Can you do woodworking with wet wood? If not, then what is the fastest way to dry wood when woodworking? There are risks when working on wet wood, which is why you have to dry it first and remove the moisture before starting on your project.
The fastest way to dry wood at home is to use your microwave and stove oven, but take note that these are only suitable for processed and small-size woods. When it comes to larger lumbers, your best option is direct exposure from sunlight and to expose every side.
Whether you forgot to cover your wood when the rain started pouring or accidentally spilled water on it, we will give you tips on how to dry wood the fastest way possible. However, take note that drying times still depend on several factors like moisture levels, wood species, and the thickness of your wood.
Fastest Ways To Dry Wood At Home
When drying those processed wood at home, the two fastest ways are through those pieces of equipment that you use for cooking and baking. For most small to medium-sized wood, kitchen machines can offer the heat you need for drying at home.
Technique #1 – Heat It Up Using a Microwave Oven
If you have blocks of wood and accidentally spill water on it, a microwave oven might be the solution. Aside from reheating your meals, microwave ovens can also dry your small pieces of wood.
- STEP 1: Weigh Your Wood – Using an electronic postal or pocket scales, get the weight of your wood. As much as possible, accuracy should be at least within 0.035 ounces (0.99 g) for the best results.
- Step 2: Measure The Moisture Content – Through a moisture meter, you can purchase in local hardware or even online and record the wood’s moisture content. It ranges from 0% to 100%, and it will be your guide in understanding how much heat you should apply to your wood.
- Woods with 15% to 25% MC must be in the lowest heat setting and put in the oven for 45 to 60 seconds.
- Woods with 30% and above MC requires at least 1.5 minutes to 3 minutes.
- Step 3: Setting Up – Put 3 to 5 paper towels on the oven’s plate and put your wood on top of it. If your microwave comes with low and defrosts settings, choose the lower temperature. As you turn on your oven, don’t leave it and always look out for any smoke because it could be a sign that your wood is burning. Also, take note that you should not let your pieces of wood touch each other because it can cause a fire.
- Step 4: Weigh-In Your Samples Again – After the first round of heating, check the weight of your wood. You will notice some significant drops on its weight. Continue heating your wood for the same amount of heat and length of time until you see no weight change on the moisture content. It means that you’ve reached the stable moisture level of your wood. Note that different types of wood are dry at different levels. Don’t be shocked if some pieces lose moisture faster or slower than others.
- IMPORTANT! As you continue heating your wood, leave at least 45 to 60 seconds intervals with 1-minute rest in between. For highly precise measurements, you will not be able to detect differences of more than 0.1 grams after completing the first drying process. Stop when you get around 5 or 6 readings that are the same for gram scales.
- Get the final moisture content by this formula = (Wet Weight – Oven Dry Weight) x 100.
Technique #2 – Stove Ovens For Your Medium-Size Wood
For woods that won’t fit in your microwave, you can try your stove ovens. The process is almost the same, but with little tweaks. Regardless, it is helpful to get the moisture content first before heating your wood.
- Step 1: Preheat Your Oven – Before heating your wood, preheat your stove oven to 217 °F (103 °C). Then, put one kitchen rack on the bottom and another in the center. Place your baking pan on the bottom shelf, and an oven thermometer on the center rack.
- Step 2: Monitor Your Oven Thermometer – Check it for every 10 minutes and make some adjustments whenever required. Make sure that you turn on your kitchen fan to ensure optimal airflow.
- Step 3: Place Your Wood On The Center Rack – Put it in place and ensure that none of your woods are touching on any sides. It’s like your baking cookies for your family and friends.
- Step 4: Test Your Wood’s Moisture Content – After the first round of heating, check the moisture content. Wait for 15 minutes before you put it back in the oven. Then, do this process until you reach the stable moisture content.
The Fastest Way To Dry Large Wood
What about if you’re drying large wood at home? Then, it also requires bigger spaces like your garage or basement. However, you have to make sure that it has proper ventilation to ensure enough airflow.
Dry In a Ventilated Spot.
A well-ventilated area must have enough breeze and a few fans with wide-open space free from moisture. This setup will guarantee better access to fresh air essential in drying every side and the core of the wood. Your garage and front door is the best option in this case.
As long as the air can circulate continuously around the wood, the air-drying process will be accelerated. If you have some metal wire racks, it would be a perfect place to hang the wood to dry. More roomy space offers better drying capacity.
Expose Every Side Of The Wood.
You have to make sure that every surface and side of the wood has access to sunlight and air. It offers the most air-to-surface ratio and exposes more fibers to the air to leak out the water. When the lumber is wet, the fibers appear to stand at the edge. When they start to dry, they’re stuck in that spot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let us learn more about drying wood and working with wet lumbers by answering some of the most frequently asked questions from other woodworkers.
Why Should You Not Use Wet Wood For Woodworking?
You should avoid working on wet wood because it increases the difficulty and more risks. You could waste your time, destroy the wood, and waste valuable materials and money that you could use on another project. Moreover, it would be hard for you to glue and sand your project. Not to mention, it would weaken and turn your wood into mush.
How Do You Know If Wood Is Dry Enough For Woodworking?
You can test the moisture content of a piece of wood by breaking it open to see if it feels dry to the touch. Ensure that your wood’s moisture content is below 11%, and you’re good to go.
How Long Does Wet Wood Take To Dry?
Drying times also depend on various factors, such as moisture levels, wood types, and the thickness of your wood. Generally, it can take a maximum of 2 days of warm and windy weather to dry out wet wood properly.
The easiest way to dry wood at home is to use your microwave and stove, but remember that they are only suitable for small-sized woods. When it comes to larger lumbers, the best choice is direct exposure from sunlight to make sure that you expose each side. It also needs wider rooms, such as your garage or basement. Nonetheless, you need to make sure that there is enough ventilation and make sure that there is adequate airflow.