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Fit & Finish Fit and Finish = the difference in "good art" and "fine art." Join in, as we discuss the fine art of finish and embellishment.

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  #1  
Old 08-19-2008, 04:11 PM
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Question Drying wood

Hi guys,

I'm working on getting some wood from some barrels, Jack Daniel's barrels. The wood will be very wet so I have to dry it before sending for stabilization. I called a professional place to see what their minimums were which turned out to be 1000 bf.

I'm not ordering that many barrel staves

He did give me some advice since he couldn't process the wood. He had lived in the same area as I do and he recommended putting the staves in the garage cover with plastic for a month. Than uncovered for a month. Finally to move them into my house to finish drying. He had said that the average moisture level in Dallas is well above the 12% max that WSSI requires but since my house is ave about 7-10% (most houses are due to AC) that as long as I took the first steps slower (in the garage) I should come out ok in about 4 months.

How does this sound to you guys?

Thxs,
Jim

P.S. - I just got a wild idea about using the barrel wood when I saw the chips in the store for smokers


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Old 08-19-2008, 06:17 PM
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I'm guessing that these are the larger barrels with thick staves, otherwise you might not be able to get enough flat pieces since the staves will be curved in 2 directions (circumference of barrel and top to bottom).

The approach you mentioned sounds good. The big concern will be that these staves will likely be somewhat dry on one side (outside of barrel). Which means that there is some potential for the staves to warp more as one side dries and shrinks some. You may need to think about how you will stack them to minimize the warping.

Are these white oak? And were the insides scorched?
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:21 PM
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Yep they're white oak and scorched on the inside.

The staves run about 1"-3" at their widest and 1" thick by 36" long. They also have barrel heads that have better boards for handles.

I hadn't thought of the warping. I do want to minimized that since i want to maintain the scortched area as a spacer.

The staves run $9 & the barrel heads $8. I hoping that when I order I can check on the bands

Here is an example of the staves:



And the barrel head:



Thxs,
Jim


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Old 08-19-2008, 10:06 PM
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You might want to talk to someone at Jack Daniels who makes their barrels, and find out how they were bent in the first place. My guess is they were steamed and bent over a form, which would be a pretty good feat for 1 inch thickness.

If you're wanting to preserve the scorched area as a liner, you're going to have to take out some of that bend, whether it warps farther or not. Otherwise, you will likely lose a good bit of it when planing it down to get a flat surfact to match up against your tang.

My guess (and I say guess because I've never actually done this type of work, and maybe there is a better way) is that to preserve as much wood as possible you'll need to spend some time getting those staves straight. One way is to build a steam chamber and steam the staves, then put into a form, straightening the steamed wood while it's somewhat flexible, and clamping them in place to dry straight. You can build a steam chamber with some solid PVC pipe capped at the ends and tubing. About 10 years back I had a pipe dream of building a wood kayak. I never did, but read a lot about the process, and that was how the cedar and ash frames were bent to build the vessels.

You might want to talk to Robert Hensarling, he may give some suggestions. I don't know if he bends wood for his rocking chairs or not, but if he does he will likely give you an idea of what you might be into.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:01 PM
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Hey Jim,

First, Its been several years since I operated lumber kilns, but I'll try to remember the particulars.

Hardwood lumber producers stack the lumber on sticks outside for 30 to 45 days for 4/4 lumber till it reaches ambient moisture content. That's about 20-25% around here and the staves your ordering come from not too far from me. That's probably about what it is where you are too. Then it's put in the kiln for up to 5 days, depending on kiln type, thickness, if it's flat, quarter, or rift sawn...whatever, until its 5-7% moisture content. That's how most hardwood lumber produces do it.

That's similar to what you were told to do. The stave's your using will already be at ambient moisture content as long as they haven't been in use for a few months. Surface water doesn't effect it much. So you can start removing moisture right away. If you are going to just let them dry naturally in the house, there is no benefit to doing the outside in the garage thing. Slow drying in the house will pose no extra danger for checking or honeycomb to the wood either way. Stacking them where they have good circulation and blowing a fan over them will cut that drying time in half though. There is a simple little device you can build that will greatly accelerate the drying.

Build a U shaped box from 1x6 or something that is open on both ends. Line it with black plastic. Place a couple 1" cross pieces in the bottom. Stack the staves on the 1" sides inside the box and cover it with clear plastic. Be sure to leave an air space between the pieces that is at least the thickness of the pieces. 1" thick equals 1" spaces. The box should be set facing south so it gets maximum exposure. And the north end should be about a foot higher than the south end to create a good air flow. Air flow is the thing that will accelerate evaporation more than heat.

If you have a good 5-10 days of sun shine...the stave's should dry, but it could take up to 15 days. Oh, and covering the openings at night so the dew doesn't creep back in will help. You can calculate the moisture content of the wood using a microwave oven and a electronic scale, but if you use you're wife's...she'll KILL you. So don't do this unless you have a spare.

