Drying Cherry with Complex Grain

Tips on how to dry some pieces of highly figured Cherry wood. April 27, 2007

I am cutting some cherry for a customer, and ran into a few boards which exhibit this curly look. The customer was planning to air dry this, but I a woodworker friend of mine thinks we should get it kiln dried instead. What advice does the community have? I found only a few pieces like this so far, but have a dozen logs to cut yet. I anticipate a few more nice boards out of this stock, and want to advise the customer of the best way to proceed.

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Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
AD is fine. Kiln drying would be preferred for valuable wood, as you will control the quality 100%. Use a standard cherry schedule.

From contributor D:
I dry a lot of figured wood and I know it can be difficult. Some people may have good AD at their location, but I'd be careful. Curl throws the end grain toward the surface and you know how ends will crack.

From contributor T:
I don't have any kiln drying experience, and can't help you out there, but if you have more logs like the kind that produced these boards, saw them 90 degrees opposite the way you sawed these boards. These boards are beautiful, but are nothing compared to the grains that are possible when sawed correctly. You should also find less defect because there will be less end grain on the width of the board's face. Also kiln drying or air drying, put the first sticker roughly one inch from the end of the board, and a lot of weight on top of the stack. This will help keep your boards flat.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
The picture shows wood from around a branch, which would be called crotch wood. It does indeed have lots of end grain, so it will naturally dry rapidly and perhaps too fast. Warp is indeed quite likely with such wood and sticker placement will not help such local warp.