Wood drying is an essential part of any woodworking project. Therefore, in this article, we will introduce a step-by-step guide on how to dry wood fast for woodworking using five different methods.
You will also be capable to find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the drying process and acceptable moisture content in the end. It will also be useful for beginners as well as for aces.
Hence, follow the reading to become all-pants of the right technique of working with wood and dry lumber!
- 1 How to dry wood fast for woodworking, and why is it important?
- 2 Kiln drying
- 3 Shed drying
- 4 Dry by airflow
- 5 How to dry wood in a short period?
- 6 Which method is suitable for me?
- 7 FAQs
- 8 Conclusion
How to dry wood fast for woodworking, and why is it important?
The air-drying process is a vital part of producing a quality project. Surely, you can miss this time-taking step, but we recommend working with air-dried wood. The thing is about the features of the material and its possibilities to wrap, crack, and other aptitudes of drying defects.
Working with some types of green lumber is extremely comfortable and pleasant because of its moisture levels. However, we assure you, that after 6 months you will observe that the ideal woodworking projects from wet lumber transformed and have lots of drying defects, including imprecise joints.
Therefore, below, we prepared for you the simplest drying methods to use on green lumber. Read them, a practice learned techniques, and make the ideal woodworking projects!
There is an extensive number of methods to dry wood; however, we prepared for you some that are the simplest to use:
- Air dry.
- Shed drying.
If you have to start a wood project immediately and have no time to dry lumber, there are two methods to use. But about them a bit later.
This drying method requires the usage of special equipment and a kiln. The last one is a chamber with an integrated heating system, where you can adjust the moisture level, high temperature, the strength of air movement, etc.
Kiln drying systems also have two modes of work: direct contact and indirect. The indirect one includes heated air. Radio frequent and vacuum kilns are, that have the equilibrium moisture content to wood are supported by the direct. Which one for drying wood is up to you and the wood thickness.
Take into account, that this method is the most effective and short-term. However, the cost of installation isn’t affordable for everybody, and it’s also high maintenance. Usually, such systems are installed on fine furniture fabrics with a large circulation of products.
Meet the list of advantages of using the kiln method for the drying process of wet wood:
- A short period of readiness: the wood is ready to be used after 6-8 days in the kiln, instead of the common 8-16 months. What’s more, these methods also prevent stain and mold growth.
- Bright effect: most methods weak the color of dried timber, however, kiln supports a controversial impact and makes the color of wood more saturated.
- Uniform manner: in spite of the density level of wood, it is flexible and provides perfect moisture content for all wood species.
- You are capable to control all aspects of timber, including moisture content.
- Doesn’t depend on environmental conditions and is the best for humid regions.
- Low moisture content: the kiln provides lower moisture content of timber than other methods. That provides a high-quality and resistant product.
This method is the most suitable if you are making furniture.
The kiln-dried method has lots of pros; however, it also has some dark sides:
- Isn’t affordable for everybody: building and equipping the chamber kiln may impact your budget negatively. It is also energy-consuming and has to work 24/7.
- Easy to tender: if you over-dry the timber, it will become fragile and easy to chip easily using the equipment.
- The use of steam is required after kiln-dry to prevent the weakening of wood color.
To use this method, you have to build a special shed, that has walls with frequent perforation. It must provide strong air circulation in spite of weather conditions. Usually, the conception of such constructions is clear and easy. Nonetheless, you can upgrade it by using the additional fans and adjustable carcass.
Take into account that fans are working on electricity, so, the consumed quantities of energy will grow and impact your budget. However, good airflow will also make the wood faster dried.
You can find tutors on how to build it on YouTube. This is also available to buy online or in building shops. Our team of aced carpenters recommends you fix regulated curtains from plastic to protect the wood from high humidity.
- Low wetness score. The level of timber humidity is over 20%, which is perfect for woodworking.
- It is perfect for large volumes of wood: compared to the previous method of using a kiln, the quantity of timber can be tripled or quadrupled.
- Has the natural environment conditions. Similar humidity and temperature provide a quality effect and prevent over dry, which is crucial for the long-resistance of the finished product.
- This method is rich in cons and has only one controversial aspect. You have to invest a decent part of your budget into construction to get the necessary part of dried wood. Consequently, the main issue is the ratio of price and quantity.
Dry by airflow
Air drying is a natural way of wood degradation; therefore, it is affordable for everybody because this method involves only wind and the lights of the sun.
To complete this method, you have to locate the lumber in such a way, as to let the sunlight and airflow go through the pile. Stickers are very useful in such cases, and it’s also presented at a democratic price. But if you don’t want to spend money, the wood stack is also a great choice.
6-8% is a universal percentage of moisture content for furniture, and the usage of airflow is the best way to achieve it. The air-dry wood also keeps quality on standards. Airflow doesn’t lower the quality by over 10%.
- The timber doesn’t lose color after the use of the airflow method and instead provides more vibrant and saturated colors on some types of wood.
- Affordable for everybody: this method is beneficial for getting 16-25% moisture content and is more economical compared to other methods. The only thing you have to buy is a sticker pack, which is around $3.
- It doesn’t impact quality: due to the natural way of the dry and harm-friendly influence of sun and wind, the original quality of wood is held.
- It’s problematic to get the percentage of moisture contents under 16% in spite of weather conditions and location.
- In equatorial regions, the hot and dry wing may cause volume losses and degradation of wood.
