Air-Drying Very Thin Boards

A discussion of how to sticker and dry 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch green wood. December 31, 2005

I have an increasing demand for 1/8 walnut, cherry and maple. I have done some resaw and some purchasing of thinner material. What's the best way to air dry 3/16 - 1/4 inch Wood-Mizer cuts? Stickers much closer together would be best, I trust.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor D:
I produce a lot of 1/8" material, too. I asked a similar question a while ago, and I think the consensus was that I should dry my wood in 4/4 form, and then resaw it to thin stock, after it was dry. I'd like to slice it thin, while still green, and get the benefit of much faster drying, but I don't recall any advice on how to curtail warp and cupping.

From contributor M:
I have recently air dried straight grained white oak 1/4"-3/8" x 6" x 4' lengths with good flatness results. I used lots of thin stickers and 6" C clamps with cross strips under them. I stored this contraption in an enclosed out building, standing vertical with light air movement at best.

From contributor P:
Wondering if you could dry it like pressed flowers? In a press, changing the blotter paper each day. Seems that you should be able to move the moisture out pretty fast, as long as it is clamped. What are folks using the 1/8" thick stock for?

From contributor B:
I cut some 1/4 x 20" x 8' pieces of walnut and cherry. I pressed it between two pieces of cardboard and wood planks. I had great results. I would never saw 1" and cut when dry. My mill made such nice slices off the log I can't believe cutting dry from 1 inch would be nearly as smooth or even.

From contributor P:
The above is a good point, but I believe a different blade configuration on sawing dry stock would yield better results. Maybe a larger TPI and less tooth set would saw the dry hardwood slower and smoother. I'd use a new or re-sharpened blade tuned up just for these kind of rips.

From contributor D:
Are you saying you took the green 1/4" boards, placed them between cardboard, and then put planks on top of that, to form a press? Sounds like you had no air circulation, in that case. How long did they take to dry that way? Did you do many?

From contributor B:
I change cardboard every 3 days for 2 weeks, then once a week.

From contributor G:
Thanks to good advice from Dr. Wengert on this forum, I had some success in drying 2/4 12" x 6 yellow birch stock. Stickers should be placed every 8" first, and last ones as close as you can to the ends. Ends should be coated generously; I use oil-based translucent stain for that. Avoid core wood.

From contributor B:
I had some red oak cut 1/8" x 8" x 8' long. Pressed it between slabs of plywood and checked it every couple of months. No problems - came out great.

From contributor D:
With it pressed between plywood, I would think you'd get no air circulation. How'd you get it to dry?

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Putting wood between two pieces of plywood was pioneered by Dr. Hart at NC State University. He called them drying pallets. Try contacting the Department of Wood and Paper Science (Dr. Perry Peralta) for more info and maybe a reprint.