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Author Topic: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"  (Read 741 times)

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Offline Sherm008

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Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« on: October 18, 2017, 10:55:45 pm »
Good evening all,

I'm a "newbie" here; I have worked projects such as building my own deck with normal lumber, but I've never worked with wood slabs.  I am setting out on a new project of building a basement bar and for the bar top, I am planning on using live edge Black Walnut slab, hopefully at least 2" thick.  Was having trouble finding what I needed locally, but today a friend called telling me that he's milling a walnut tree and he's pretty sure the owner would sell me what I need ... maybe even a slab 12' long and 3.5" in width!!!   8)

Big problem of course, it'll be freshly milled (opposite of dry) and I was hoping to have the bar top mounted in the next month!!  :o  Now, my friend tells he knows someone else with a very large planer, and we should be able to mount the Black Walnut bar top and let it dry "in-place".  I've been doing a little research :P and I know about sealing the ends.  He tells me that "it will move of course", but since we're getting such a thick piece, we should be able to sand it down later ... and we'd brace it extra etc.

My question to all of you ... how much a mistake would this be and why?  Could we take steps to make it work?  For example, keep the wood covered "on stickers" for most of the time ... maybe just removing and temporarily mounting for a party here or there?

He also mentioned the option of solar kiln for a month just to give me options.  I am also considering trying to find a local kiln where I could have it dried partially for a month or so?  I know there are problems here, but if the price is right, then what to do???

Any information/advice you can provide will be hugely appreciated!!!  Please help, I have to make a decision on buying the slab today  :-\

Thank you in advance - Best regards,
John

Offline Sherm008

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2017, 06:13:01 am »
Just found some hopeful sounding info on Reddit ...
https://www.reddit.com/r/woodworking/comments/2yqkln/using_a_wet_wood_slab_for_a_table/

This was also very interesting with a lesson on how fast things can go bad when working wit wet wood ...
https://wunderwoods.wordpress.com/tag/wet-wood/

Still, I really want to know what you all think ... Please let me know your thoughts ...

Thank you smiley_beertoast, V/r,
John

Offline WLC

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2017, 03:26:02 pm »
Never worked with green walnut, but, I would think that if the price is right and you are having a hard time finding other already dried slabs I would buy it.  That said, I would also think it would be worth postponing the completion of the project in order to have the slab dried and finished properly. 
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2017, 04:42:21 pm »
Personally I'd slap a piece of plywood into the spot for now. Something temporary, but presentable and functional. Put a frame around the outside, and build the supports etc ready for the slab.

Reason is that the slab WILL move as it dries, especially if it's got any interesting grain. It might cup, it might twist, it's likely to check etc. Not fatally, and nothing you can't plane out and fill later, but it could look pretty ugly part way through the drying process, and there will be nothing you can do about it until it's finished drying.

Now if you are in a rustic cabin, a few cracks and things not quite straight can be accepted. But if you looking for a nicely finished bar top, that's going to stay that way, let the wood dry properly.

Some time in a Solar kiln will speed the drying process up a LOT. You can air dry for a while, then finish in the solar, as it's those last few % moisture that seem to take the most time, and the solar can really help you there.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2017, 07:53:03 am »
If it is 3.5" thick, it will take a long time to dry. 
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Offline tule peak timber

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2017, 09:18:15 am »
I mill, sell , and finish quite a few slabs. There are no short cuts.
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2017, 09:19:55 pm »
I have worked with 10/4 walnut gunstock blanks.  End coating is absolutely required.  Two thick coats.    The risk of honeycomb is very high, so drying must be very slow..perhaps 4 to 4-1/2 times more slowly than 4/4, which means standard air drying will be way too fast.  So, a closed shed is perhaps the second best option, and vacuum is the best option.  A heated room around 90 F is good too, using high RH and low air flow.

Have you considered resawing this into three pieces that are about 1/3 the thickness, drying them and then planing and gluing them back together?  Should be ready in about 6 weeks and because they are in the same order as originally, the grain match will be good.
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Offline tule peak timber

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2017, 09:24:48 am »
Dr. Gene, on your above post at the temps and humidity mentioned, how would you address sticker stain ? Rob
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Offline tule peak timber

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2017, 11:52:31 am »
Sheerm 008,
 I just got off the phone with a client that wants to cut dry and flatten some 7 foot wide slabs from a beautiful log he just bought. I told him 4-5 years.......
   Below is a pic of some large (17 foot) walnut slabs that are leaving my mill this morning for a customer in Alabama. 6% moisture and KD. A lot of time,,,and a lot of work. Rob
   

 
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Offline nativewolf

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2017, 03:35:01 pm »
Man I'd think that your 1% humidity would sure help with the drying.  4-5 years...that's a good long time.  Enough time to make chili..and chill the beer.

Offline Sherm008

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2017, 05:15:29 am »
I have worked with 10/4 walnut gunstock blanks.  End coating is absolutely required.  Two thick coats.    The risk of honeycomb is very high, so drying must be very slow..perhaps 4 to 4-1/2 times more slowly than 4/4, which means standard air drying will be way too fast.  So, a closed shed is perhaps the second best option, and vacuum is the best option.  A heated room around 90 F is good too, using high RH and low air flow.

Have you considered resawing this into three pieces that are about 1/3 the thickness, drying them and then planing and gluing them back together?  Should be ready in about 6 weeks and because they are in the same order as originally, the grain match will be good.

Thanks very much for your input!!  I have not considered resawing into 3 pieces; I did not know that was an option.  So, I don't know if we'll go this way, but this is some good thinking outside the box - Thanks so much again!!!

Best regards, smiley_beertoast
John

Offline Sherm008

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2017, 05:59:17 am »
Thank you to all who took the time to respond!!!  Your input is greatly appreciated and all were thoughtful!!

So, I should provide an update ... I may have mentioned, but a friend told me she knew of someone else nearby who had walnut to sell, so I had to check that out.  It turns out this nice gentleman lives about 12 miles away, actually owned his own mill, and has dry walnut slab that are about 2" thick!!  So, I think you all agree that this is the safest option; using the 3.5" thick wet walnut is just too risky and would have been allot more work, as I was later informed.


This wood is nice and is probably fine, though we'll probably have to "book match" (... that the correct term?) it.  This gentleman also had 3" slabs, but they were green as they'd only been drying for about 6 months.  He told me he could kiln dry them, but that would require a minimum of 2 months.  So, we are considering this option ... I'll know more tomorrow as I'm dragging my wife to this mill to consider our options and hopefully pick something out  8)



Here's a photo or 2 of the tree that could have been used, i.e. the tree that would have yielded the 3.5" thick wood that was being considered:


Also, just because I thought it was real cool, here's a picture of my friend as he was milling the fresh large black walnut; here's he's using his tractor to split the main trunk:



Thank you all very, very much again!!!  I'll let you know if we find something and what we decide.

Best regards - smiley_beertoast
John

Offline low_48

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Re: Black Walnut Drying "In-Place"
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2017, 10:31:03 pm »
Looks like it would have to be 4.5+" thick to yield 3.5. He needs a bigger chainsaw! His technique is really producing a lot of waste with must be close to 3/4" out of flat!