- It is the most durable method compared to others. Especially, in cold seasons it is almost impossible to dry wood.
- It depends on the weather conditions. If the environment is humid, air drying becomes a problem. In such cases, the timber may reach complete drying only after some years.
How to dry wood in a short period?
We have already told you that the best way methods for drying timber are long periods. However, sometimes, when you got an emerging project, waiting for the wood to dry for a month is impossible.
Hence, there are two ways to dry the wood fast. Just use a humidifier or microwave. How? Read about the techniques below!
Use the humidifier
Do you have to dry a large amount of timber for a woodworking project? A humidifier is one of the most win-win options!
Move the wood to a closed room. Up the temperature of the humidifier as much as possible. You can use the residential heat device, however, our team’s experience shows that the commercial one is more efficient in use. They make the water evaporate in more volumes per hour.
It works by decreasing the water in the air. To make it more effective, you may also try to use a fan. This is extremely useful if you have to dry the drywall.
Do you have the small pieces of timber and have to dry them? For such statements, the best method of drying is the usage of a microwave because it takes an extremely short period of time.
If you usually work with small wood details, we advise you to buy a special microwave. However, if you do it from time to time, the ordinary oven is suitable.
For the second method, there aren’t any time recommendations because it depends on the power of the oven. You will have to use it as long as the wood will be dried.
Be attentive during such a procedure. Experience shows that it’s easy to over-dry the timber.
Which method is suitable for me?
Choosing the method of wood drying, pay attention to such aspects as:
- How much time do you need?
- Do you have any equipment or devices and enough space to make the wood dry?
- Are you ready to invest money?
Surely, if you are a beginner, we advise finding the most budget variant for you.
Airflow drying is the most economic. The only thing you have to buy is a sticker pack that costs around $2-3.
Do you require lumber fast dry? We recommend you use the humidifier method. It purposes quality in the short term. If you’re working with small details, the usage of an oven in your kitchen is also possible.
As soon as you observe that working with small wood parts is your specialization, you are ready to buy a special microwave.
Kiln drying is the most frequently used on fabrics with large-scale production. For equipping the heating chamber, you must invest lots of money.
The same situation is with the usage of special sheds. You need to build them too much, and it may impact the budget, especially, if you wish to upgrade it with fans.
How can I speed up wood drying?
To shorten the drying time of wood indoors, you may use one of two technologies. The first involves the usage of a humidifier. You can use residential as well as commercial (this is more effective).
If you are working with small pieces of wood, a microwave is an appropriate device for you. In the early stages, you may use the kitchen oven, however, later, you should buy an air-drying lumber oven.
By the way, it’s also a useful method to stop developing mold. It helps the wood to dry faster. The material after high heat doesn’t require a layer of latex paint or paraffin wax to prevent warping.
How long does wood need to dry before woodworking?
This aspect depends on the chosen method. However, the fastest is the utilization of a kiln chamber. It takes only around 6-8 days, instead of months.
Do you dry freshly cut wood?
Yes, we do. This is an essential part of woodworking that prevents cracks and chips during the woodwork and on the already-ready products.
Can I dry wood in the oven?
Yes, you can. This method is perfect for beginners, who only start working with small details and have to dry it fast.
Can you build with fresh-cut lumber?
Our team doesn’t recommend missing this compulsory step. It prevents the manifestation of defects on the project after drying.
Don’t you want to get the rough joints, chips, and issues during the work with it and in the final result?
How do you know if wood is dry enough for woodworking?
Use a moisture meter to know the moisture content of the timber. Remember, there is no percentage or time to say that the wood is dried.
If you are building furniture, cabinets, musical instruments, toys, and crockery, a score between 6-18% is appropriate.
0-15% is a universal moisture content for all wood species and projects.
How long does wood take to dry after cutting?
This question correlates with a previous one. Utilize a hydrometer or the table with the approximate dry period below:
|Method||The approximate period of drying|
|Shed||at least 6 months|
|Airflow||over 9 months|
Such data is approximate, you should always control the moisture content using special equipment. This table is mentioned the average period of wood drying. Remember that it depends on the type of wood, its density, and lots of other aspects.
In this blog post, we revealed the guide for proper wood drying. There are 5 techniques:
- Kiln drying.
- Shed drying.
- Airflow drying.
- Using the microwave.
- Humidifier usage.
Speaking about the best technique, there isn’t any of such. It depends on your capabilities. If you are ready to invest money or have a large circulation fabric, a kiln chamber is the best item. It provides you with a big quantity of prepared material in terms around 6-8 days, which is a short period, compared to others.
If you are searching for something more budget and terms don’t matter to you, try the shed or airflow techniques. It’s much longer and saves you money, especially, the first one.
Are you working with tiny details, or your specialization is jewelry woodworking? You should definitely try two of the last items from the list. The usage of a humidifier allows you to work with timber of various sizes. For its part, the use of a microwave or domestic oven allows you to dry small details in 2 minutes.
We also provided you with the guide to selecting the right method and answers to frequently asked questions. Hope this guide was useful to you. Good luck with your projects!
My name is Alex Mashinsky
I am an enthusiastic woodworking hobbyist who created topwoodworkingtools.com to provide helpful information and advice to fellow woodworkers.
The goal of the website is to help readers make informed decisions about woodworking tools and materials, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that they achieve the best possible results from their projects.
My main focus is on offering accurate, honest, and well-reasoned opinions and advice to help readers choose the most suitable tools and materials for their particular needs.