Did you know that the wood used in constructing furniture, cabinets, etc., all go through a process called wood drying? It is a significant aspect of using timber in order to make it applicable as construction material. However, those working outside this kind of industry always find the wood drying process a mystery. In this article, you will learn the basics of how wood drying is done in order to make it ready to use for construction.
Moisture in Wood
Before getting into the processes of using kilns for wood drying, it is worth your time exploring why the wood drying industry do this processes first.
Whether you are using wood for a small woodworking project or want it massive droves for heavy duty construction, its moisture content has a profound effect on the wood’s performance.
Throughout the time that timber was taken out from its roots – the tree itself, all the way to after it has been prepared in forms ready for construction, the timber continues to either lose or absorb moisture until it comes to the same level with the surrounding environment. These processes are referred to as equilibration, wherein it can cause a variety of issues. The most common one is when the wood shrinks unevenly or gets damaged when the process of drying them happens to quickly.
The kind of timber that you will be using also plays a role in the process. The hardwoods are considered more difficult to dry up because of its decreased permeability. This is one of the many reasons why softwoods are preferred as construction material all over the world.
But this is way too far from the ideal and when worst case scenario comes, it can lead to delays that are very costly on the construction projects. In order to avoid this from happening, there are different ways that moisture content of the wood is reduced dramatically before any of it makes its way to the construction site.
If the drying process takes place right after the felling, it will also aid in protecting the timber from fungal infections, infections and decay dealt by certain insects. There are a range of beneficial effects in the kiln – log drying process, which include:
- Better properties of insulation
- Increased strength than the fresh timber
- Decreased weight and lower handling costs
- Enhanced suitability with machine work, paints, glues and finishes
When drying wood is done ahead of time, this ensures you that any structural changes will only take place during the drying process rather than it happens after the construction happens. There are 2 main techniques in carrying out the process. These are air drying and kiln drying. Air drying is just storing the sawn timber inside a shady and temperate area. They are stacked together on raised foundations and provided spaces between each other. As with kiln drying, they are the kind of ovens crated within a chamber that is thermally insulated. Kiln drying has been used for thousands of years and has been utilized for a different range of tasks.