Sawing And Air Drying Ashe


From original questioner:

I have just cut down an ashe (black ashe I think) that was probably standing dead for two or three years. I cut the trunk into three logs, each 6 feet long and about 18 inches in diameter. From what I can tell the wood is in good condition with no rot. I have moved the logs into my basement to air dry. I plan to saw the logs into 4/4 boards using a Roubo frame saw. Here's my questions: What's the best moisture meter for under $200? About how many years should it take for the sawn boards to dry? Does dry time, shrinkage or movement change whether I plain or quarter saw? Is it important to remove the bark? I was told I should wax the end grain--why or why not? If the ashe is beetle infested how will I know and is there anything I can do? What else do I need to be thinking about? Other than this site, what's the best resource for this project? Thanks

From contributor Ri

I will address part of your question and leave the rest to others. I can guarantee the ash logs have bugs. Powder post beetles love ash. I recommend getting them out of your basement ASAP

From contributor Ge

Not on PPB, but also ambrosia beetles and others.

In probably 99.99% of the time the lumber is sawn as soon as possible. Drying the logs first makes sawing much harder and quality is lessened. Once sawn, air drying time is only a month or two in warm weather for 4/4 and dead material. Then kiln time is a week to achieve the lowest MC.

The best moisture meter is probably one of the three major, made in USA, brands. With all these, you get a fair price for what they are making. You will also get an accurate meter and one that can be quickly repaired if needed. If you get the Delmhorst brand, I would also get one that can use the 26ES electrode so you can get gradients in 2" material easily. Lignomat has a similar probe. Gradients can be important in drying, but if not, then you can look at pinless.

From contributor Ge

Gene & Richard, Thanks for your responses. Unfortunately, the only way the wood is coming out of the basement is in boards, it was hard enough getting it down the stairs. I did some research on the PPBs and it looks like my best option is to saw it and treat the boards with Tim-bor insecticide while it dries. Regarding the moisture meters, I'm looking at Lignomat. Delm and Wag look good but too expensive. Some manufactures claim that their pinless is as accurate as a pin model. Is this ever true?

From contributor Ge

For wood that is dry without a steep MC gradient and at room temperature, almost all meters (made in USA) will give a reading within 1/2% MC of the true reading. Some foreign-made meters were not set up well for US species or are just too,cheap to work well.

Note that if you are selling wood, you want a meter as good as your customer has so you know what readings the customer will be getting. Having a complaint about MC can be expensive and may even result in a lost customer.