Drying Walnut and Cherry in the Garage

A garage or attic is an okay place to air-dry small quantities of hardwood. January 2, 2012

I know it is not ideal to dry wood in a garage, but I live in a neighborhood in San Antonio and have no room to dry outside. I am getting a mixture of 500 bf of walnut and cherry that was recently cut in Ohio and need to figure out a way to dry it. I would pay somebody to dry it in a kiln, but I haven't had much luck tracking anyone down in this area that has one. The only option I see is rigging something up in my garage. I have thought about getting a dehumidifier and a fan to help expedite the process as well as building some kind of enclosure around it. I know I will have to sticker it and keep the air flowing. I plan on eventually using it for furniture. Any suggestions for somebody with limited space to dry some wood?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor J:
Do you have room in your attic? I dry wood in the second floor of my shop all the time with good results.

From contributor O:
"Fine Woodworking: Wood and How To Dry It" is an older book that might be helpful.

From the original questioner:
No room in the attic. Lots of blown in insulation. I actually own the Fine Woodworking book. I've learned a lot about drying wood. It basically covers three do it yourself ways to dry wood. Homemade wood kiln, solar kiln, and air drying. The only option that seems reasonable based on my space is the homemade wood kiln. It's compact (can fit in the corner of my garage) and easy to use, but the plans are dated. Anybody have any cheaper, more current plans (book quotes $600 based on dated prices)?

From contributor E:
A 500 bdft pile of stickered lumber is more than a garage corner, unless it is one big garage! Not to mention a lot of weight for an attic. For a one time shoot at drying lumber you might have bitten off more than you can chew.

From contributor E:
Sticker and stack it in your garage. Put a small (20") fan on it. If your attic can support it, put in it what you can with stickers. Do not overload your attic, but most attics are supported by the walls under them. It will dry in the garage and then attic faster than you can use it for building furniture. Once it is dry, 6-8-10% MC, wrap it in plastic and store it most anywhere. I would not invest in a dehumidifer since this is basically a one time thing. Both walnut and cherry are very forgiving on drying and you will not lose much (if any) due to drying defects. Recommend painting ends of boards with a latex paint or AnchorSeal (SP?) to reduce checking, splitting, etc., ASAP.

From contributor W:
I agree with contributor E. I dry in my garage all the time. Just finished planing 800 bf of maple with no problems. I'll have it loaded up again by the end of the week.