I have recently been able to split quite a bit of wood out of green logs. The pieces I have been getting are quartered, generally triangular, or like a truncated triangle, with each face being about 6" - 8" wide. The pieces are between 3' and 4' long, mostly catalpa, with some elm, oak, and locust.
I am pretty familiar with drying slabs, but am not sure how to proceed with these chunks. How long should I let it air dry for? I'm in the Northwest. Should I resaw it into slabs, and how much cracking should I expect?
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor D:
What do you intend to do with them once they are dry? That can affect which drying method is best. I make archery bows (some), and split 6' sections of logs to about the same size as what you have. For drying, I start with a good foundation (just like you would use for regular lumber), then lay the pieces parallel in the first row. The second row then goes perpendicular to the first row, and so on, alternating from layer to layer. Don't fit the triangles together - they need plenty of air space. It looks kinda like this:
Also, I always seal the ends to prevent/minimize end checking.
Unfortunately I cannot give too much advice in drying split sections for straightness. Osage staves start out bent every direction and must be worked with heat and steam to get them right. But I would suggest that for straightening it may be desirable to remove the bark. I leave the bark on for bows, as it prevents the tiny invisible cracks that can form in the exposed face that are fatal to a bow, but this does cause that side to dry at a different rate than the rest of the wood. Also the sapwood (at least on Osage) tends to shrink a lot as it dries, causing the whole stave to bend toward the bark side as stated earlier (at least that's what I think is happening). Now this, as I said, is mostly guess. I have never tried to dry a stave straight before, and my experience is limited to a few species.
If you leave it in chunk form, it will take longer to dry. Resawing into slabs may prove your best option.
I'll warn you, though, when working Osage - it is its own boss, and it doesn't work like other wood does. I believe that the most effective Osage bows do not use quite the same design as a standard hickory bow.
I am considering trying some hickory sometime, and also have some English elm I am considering working into an old style English longbow.