There’s no need to deny the fact that working with wet wood simply signifies the beginning and the end of a woodworker’s job.
The truth is, for you to get a desired finishing/result at the end of any wood venture, it’s necessary that you first check the timber material that you’re working with.
If it’s wet, then you should consider it a risky venture and take the necessary precautions. So, what’s the needful? You will have to find a means to do dry it properly.
Now, this is where the problem lies. Picture this: a woodworker has some work to do as soon as possible, but they can’t do it because the wood is very wet, so they wallow in confusion while seeking several solutions.
If this is your case, or you have someone who’s fallen into the wet wood trap, this article is definitely going to be of some help.
Let’s quickly look at the various steps on how to dry wood fast for woodworking.
Is Dry Wood Really Important for Effective Woodwork?
Generally speaking, a lot of people might want to go ahead and work with a wet timber without considering the after-effects of engaging in such activity. While that works sometimes, it’s highly frowned at. Most wood projects that were done using wet timbers don’t always end up good.
So, it’s often advised that after going through the stress of purchasing your timber, ensure that it gets dried properly. This is to avoid denting your reputation and image as a woodworker.
Additionally, small wood projects using wet wood are likely to turn out poorly because the water bends and warps the wood when it’s dried improperly. This means that the usage of dry woods should apply in all cases. However, it’s understandable to see woodworkers carry out projects using wet wood for rare applications.
Drying Timber for Woodwork
There are different methods of eradicating moisture from wet wood (moisture can wreak havoc on wood, especially flooring). For the purpose of this read, we will be focusing on the major method of drying wood, which is the air-dry method.
In case you’re wondering what this means, the air-dry method, just like the name implies, is a means through which wood is being dried by air. The air-dry method was used sometime in the early days as one of the effective ways of drying wood.
You might be tempted to discard this method as too obvious. But, the fact remains that this method still proves effective until today. True. It sounds pretty old but you can’t really say that it’s ineffective.
Drying wood by air is one of the fastest safest means of drying that breeds the desired results at the end of the day, without doing so in a manner that damages the wood. Whatever you do, you only need to ensure that you go for a trusted means of drying your wood, and air-drying happens to be a good fit for that.
Ways to Dry Wood Fast for Woodworking Projects
Here’s a step by step guide to drying your wood well and on time for woodworking.
Get a Wood Moisture Meter
One of the first steps to effectively dry wood is by determining the quantity or amount of moisture that’s contained in the wood. Doing this helps you know if truly, the wood needs to get dried or not.
Thankfully, the advent of technology has made this process easier for you and the rest of the woodworkers. A wood moisture meter helps you to guess the moisture content in a wood correctly.
After testing, if you find out that the wood has a 7% moisture content or below, then it’s safe to work with. But if the moisture meter states otherwise, then you need to quickly set up the wood for drying.
This step is as necessary as it sounds. The success or failure of your woodwork is highly dependent on this. I’m sure you want to always deliver high-quality projects right? Great!
Setup the Base for Drying
When you’re done testing the moisture content of your wood, you need to bring out those that need drying immediately. You do this by first using very dry woods, otherwise known as stickers as a base.
These woodblocks should be about 2 x 4 in size.
Put them side by side on the ground and let there be a 16-inch space existing between them. Then go ahead to place the wet wood on top of them. The essence of the base is to ensure that your wet wood doesn’t come into contact with new moisture from the bare ground.
Arrange the Wood for Drying
At this point, you will want to start the arrangement of the wet wood and place it correctly on the base which you’ve created.
Also, ensure that you arrange the wet wood normally while creating a space of one inch in between them.
The importance of the space is to make sure that any form of air that flows through will hit each surface equally.
Create Another Layer with Stickers
Creating another layer with stickers helps the woods to dry faster. Place the dry stickers by the sides of the carefully arranged wood.
If you don’t include this step, you might have to waste more time while hopefully waiting for your wood to get dried.
Plan to Weigh it Down and Protect it from Rain
This involves two different things. Weighing down wood is done to help protect it from warping. This should be done carefully.
