View Full Version : Wood drying

10-05-2012, 09:12 AM
Hello all!
Do anyone of you dry his wood on his own? Or do you know how the wood you buy is dryed? I'm asking that because here in Italy the only place that sells wood for lutherie near my place prefer to sell not seasoned wood in order to permit the luthier control and decide the whole process of seasoning it. I'm going to start my first lutherie project and I don't know what to do or where to buy woods.
And maybe it can also become an interesting discussion for expert luthiers as well.. :)

10-05-2012, 10:17 AM
I buy wood both dry and green.

But even when a supplier says it's dry I still have it sit on my shelves for at least a year. It helps when you have a very large inventory of wood to work with in the meantime though. And I imagine most if not all of the other pro's here do the same.

There are however some very good and reliable tone wood vendors who will only send out wood that is dry and ready to use in order to get you started.

I'm not familiar with the European suppliers but I'm sure that a Google search or some of the members from your part of the world will be able to help out with reputable suppliers. If you want to go further afield then there are plenty in the USA and Australia that I'm familiar with.

10-05-2012, 10:29 AM
Can't help you with drying from Green. I buy both Kiln and Air dried wood from local suppliers. I then cut it a bit oversize and allow it to acclimate to my local conditions before use. If you are worried about wood moisture, you will need to aquire a tool to measure the moisture or use an accurate scale.

I did a lot of my early building projects with recycled lumber from crates, pallets and dismantled furniture. It takes a bit more work, but was well seasoned and the price was right.

Maybe there is another builder in your area that would sell you wood. Or, check back through UU for wood suppliers with web sites and on EBAY.

Here is a link to a basic article by Bruce Hoadley on drying wood. http://www.uvm.edu/extension/environment/lumberdrying.pdf

If you feel the need to really read up on it, look for a copy of this. http://www.amazon.com/Fine-Woodworking-Wood-How-Dry/dp/091880454X

Kevin Waldron
10-05-2012, 10:32 AM
Several ways to dry material.

Old deep freeze or refrigerator and a dehumidifier will work well for small lots, you should be able to find plans on the web if you search. Small solar kiln would also be an option. The key for drying any wood is air movement, heat, and humidity reduction. We have operated 3 kilns for almost 40 years. Thin wood will air dry fairly fast in comparison to thick stock but it still takes time and air movement between stacks by using stickers is the only way to ensure even drying.

Let us know if you need other assistance.



Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-05-2012, 11:36 AM
The first thing you need when buying wood is a moisture meter. I use the pinless kind; most wood merchants wont like you poking holes in their wood. A good one will cost you a couple of hundred bucks but they're worth it. (Or borrow one.)

10-05-2012, 12:11 PM
I use local grown timber almost exclusively. Most is air-dried for a number of years (At least one year per inch of thickness as a rule of thumb).
Where there are particular timbers that I would like dried quicker I have a chamber in my shop that contains a small fan heater and a de-humidifier. Between them, the chamber manages to dry 1" timber in about six weeks. As pointed out above, it is stickered and because it is my own timber, I use a pinned meter that are a lot cheaper than Chuck's kind. You still need a decent one though! :)
I normally let it 'rest' for a month or so after it comes out of the chamber.

Ken W
10-05-2012, 04:53 PM
I use a variety of lumber...air dried, kiln dried, reclaimed pallets etc., firewood...prety much whatever looks good that comes my way. I cut it into approximate sizes for building and sticker it in the rafters of my shop. I used to worry about using in before it reached equilibrium with my environment, but I found that my busy schedule usually allows for it to reach some kind of comfortable balance before I get around to using it. So far....no problems.

10-05-2012, 09:45 PM
Ok, so, a lot of interesting informations for me, thank you. :)
Unfortunately for now I think I can only buy dry woods hoping they're actually dryed, I still have to buy EVERYTHING to start to play the luthier and a moisture meter would rise my expense account a lot. Also, as a child with a new game, I obviously can't wait months till the wood is ready before starting sawing and glueing thoughtlessly. :)
I'm thinking to buy all the woods from Hana Lima, so I have the excuse to buy also the book and plans (the shipping to Italy is so expensive to buy only a book), I just wrote them about the moisture situation of their woods even if I think their woods are ready for people like me who is not a professional luthier or something, let's see...