Making stickers

Finding an appropriate material for lumber stickers used in air-drying. August 10, 2000

How dry would your stickers need to be for air-drying purposes? Could white oak be used if it has been standing dead as a tree for a few years?

I am just starting out on a small scale, harvesting some of our mature oaks and maples, so I don't have any dry material from which to make stickers.

One cautionary note: A dead tree may have decay started in it. The decay can transfer to the lumber.

I would be careful using any stickers over 10 percent moisture content (MC).

That said, white oak does not decay easily (natural decay resistance is very high in the heartwood, which is usually 90 percent or more of the tree), and a standing dead tree may be quite dry. On the other hand, it is hard to saw white oak when it's dry; it's so strong that the saw really wanders around, heats up, etc.
Gene Wengert, forum moderator

Start out using surveying stakes. You might want to double them to get more space between the boards, but at least they are dry to start with, and not real costly.

I have cut pine 1 x 1s ten feet long on my band saw, about a hundred at a time. First I cut them into five footers with a chain saw. Then I stack them in a criss-cross pattern about six inches apart (square pile) in the sun and wind. In two days I have dry stickers.

Stickers, cross pieces, pile bottom foundations and tools; Just like with a cheap wrench, you'll end up cussing.

Start out with uniform material; you might try it in some lower-grade lumber where sticker stain won't matter so much.