This process is needed because when wood forms a warp, it gets worse as it dries and this doesn’t help to encourage your reputation. Also, since you are looking for the wood to dry, getting it wet from rain should be the last thing that you want.
To do this, you need to enable the use of plywood or any other material that is wide enough to cover the wood, but a tarp is better. Of course, this process should be carried out when you have your wood exposed outside where it’s most likely to be touched by rain.
Note that if you try out this step as accurately as you should, your wood will definitely dry as fast as you expect.
Repeat the Above Steps
If you ever need to be sure of the results, consider repeating the process to ensure that you meet your proposed goals.
Following these steps is highly crucial and if done correctly, you will get your desired results in no time.
Other Ways of Drying Wood Fast for Woodworking Projects
Aside from the aforementioned steps through which you can use to efficiently dry your wood, there are other methods that you might also consider trying out.
They have been proven over time to be very effective by people who have implemented them.
Let’s go over some of these steps below:
The Indoor Method
We are all aware that the weather isn’t to be trusted most of the time and so, it has a tendency of pouring down when you least expect it.
In this regard, it will be advisable to improvise and stick with the indoor method of drying in order to avoid moisture.
To ensure that your wood dries faster indoors, set it up near heat.
The Outdoor Method
There are times when you are left with no other option but to have your wood dry outside. This is when it gets really tough as you might start to wonder how you can possibly escape the grip of the rain and humidity on your wood. However, you can still escape it.
Start by laying out your wood on a very dry and sunny area of your outdoor environment. You may also consider placing it close to an area that gets a lot of air flow.
Whatever it is you decide on, getting the best outdoor space to dry your wood is something that you should put lots of thought into. If you’re lucky, the sun might decide to favor you throughout the period of wood drying. When this happens, you should see quicker results.
Dehumidifier and Fan Method
Using a dehumidifier and fan is especially great for those who want to literally “take the bull by the horn.” The implementation of an old dehumidifier which has been proven by past users will help give a large boost to this process.
This method specifically works for those who have the intention of having their wood dry indoors.
How to Dry Woodblocks Using a Dehumidifier
These are the steps to follow if you are looking to dry with a dehumidifier:
- Lay your wood side by side and set up your humidifier.
- Make sure that the dehumidifier is running and then allow it to take out the moisture content from the wood.
Trying this is one of the fastest ways of drying your wood. In fact, using a dehumidifier can reduce the wood drying time frame significantly.
After introducing an air fan too, the dehumidifier can work very fast. The joint effort of the dehumidifier and the fan can produce maximum results. This is why
a lot of woodworkers are implementing this process on a daily basis.
Have you ever thought of using a kiln to dry your wood? A lot of the time, people tend to go through the most unusual methods in order to achieve their goals.
In the case of wood drying, using a kiln to do this might prove to be much easier, though possibly less accessible.
When you decide to go through the kiln drying process, make sure that you are dealing with a smaller amount of wood.
This method is faster than you might think.
According to pure observations, it’s much better than the air-drying method as you can easily have a lot of control over the temperature. With this, you can have your wood dry in split seconds. The only difference is that so many people are yet to understand this process.
Purchasing and acquiring a kiln isn’t that hard too as a lot of stores over the world have them in stock.
Microwave Wood Drying
Just like the kiln method of drying, you might also wonder why microwaves should be included on this list.
Wood drying through a microwave is indeed a useful and one of the very effective ways that have stood the test of time. You should, however, be really careful as to the amount of wood you dry with the microwave.
Just like kiln drying, you should only dry a smaller quantity and size of wood, unless you are using an industrial microwave.
It’s also required that you apply the utmost care when doing this to avoid certain mishaps that might occur as a result of inappropriate use.
Just like we mentioned earlier, you need to apply the use of a moisture meter. This is done for the sole purpose of checking that there is still an adequate amount of water contained in the wood.
Drying wood through microwaving has some similarities with that of kiln drying. They both are very fast means of drying only that microwaving is a lot faster, but also more likely to damage your wood.
To ensure that you beat deadlines faster as a woodworker, knowing how to dry wood fast would, in fact, do you a lot of good.
This is a detailed guide that will help you scale through this process faster. In all, the moisture content meter is the best tool you can have.