Cut a sample of the wood at the thickest part. Say 1" x 2". Weigh it and record that number. Put it in the microwave for about 5 minutes. But watch it dang close. I've seen 'um burst into flames. If it does, let it cool and finish the drying. Weigh it again and write it down. Just to make sure, put it back in the microwave and nuke it again. If it weighs the same as the last time, it's as dry as it can be...0.00% moisture. Now you have a base line to calculate moisture content from. That 0% moisture content number is the 100% dry weight and the difference between that and the original weight is water weight. You use that to calculate the percentage...whewww!

I know, clear as mud. If you can't get access to a moisture meter and decide you want to try it, let me know if you have any trouble. Be glad to help.

Hope this didn't fall under the heading of too much information, but I thought you might be interested since you like to try different things.

chiger,

Last edited by chiger; 08-19-2008 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 08-20-2008, 07:35 AM
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Dang chiger, I was gonna give him the heads up about checking, but you done covered the whole thing.

I gotta say, with those staves around, I bet the shop smells pretty good!!!!!!!!!

Lee


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Old 08-20-2008, 08:47 AM
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The reason the one guy said to do the garage thing is because these are fresh barrel staves and will be wet (no smoking in the shop ). If I take them into the house with how low the moisture content is they run a high risk of splitting and cracking. The garage has higher moisture content so that and the covering for the first part is to allow the heavy moisture to come out slower. I will try out the tunnel setup you suggested though to see if I can get it below 13%.

As for measuring moisture content I'll look for a meter. The kitchen is mine so I'll be the one killing me if something happens. Besides the idea of alcohol soaked boards in the microwave doesn't sound too healthy.....

As for the boards they are quarter sawn so I have end grain along to how surface.

Thxs,
Jim


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Old 08-20-2008, 11:19 AM
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Jim,

LOL! Don't blame you about the microwave stuff. Although the alcohol will be long gone the margins between wood and charcoal will really like the ideal of fire.

Yep, if they've been used in the last few months he's right. In that case you should stack 'um on sticks, dowels whatever to get good air flow around each piece and let them dry for a few weeks before extracting moisture. You might even put some weight on them to keep down the warp. twist and cup.

But, I'll warn ya, you're going to loose quite a bit of it to checking (separation of the face grain) and cracking/splitting no matter what. When they flame those barrels then soak them in the 'Nectar of the Gods' for 6 or 7 years...it sets up weird stresses. They're going to split and crack on the ends. Not much you can do about it at home.

Oh, on the box, you can do it in the shop or in the winter by lining the box with tin foil and putting a flood/heat lamp at the bottom. Gotta be dang careful about fire though. But like Lee said, you'll have the best smelling shop around! Either way you can get it dry enough. 12% is not that low.

chiger,
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  #9  
Old 09-02-2008, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiger
but if you use you're wife's...she'll KILL you. So don't do this unless you have a spare.
Who can afford a spare wife?

Thanks for putting up the advice on drying, Chiger. I had no idea it could be done so easily. Gonna have to try it!


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Old 11-22-2008, 11:02 AM
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anchorseal from eisenbrand is for sealing end grain to prevent cracks caused by rapid drying. it is a liquid that you paint on - dries to a waxy layer
.
you could build a neat kiln from 1/4" plywood, some 2x2 grape stakes and some metal window screen for shelves. put a light fixture on the bottom and use a 60watt bulb for the heat source. make a hole on the front near the bottom and another on the back near the top for convection. also make sure the bottom shelf is a good foot above the bulb. rotate your wood often from shelf to shelf


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  #11  
Old 12-12-2008, 07:46 PM
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Ive got a set up similar to Waynes, but smaller.
I used a wooden army foot locker. I stood it on end, added shelves (wire racks from an old oven) with vent holes in the bottom and the to for convection circulation and put a light in the bottom thats plugged into a timer (like for your christmas lights) It runs 8 hrs a day. I store all my material in this box, as Im gone a lot, I havnt checked on how long it took to dry somthing, just use it more for a full time storage locker. This way when I do get time to work in the shop, Im not held up by waiting for material to dry. I did end up putting moth balls in mine to keep the mice out of my antlers . I know this insnt what you are looking for, but might spur some ideas.

God Bless
Mike


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Old 12-13-2008, 02:52 AM
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To quick dry them you can soak them in denatured alcohol for a couple weeks and then let them air dry. You will know they are dry when you weigh them right out of the alcohol and then every couple days. When the weight no longer drops then the alcohol is gone.

I have dried alot of smaller greeen pieces of wood this way and have not had any checking. A few times I used wide mouth canning jars and pulled a vacuum with the FoodSaver Plus while the wood was in the alcohol.
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