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Author Topic: Kiln drying 4x6 cedar beams  (Read 404 times)

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Offline TheTall

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Kiln drying 4x6 cedar beams
« on: December 21, 2017, 01:07:36 PM »
So I am new to the whole kiln drying adventure and I had a question.

We have a customer that just ask us for a quote for kiln drying 600 bf or 4x6 cedar. He is unsure of the moisture content but guesses around %50.

We had a Nyle L500 installed in a 40' refer container. I know I will have to baffle the crap out of it to direct the air through the small unit, but I am unsure about the potential length of time it may spend in there.

Does anybody have the best guess at the possible time needed to dry it?


Offline GAB

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Re: Kiln drying 4x6 cedar beams
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2017, 02:15:33 PM »
Are you talking about red, white, or yellow cedar?
How dry does he want it, as 15% will take less time than 6 - 8%.
W-M LT40HDD34 w/6' ext & SLR, JD 420, JD 950w/loader and Woods backhoe, V3507 Fransguard winch, Cordwood Saw, 18' flat bed trailer, and other toys.

Offline TheTall

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Re: Kiln drying 4x6 cedar beams
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2017, 04:15:55 PM »
I knew I would forget something. Western Red and 15% is fine.

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Kiln drying 4x6 cedar beams
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2017, 08:11:33 AM »
WRC has a special “Situation” that develops as the tree grows.  Bacteria move into the tree through the roots and into the butt log mainly.  One effect of these bacteria is that they increase the initial MC of the wood from the low 30% MC to well over 70% MC.  Logs with this high MC actually do not have enough air in the cells to float in water, so they sink...such logs are called “sinkers.”  Also, the bacterial slime plugs the moisture movement during drying.  At the end of drying, the bacterial infected zones will have much higher MCs (like well over 20% MC) while the rest of the wood is 9% MC.  These wet zones are called “wet pockets” or “wet wood.”

So, if the 4x6s have bacterial infections (the MC will be well over the normal 30% MC), your drying time will be very long (months) and the wood may even check.  If not dried before use, the wet pocket moisture will eventually leave and cause shrinkage (called “delayed shrinkage”) in the final product when it is in use. 

For uninfected wood, drying time in your unit, from freshly sawn to 15% MC, would be around 10 days or so, depending on compressor size, air flow, temperature, etc.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline Don P

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Re: Kiln drying 4x6 cedar beams
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2017, 03:25:45 PM »
I believe it has the lowest fiber saturation point of commercial domestic woods as well.


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