How to Dry Wood Fast for Woodworking

By Ann Hills / a couple of years ago

When you’re still starting your woodworking adventures, stumbling upon green or moisturized wood can get quite anticlimactic. The worst part of the problem is usually faced when it’s too late to fix anything. You’ll notice that undried wood will start wrapping around the points of assembly, the glue starts losing consistency, and a myriad of other problems that could ruin any wooden masterpiece you may be trying to come up with. If you’re someone who chops their own lumber, you know that nothing will halt you like wet wood. The process of drying wood isn’t as simple as you may think; the type of wood and woodworking tools you use should be taken into consideration. Fortunately, there is more than one way of drying wood fast enough for you to get your hands dirty.

Dehumidifiers and Fans

This is one of the classic methods of drying wood at a reasonably fast rate. It includes a powerful dehumidifier coupled with a strong fan. It’s important that you use proper pin nailers to fasten the wooden pieces together before beginning. You may need to do more research to find a high quality pin nailer. Avoid looking for the cheaper ones because they can cause more problems than they solve. The drying process must take place indoors; a garage or a shed should be perfect. Place the dehumidifier near the stack of wood you’re trying to dry and let it run for a good while to remove the moisture out of the wood. The addition of the dehumidifier will reduce the time required to dry the wood from a few months to a few days.

Using a fan is optional, but adding the additional airflow will help dry the wood faster. Using a dehumidifier and a fan beats the conventional methods of leaving the wood out there to dry, which can easily take months. To make the process go faster, use lumbers that’s not too wet for woodworking, which will significantly cut down the time needed to dry your wood.

Exposing Wood

If you’ll be drying your wood indoors, you’ll want to make sure that every piece of wood is subjected to the heat of the dehumidifier and air from fans. Try to work out the best way to stack your wood so that the surface area exposed is maximum. The more distributed the heat is, the faster the wood will dry. You want the wood to be evenly dried, instead of waiting extra time for other parts to dry. You can connect the heating of your house to the area you’ll be drying the wood in.

Using the Oven

Nothing beats drying wood like a good old classic oven. This method is pretty straightforward, but it kind of restricts the volume of wood you can use. Heat your oven to 103 C/217 F before you place the wood inside. Place racks on the bottom and center. Place your thermometer in the center rack and a baking pan in the bottom one. If your oven doesn’t have a 103 C setting, use the closest temperature you can set. The thermometer is used to ensure that the oven is exactly at the temperature you want. It may take about 10 minutes of readjusting the oven to get the temperature right.

The wood should be sandwiched in the middle by placing it in the center rack. Make sure that the pieces of lumber aren’t touching because that may cause them to catch fire. Set the timer to 1 hour, but make sure that you periodically check the thermometer to adjust the temperature if it fluctuates. Once the hour passes by, check the moisture of the wood. If it’s still moist, you can reheat it again at the same temperature for 15 minutes at a time. The best way to measure moisture is by using a moisture meter, which can be purchased from any hardware store.

Kiln Drying

A kiln is a special type of oven that can act as a thermal insulated chamber to dry wood quickly. They are also popular in industries that require drying like pottery and tiles. This is considered the fastest method to dry wood; it shouldn’t take more than a few hours to have the wood all dry. You’ll get complete control over the environment inside, like temperature, steam, and humidity. It’s important to use the right controls because drying the wood using a kiln can cause internal stresses in the lumber. Make sure that the lumber is evenly spaced and cut uniformly before you place it in the kiln. Similar to the oven, you may need to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the kiln.

Moisture Reading

Monitoring the moisture of your wood is often considered the finalizing step that determines the dryness of the wood after following the whole process of drying. Moisture meters are going to be your ally during the whole drying process, regardless of the method itself.

There are 2 types of moisture meters that you should consider.

Pin-Type Meter: The pins at the end of the apparatus are used to penetrate the wood into any desired depth, measuring the conductivity between the two pin ends. Even though it’s the most accurate way to measure moisture, this meter is often considered a bit destructive to the structure of the wood, requiring taping the pinholes at the end of the moisture reading process.

Pinless Meter: These meters are considered the safest bet when it comes to non-destructive moisture readings. They are often used on very sensitive wood, flooring substrates, and others.

Woodworking might seem a little challenging in the beginning, but understanding exactly the ins and outs of it will make it a seamless task. Moisture can be one of the fiercest enemies woodworkers have to face when they’re dealing with wet wood. Originally, drying of wood took months to complete, as it was left to dry in the air or sun. The new methods of drying wood have made it much simpler for woodworkers to quickly start working with freshly chopped lumber or green wood.

About the author

Ann Hills

My name is Ann Hills and I am a food blogger and a yoga teacher. When I was a child, I often got around my mother and watched her cooking in our kitchen. My mom always says to me that: “Kitchen is the heart of any home”. I strongly believe in her saying that’s reason why I prefer spending my money to make my home better than other stuff.

Leave a comment: