drying woo

Discussion in 'New project ideas' started by kohlqez, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. kohlqez

    kohlqez Accident-Prone

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    The title is supposed to be drying wood with a microwave/oven
    I recently got some forks from Bushmaster and need to let them dry... or rather need to dry them asap I know it's possible to do it with an oven or microwave but the only wood drying instructions I have found were for firewood (who knew you were supposed to dry firewood?) I figured rather than search for hours online I'd ask around here. I figure someone has to be as impatient as I am and unable to wait months watching wood dry like me

    Side note, anyone know how to change a thread title? This is kinda bothering me
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
  2. kohlqez

    kohlqez Accident-Prone

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    Lol I guess I was too impatient to check the other threads too another one was posted like 15 mins before mine
     

  3. Withak

    Withak aka Whitehawk!

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    I have successfully dried 3 forks in the microwave without cracking. It's bound to happen eventually, I imagine. What others have said works well - I leave the bark on, but I do not seal the ends for microwave drying. I wrap the fork in a paper towel and put it in for 1:30 at 40% power (yes, I already know it's not really 40% power, but that's not the point). I check it after every 1:30 to see how hot it's getting. If it gets too hot to touch, I stop and let it rest for awhile. The paper towel is nice because it absorbs some of the moisture that comes out of the fork and I can kind of tell from the feel of the paper towel how wet the fork still is. I'll repeat the heating up to 10 times, then I stop for the day and let it cool down and rest over night, then start again the second day. For the forks I've done this way, I haven't counted the total 1:30 cycles I've done, but I'd guess around 15-20. And so far, no split forks. I also find it useful to weigh the fork before I start so I can see how many grams of weight the fork is losing in the process. I've expected to see from 30-40% weight loss during the process. I can also tell a bit by the paper towel - once it stops feeling wet, I know I'm getting close. I typically stop heating it once I don't see any more weight loss from the fork, or at least very minimal (1 or 2 grams max) loss.

    It's not a guaranteed method, but 3 for 3 makes me pretty happy.

    On a side note, I tried drying a long piece of oak (about 40") in a warm (not hot) oven for a project. It cracked down the full length, even with the bark still on it.
     
  4. WildBill

    WildBill The Silly Song Guy

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    Oven or kiln drying can be tricky. Even with small forks it takes hours to do properly. First, you do need to seal the cut ends with oil or wax. A warm (not hot) oven is needed, along with good air circulation and humidity control- a small plate of water in the oven will help. If your oven has a vent fan, use it to keep the air moving inside the heating chamber.

    To be honest, oven drying is very impractical and also very touchy. Getting the perfect humidity and temperature balance is tricky at best and is also different for each species of wood. A hardwood fork of 2 inches diameter could take a full day to dry using this method, soft woods at least eight hours. Air drying is the best method- put the wood in a cool, dry place with plenty of ventilation and forget about it for a year or two. Microwaving does work- I nuked a few forks myself and had success with the method.

    -Wild Bill
     
  5. beaverIII73

    beaverIII73 Junior Member

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    Hmm I found some nice forks this week end and was wondering how I could dry them. Setting reading the last post it dawned on me. I have an electric smoker. It ranges from 100-275deg F. I wonder if I could " smoke" the forks lol. When I get off work tomorrow I'll try and let you all know
     
  6. Withak

    Withak aka Whitehawk!

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    That's good information Bill. I approached the oven drying with no information whatsoever. I just went for a low (warm) oven and decided to throw a piece in to see what would happen. Thankfully, it wasn't a critical piece of wood - we had recently done some trimming of our two oak trees and I thought I'd give it a try and see what happened. And it didn't work ;) I've already set several pieces of wood aside for long term drying. When I got involved in slingshots, I had no idea how much additional side work would be involved in building. It's hard to have a reasonable source of wood available nearby but know it's not really available for a while.