As you build projects, start by providing at least a couple of days for drying time following each major cutting and planning stage. Freshly exposed wood surfaces require the most drying, and this should occur before important joinery processes. The increased air circulation causes the wood to dry at least twice as quickly. Drying also occurs naturally during daylight hours, but you can speed up the process by placing stacks of thin cardboard or other material beneath wet pieces.
After the wood has dried, it's ready for use in any project. Avoid working with green wood because it is more likely to shrink and expand, causing cracks in finished products.
There are several ways to keep track of your projects while they're still wet. You can use markers to label bags or boxes, or simply write on the wood with a fine-tip permanent marker. Be sure to remove all traces of pencil marks before finishing your project!
You don't have to use wood from exactly the same tree for its unique qualities to be evident. The grain pattern of different woods will vary depending on their origin and how they were grown or harvested. Wood that is grown for timber production tends to be much smoother than fruit trees or nut trees, which grow thicker branches with less uniform grain patterns.
Some varieties of wood are naturally resistant to insects and decay, while others may need to be treated for safety.
It takes around 4.5 days to decrease the timber from 85 percent moisture level to 25 percent moisture content. In general, there are two techniques for drying timber: I natural drying or air drying; and (ii) artificial drying. Air drying is the process of drying wood by exposing it to air. As you can imagine, this is not a very efficient method as it requires a lot of time and energy. Natural drying is the process by which wood absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. This is how timber in its native habitat dries. It is faster than air drying but still takes many years to be fully dried.
In practice, timber is usually dried using a combination of these methods. Natural drying is used for the first-cut of wood from a tree, while air drying is used for later cuts. Also, timber is often treated with a preservative when it is harvested too young or otherwise unsuitable for natural drying.
Wood is being used since ancient times for fuel and for construction materials. Wood is easy to get hold of and abundant in most parts of the world. It does not require much space to grow and is highly renewable. Indeed, trees only need water and sunlight to grow. They do not require soil nor do they decompose. So once cut down, a tree will always come back.
There are several types of wood, depending on the species that produced it.
Allowing one year of drying time per inch of wood thickness is the traditional rule-of-thumb for air-drying lumber; this adage obviously only takes a few of the aforementioned variables into account, but it's at least a rough starting point in understanding the time investment required to properly air-dry a piece of lumber. In practice, though, wood will dry faster if you want it to - and sometimes this is desirable - so there's no hard and fast rule on how long you have to wait before using your dried wood.
On average, wood dries about 1% per month when exposed to the air. So if you start with a thick piece of wood, it'll take much longer to dry than if you started with a thin piece. Also, the temperature and humidity outside will affect how quickly your wood dries - hot, humid weather speeds up the process - while cold temperatures can slow it down. Finally, different types of wood dry at different rates. For example, redwood and cedar are both softwoods and so will dry similarly if left alone over time, but orangewood is a hardwood and will need more attention paid to its drying process to avoid damaging it.
When wood has reached the desired dryness, it's ready to be used. If you find that wood is still moist after being air-dried for a year, then it's best to go ahead and finish it off by either heating it or dipping it in a water-based preservative.