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Thread: Construction grade lumber

  1. #1
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    Construction grade lumber

    I have a stack of logs that I am haveing made into construction lumber. Most of it will be 2x4's and 2x6's. Question is, how long do they have to air dry for construction use? There is close to 800 bdft of pine and 1200 bdft of poplar.

  2. #2
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    One year per inch is considered normal for air drying. You might shorten it some but then you run the risk of it warping. And you don't want a wall with a warped stud!
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Horton View Post
    One year per inch is considered normal for air drying. You might shorten it some but then you run the risk of it warping. And you don't want a wall with a warped stud!
    I agree, but that also is with a grain of salt in that it depends on what conditions the lumber is kept and the type of weather it is enduring, Sticker stacked in an enclosed barn will dry quicker than Sticker stacked and covered with a tarp. A barn with sides and door will dry quicker than an open shed roof. As well as metal barn will dry quicker than a wood barn, Old barn quicker than a new barn (dry dirt beneeth) Barn on bottom of hill will have more moisture than barn atop a hill. A lot of influences going on in the drying process. One year per inch is minimal but a good refference. (each year must include a complete summer)

  4. #4
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    It really depends on what you want to use it for. If it's truly "construction lumber" (meaning: general purpose use), you don't have to wait until it's reached typical indoor equilibrium. I'm aware of homes that have been built with lumber just off of the mill. The warping that typically occurs while drying is constrained by the structure itself.

    I do agree that for hardwood (or softwood too for that matter) used in a furniture application, one inch per year is a good rule of thumb. However, this can be somewhat species dependent.

    Keep in mind, if you do desire to use this material in a permitted construction project, the material will need to grade stamped by a licensed professional.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Simpson View Post
    I agree, but that also is with a grain of salt in that it depends on what conditions the lumber is kept and the type of weather it is enduring, Sticker stacked in an enclosed barn will dry quicker than Sticker stacked and covered with a tarp. A barn with sides and door will dry quicker than an open shed roof. As well as metal barn will dry quicker than a wood barn, Old barn quicker than a new barn (dry dirt beneeth) Barn on bottom of hill will have more moisture than barn atop a hill. A lot of influences going on in the drying process. One year per inch is minimal but a good refference. (each year must include a complete summer)
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Watson View Post
    Bill you left out the sun shinning on the north face of a garden gnome
    Sorry, I assumed everybody knew that...

  7. #7
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    The local sawyer will grade stamp it for any that is needed. Most of the places only require stamping if you are building a whole house out of it. I was thinking that 6 month would enough for it to dry as construction lumber uaslly is not the same mc as furniture grade. This is why I wanted to ask someone with more knowledge on this matter. Some of it has already be drying since august inside a dry barn, stickerd and low moister. Maybe I will have to buy a meter to check it.

  8. #8
    Don't forget to mill it oversized just in case you need to plane it or joint it to remove any warpage after drying.

  9. #9
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    Al check out this handy PDF from the US Agricultural Dept. and the USDA Forest Service.

    http://www.hornerflooring.com/techgu...urecontent.pdf

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  10. #10
    We have our own sawmill so just about everything we build comes from lumber right off the sawmill. Spruce/Fir/Pine you may want to let air dry a bit, what they call surface dry, stamped (S-dry) which is only a few weeks out in the open air.

    Some woods though you want to build with green. Hemlock is one of them. After Hemlock dries out you cannot drive a nail through it without splitting the wood. Hemlock is unique in that when you drive a nail in it green, it slides right through, but after the wood dries, the wood shrinks so tightly around the nail that its impossible to pull. In fact the wood will bust up before the nail pulls out. Its so bad that when doing remodeling in old hemlock houses, its easier to pound the nail in then to try and pull the nail out.

    Unfortunately we never use Popular for building lumber. We tried it a few times and found the shrinkage on the wood is a real problem. It left gaps and even pulled the building out of straight, square and plumb. Hopefully you will have better luck however.

    Here is a link from my website regarding air drying. There is some good information on drying popular in there too.

    http://www.railroadmachinist.com/Wood-Drying-One.html
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