses
From contributor W:
I haven't had much luck drying Siberian elm. It's a beautiful wood but very prone to warp. Dry it real slow and use lots of weight, at least a couple tons on the stack. And get it kiln-dried ASAP. The bugs love it. I think a schedule for walnut works, but be very careful and do not rush it.

The first bunch I did was sawn 5/4 and air dried. The flinches were about 20" wide and they cupped up to an inch and the whole works was so buggy we ended up pushing in the pit and burning. The second bunch was a lot better, lots of weight and dry slow.

From contributor R:
Isn't Siberian elm what we tend to call Chinese elm here in the middle of the country? The ones that grow wild? I've always heard that it's soft and too fibrous to work with.

From contributor W:
I know there is a Chinese elm. The stuff we have is the Siberian. It also grows wild. We have it everywhere, mostly where we don't want it. I have tried several times to use it but have found that it likes to move around. It does make a fairly good horse fence if nailed up green.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
It does like to warp, as stated. Therefore, air drying with good air flow is the best drying, if you can keep the rain (and snow) off the lumber. I agree that heavy weights are essential.

From contributor J:
Siberian elm is the weed tree that throws seeds in the spring. Chinese elm seeds in the fall. Here in WY the Siberian were used for shelterbelts and you could count on a bushel of seeds every spring, but no tree worth anything except for firewood.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor D:
Siberian Elm can be good wood! Itís about how good the tree was before milling - only mill large straight logs. Avoid natural bends and curves since they will create even more movement areas. I milled a SE that was 5' in diameter in quarter sawn fashion with very little waste and then air dried it for one year and also milled rift cut 3" thick rounds which also cracked very little after drying. Other Elms of normal size are probably firewood. Don't bother unless it is old growth of at least 80 plus years/rings.

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: Panel 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 © 1996-2021 - 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