Author Topic: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut  (Read 6285 times)

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Offline cfullen

  • Posts: 58
Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« on: December 21, 2014, 08:22 AM »
Hey guys,

I purchased around 500BF of some beautiful black walnut via craigslist last week.  I have a friend that is in the lumber selling business and he says I need to have it Kiln dried.  He says that I will have catastrophic failure of all my joints if I do not.  Is there any validity in this advise? 

I plan to build an exterior entry door mainly.   The leftover lumber will fuel a few small personal projects.

I do not have direct access to a kiln, but will find one if need be. 

Any advise would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks,

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Offline RL

  • Posts: 3039
Re: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2014, 08:27 AM »
Well it's possibly true.

If the wood is not dried to a suitable moisture content level, then it could cause problems. So you would have to air-dry it for longer or put it in a kiln if it is too wet.


Offline cfullen

  • Posts: 58
Re: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2014, 08:29 AM »
The stuff is pretty old.  From what the guy told me, it has been drying for around 8 years in northern Ohio when he found it.  I put my moisture meter on it and its around 11%.

Offline deepcreek

  • Posts: 728
    • TimberFire Studio
Re: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2014, 08:59 AM »
That's nonsense!  Air dried Walnut is generally considered superior to kiln dried (or steamed) Walnut because it retains its natural color and vibrancy.

Wood movement in doors is caused by either excessive initial moisture content in the wood OR ongoing dramatic swings in moisture content.  This is generally due to improper finishing.  Both faces and all four edges need to be finished even on interior doors.  The tops and bottom are often missed.  For exterior doors, dramatic temperature differential between the inside of a house and the exterior can exacerbate the issue.

Joe Adams
TimberFire Studio
Houston, Texas

http://www.facebook.com/timberfire

Offline roblg3

  • Posts: 751
  • Transforming into a whole new machine
Re: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2014, 09:34 AM »
Rob Gardner
Operator
RL3 Enterprises

Offline Baremeg55

  • Posts: 613
Re: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2014, 10:22 AM »
I will agree with deepcreek on this. 

First off, the wood should have or needs to be properly stickered/ stacked to allow air flow when trying.  Depending on thickness of the wood will dictate how long it needs to air dry.  In most cases, probably about two years for green, freshly cut wood.

I've had issues before with kiln dried wood, particularly, if the wood has been dried too fast, it is subject to splitting and basically will no longer be structurely safe or useful.  I have about 6 pieces remaining of some 12/4 Oak, all 8-10 feet in length I bought years ago, and it wasn't until I planed the first pieces that the splitting was noticeable. I've used some of this Oak in past for shop stuff where I'm not concerned with the looks or usage, but no way will I use any of it as part of some furniture I might build.....

Offline Tim Raleigh

  • Posts: 3522
    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2014, 01:47 PM »
The stuff is pretty old.  From what the guy told me, it has been drying for around 8 years in northern Ohio when he found it.  I put my moisture meter on it and its around 11%.

Deepcreek is right.  Air drying is preferable to kiln drying, it just takes longer so it adds expense and price.
11% moisture is ok, it will drop in the house but pretty normal for wood that has been stored outside.
Tim

Offline papasmurff

  • Posts: 11
Re: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2014, 02:13 PM »
Wood needs to be between 6 and 8 per cent moisture or your joints will shrink. If possible bring it into your house stack it under a bed in the spare room use stickers between each level to allow air movement.  You always want to allow wood to air dry before putting it into the kiln for drying.
Papa Smurff

Offline cfullen

  • Posts: 58
Re: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2014, 03:47 PM »
Thank you for the info guys!  I have it stacked on my racks in my new shop right now.  I will leave it there as long as possible.  This is going to go on my house, and I will post pictures once the project gets started...

Offline Oldwood

  • Posts: 334
  • Alberta, Canada
Re: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2014, 05:39 PM »
I'm with PappaSmurf on this one. 6 to 8% for hardwoods.

Gerry
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.
Confucius

Offline roblg3

  • Posts: 751
  • Transforming into a whole new machine
Re: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2014, 08:07 PM »
Maybe I misunderstood someone, but steaming and kiln drying are 2 completely different and separate things.  Furniture wood should be KILN DRIED to 6-8% humidity.  Air drying isn't going to get it there. 
Rob Gardner
Operator
RL3 Enterprises

Offline RJNeal

  • Posts: 333
Re: Kiln Dried Walnut vs. Air Dried Walnut
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2014, 12:43 AM »
I'm in the kiln dry club for furniture wood.
Kiln drying also changes the structure of the cells which makes the wood more stable.
I was working on a walnut mantle, and talked with our cabinet guy about air dried wood. He told me to stay away from the AD wood if I want the 6"x7" x7' long mantle to stay put. The mantle was a built up of three boards with returns.
Rick
Have you walked your saw today?