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Is Your Wood Ready To Work?

Is Your Wood Ready To Work?

Wet, Green, Freshly Cut & Unseasoned. These are all terms that ring alarm bells for any seasoned woodworker, but we're seeing more & more of our customers getting caught out as they don't understand the meaning of these terms or the timber drying process.

What's wrong with unseasoned/green timber?

Timber comes from trees (yes, that's stating the obvious), but trees contain a high amount of water which allows them to survive & grow. This is fine while the tree is upright, but once it's been cut down, the moisture remains in the timber.

Green timber hasn't had a chance to release the moisture & stabilize throughout the drying process, so will continue to move, twist, cup, crack, and warp while drying. This is why storing & stacking once the timber has been cut is so important.

What happens if I use unseasoned timber in my project?

If used, the timber will continue drying in place, meaning it will most likely move, twist, cup, crack, and warp while drying in place. If used with epoxy, there's a good chance the timber will pull away from the epoxy, or movement will cause cracking over time!

Always check that your timber is dried/seasoned prior to use. Using wet/green timber for furniture is a disaster in the making.

Our tips to avoid getting caught out:

👉 Buy your timber from reputable sellers! Ask the seller when it was SLABBED (not when the tree was cut as timber will not start drying until it's slabbed). As a guide for air drying, timber should be stacked and allowed to dry for 1 year per 25mm thickness (1 year per inch rule). Kiln Drying is also a good choice as the timber effectively gets cooked/dried in a slow oven, however make sure to ask the seller their processes as drying too fast may lead to excessive cracking/warping or tension being kept in the timber.

👉 Ask the seller to show you the moisture reading with a good quality non-invasive moisture meter. This meter reads the moisture content from within the timber without damaging the timber surface. All reputable sellers will have and gladly show you this reading. (We also have meters available for sale here) Depending on usage, this reading should be between 8-14%

👉 Cut a piece off the end. This lets you feel the chips/dust. If it feels cool/moisture is present, then there's a good chance there is!

If you're unsure on your timbers level of dryness, we're happy to test it for you in store!

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