Drying green tongue-and-groove pine

      Success in drying green, already-machined lumber has much to do with the species. 1998.

by Professor Gene Wengert

I have the opportunity to buy green tongue and groove pine boards at a very good price. My question: how difficult and risky is it to dry the wood myself? Will I end up with warped, unusable lumber? What is the best way to dry wood, in your view? I would appreciate your opinion and your advice.

What species of pine are we dealing with? If it southern pine, we certainly can expect more warp than if it is slow grown white pine. So, the answer is that with some pine species, you will succeed. If this lumber has already been milled, watch out for staining--you must get it up on sticks within 24 hours after milling (in warm weather).

Regarding drying methods, My guess is that you are considering a very small quantity. So, 12 inch sticker spacing with 3/4- to 1-inch thick stickers and then putting the stickered lumber pile in an open shed (no walls, just a roof) with as much weight as possible on the top is a good idea. You might want to order Forestry Facts #60 from my office for $2.50 which deals with small quality drying and includes ideas for using a solar heated kiln (use the e-mail form below to send me a note). Larger operations would consider an electric dehumidifier kiln. There are quite a few kiln operations that will accept small quantities; check with your extension service and/or state department of natural resources for a listing.

Professor Gene Wengert is Extension Specialist in Wood Processing at the Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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