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Thread: Air dried walnut and cherry question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Oliver Springs, TN

    Air dried walnut and cherry question

    Hello all,

    Like all of you I am always on the lookout for wood. I found a guy today that has rough cut green walnut and cherry. Some of it has been cut for 2 weeks some for a couple months. He said he would sell it for 1.50 bd/ft. He said that I would need to have it kiln dried before I use it. I've always been under the assumption that if you let it sit long enough it would eventually be dry enough to use (1 inch per year etc.). If I get any I have an unfinished conditioned basement that I plan on putting it in.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    If you stack with small pieces to allow circulation ('stack and sticker' [that's a term I learned here. ] ) the wood will dry just fine. I put mine in our garage and use a fan to keep air moving. You do need the air to move. It will take a while. Others can advise better how to tell when it is dry enough.
    BTW, I don't go by that inch a year bit. IMHO, it depends on the wood, when it was cut, drying conditions and alignment of the moon with the stars.

  3. #3
    stack and sticker is right...
    90% of the wood I use is air dried cherry (usually found at auctions).
    You might want to put in a dehumidifier if its in a basement.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Just let it air dry - stacked and stickered - for another six months or longer, and it'll likely turn out to be some of the best walnut and cherry you've ever used.

    I have about a hundred board feet of cherry, and maybe fifty of walnut that's been out in the barn for a couple years. Both have better color than any kiln dried stuff that I've ever seen.

    I've never used them, but a local kiln operation (big commercial one) will dry small lots for 20 per board foot. As long as I have a good supply out in advance, I don't see ever needing their services, though. I'll need to replenish my hoard pretty soon - before it dwindles down much further - in order to keep a good supply 'at-the-ready.'
    Jim D.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    sticker and air dryin is the best thing for walnut, you retain more color than you will from a kiln and the cherry is also good air dried the air movement is critcal.. without the air movement depending on your temps and the humidty factor in your area it can mold which can cause staining.. i cut alittel today which will be air dried and have alittle more stashed in another barn, its been ther 2 years now.. mostly walnut and some white oak
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    New Zealand
    If it's a large amount you will be best to stack it outside for a few months first. Get rid of most of the moisture outside.

    After it's air dried down to around 20% then it's much more forgiving, and wont release a huge amount of water in your basement.

    If it's a small amount then inside with a fan to circulate the air is OK, but every pound of green wood you bring inside has 1/2 a pound of water that has to go someplace.

    To monitor the drying (if you dont have a moisture meter) get a sample board and weigh it on some digital scales. Weigh it each week, and it will get lighter. When it stops getting lighter, thats as dry as it's going to get. You dont know exactly how dry it is, but it's at equlibrium with it's environment, and thats what you need.

    Time taken will vary with temp, humidity, air flow, wood species etc but 12 months is worst case. In reality it may take 3-6 months to air dry 1" wood.

    Walnut is one of the easiest woods to air dry. Low shrinkage and rot resisant means it's less likely to split, warp or stain. Cherry is also OK to air dry.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Oliver Springs, TN
    Thanks for the help. I think I'll get some of each and stash it. This is a good deal for this area. Dry cherry is between 4 - 7 dollars and walnut is in the 5 - 8 range. I don't do this for a living so I don't need it right now. I can wait.

    Thanks Ian, I could put it in my garage for a couple months then move it to the basement.
    Last edited by John Daugherty; 11-22-2008 at 11:39 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Reno, Nv
    There is a normal rule of thumb for hardwoods; dry 1 year per inch plus one year. This is assuming the stock is racked with proper airflow.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Burr View Post
    There is a normal rule of thumb for hardwoods; dry 1 year per inch plus one year. This is assuming the stock is racked with proper airflow.
    This is the rational I have used and have had no ill effects. I don't believe you can have much success with less than a full year to the inch and the extra is for good measure. Thgat is covered and protected and in a place where air can move throughout the stack and with spacing between the layers of stacks.

    I know a fellow who stores his in a building enclosed with a Dehumidifier running 24/7 and he still adheres to the inch per year rule of thumb.

  10. #10
    I recently purchase a few board feet of walnut which requires drying. To prevent cracking and splitting I coated the ends with this stuf:

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