It’s been awhile since I’ve posted — I’ve been busy wandering and pondering. Other projects have also consumed me — some Arts & Crafts furniture related, some not. I did finally locate and acquire a Gustav Stickley SafeCraft Smokers cabinet. So a good bit of my wandering has been learning about safes and safes restoration. I’ll post on that later. But right now an update on the 500 BF of quarter-sawn white oak I’ve been air drying.
It’s been about 14 months since I stacked and began drying my lumber. So following the rule-of-thumb that it takes 1 year per inch of thickness for a board to reach equilibrium with the surrounding environment, I decided to uncover my pile and check the moisture content of the 4/4 lumber. I’m in Northern Virginia so the typical moisture content for my area should be in the vicinity of 11- 13%. To really understand how the drying process is going it’s necessary to measure the moisture on the surface of the board, as well as the interior, or core, of the board. To do this I use a Delmhorst J-4 for the surface checks and attach a Remote Electrode to drive pins into the core for interior checks.
Now I’m a bit of a geek so in addition to wanting to see how much drying has occurred, I also wanted to understand if the drying had been consistent throughout my stack. So from the top layer I check the boards farthest and closest from my out-building. The board furthest from the building registered 10.5% (surface check) and 13.5% (interior check), and 13% (surface check) and 14.5% (interior check) for the closest board. Despite some variation in the dryness levels from the front of the stack to the rear, I decided this layer was ready to move to the shop.
Next I did the same furthest & closest checks on the second layer of boards. The board farthest from the out-building’s wall measured 11.5% (surface check) and 14.5% (interior check) and the board closest to the out-building measured 14.5% (surface check) and 16.5% (interior check). At this point I realize there appears to be variations from top-to-bottom, and front-to-back of my stack that is likely being caused by having one side of my stack closed-off by the out-building wall; locating the stack in the woods is probably not helping either. To help even out these variations I’m going to re-stack the lumber. I’ll move the lumber on the bottom to the top, and on each layer I’ll move the wood closest to the out-building to be furthest from the building.