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Aging Ash Without Cracking..


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without a kiln it can be a slow process. if you cut a piece of the trunk that would yield the proper sized slabs you can coat the ends with creosote or other products made for end sealing and let it dry out of the weather for a year or two. this is assuming that it's green when you start. you can also slab it out and stack it with 1/2 to 3/4 inch spacers to allow air circulation and let it dry for a year or so.

i've done a good bit of green wood turning on the lathe and you can actually "cure" bowl blanks and such in a microwave but i doubt if you could find one large enough for a guitar blank.

i would invest in a good moister meter and then search for downed wood or dead trees that have cured naturally and try to find your blank there first.

i would also imagine that if you googled curing wood you'd find more info than i'm able to give you.

good luck

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when i make Didjes i go collect the wood and throw it in a small,back room in my basement that i stored a few propane heaters in ......it gets kinda expensive,but the price of the sold didje about breaks even.....

i wouldn't really recomend it though,i've craked about 10% of the ones in there over the years....

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when i make Didjes i go collect the wood and throw it in a small,back room in my basement that i stored a few propane heaters in ......it gets kinda expensive,but the price of the sold didje about breaks even.....

i wouldn't really recomend it though,i've craked about 10% of the ones in there over the years....

Interesting...

a few more Questions...

Supposed I had access to a kiln (through my old hirh school) how long would I have to beg my x art tracher to fire it up for?

I have a forest of ash, maple and cherry.....

Is cherry a good wood?

I have stacks of that dried and un cracked....

You guys rock....

thanks..

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Wrong kind of kiln, dude. The kilns used for drying wood are low-temp beasts with good air-exchange to remove moisture without rupturing the cellulose cells that make wood, ....ugh.. WOOD! Yeah, that's it! Wood! The kiln your highschool has is a ceramic-firing kiln and would make charcoal out of your project. Most of the wood-kilns up till a few years ago were steam-heated. The newer industrial kilns ARE in fact microwave with blowers to remove the moisture as it leaves the wood. The only problem is trying to do it too fast. If the moisture EXPLODES out of the cells you end up with what the wood guys call "pithey" wood or wood with no strength. Same thing happens when it rots.

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That would be a very good thing to look up on the net under wood drying kilns. The solar ones never get over 140 degrees but the smaller home-mades I have seen go to about 210. I guess it is a function of how long the wood is in there. The big microwave units take 24 hours. That is at very low power, the best I can tell. The home-made solar units take 3-4 months. At the very least.

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sounds like you've got a guitar builders dream there. cherry makes an absolutely beautiful looking and sounding guitar. i love it with a hand rubbed oil finish. if you can incorporate crotch wood into your blank you'll be amazed.

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sounds like you've got a guitar builders dream there.  cherry makes an absolutely beautiful looking and sounding guitar.  i love it with a hand rubbed oil finish.  if you can incorporate crotch wood into your blank you'll be amazed.

I have friends that burn wood in the winter..

would placing the wood in the general area bet the same /?

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Ash actually dries very easily. If you are worried about checking ( the cracking you are referring to ), seal the log ends with a couple or three good coats of latex paint. Do this as soon as the logs are cut to length, and saw the logs as soon as possible. This goes for any wood, but ash logs should not sit around long with the bark on because of boring beetles. Not that they are uninteresting, mind you. :D

A decent 800bf capacity dehumidification kiln can be had for about $2500 plus you build the enclosure. It will dry 2" ash or cherry in about a month or so. Whatever you do, don't try drying it too fast. Hardwoods need to dry at a controlled rate until they reach 20% moisture content. After that, higher temps and airflow are OK. 210 deg. is probably way too hot, though. Serious degrade can occur from too high temps, and drying too quick above 20%MC.

For air drying, outside under cover, or an open shed is best. Air flow is important, not only for drying, but to avoid mold and staining. If you have to do it inside, use a couple fans to circulate air.

How are you planning to saw it?

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How are you planning to saw it?

I guess that I would either saw it lumberjack style or with a chainsaw (I'm kinda afraid of them but I know people that aren't)

I am building a house that has tons of huge ash trees and a bunch of cherry trees as well...

si I figured that I could use it....in a few years...

I have made a guitar body from a blank before...

but the wood was ready

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The homemade units I refered to in my earlier post went to 210 F but I should have mentioned that I never saw one in use. I don't know what temp they actually ran at. They were a LOT smaller than 800 bf capacity! Like 200 bf. 4' x 2' x 2'.

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I use wood that has been air drying for like 20 years and I think it has supperior results.  Now I know you dont want to wait that long :D  But I have heard (correct me if I'm wrong) that you can air dry ash for 1 or 2 years and it will be ready to use.  Now thats not such a long wait B)

That's actually realistic...

I would like to have a stack or two of these things around just waiting to be used.....

how does one stacke these what are "good natural conditions" to have this stuff dry in?

I'm learning alot from here and the web it's great :D

I love it....

TIMG

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My father and I cut a lot of walnut, elm, ash, cherry and oak in the 60's and 70's and took it to a sawmill for planking to 4/4 and 8/4. Dad stacked it with charred oak 1 x 1 strips every two feet and coated the ends with roofing tar. After sitting all these years in northern Iowa in an open, shaded shed it is as stable as anything. The solar kilns I have seen speed this process up by maybe 1000% but remember I said maybe. As far as what moisture content is considered dry, I don't know. Commercial lumber does not have a consistent MC. I think they call it quits when they can say "kiln-dried". I have bought stuff that DRIPS moisture after a week.

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Construction lumber is dried to 19% moisture content. Hardwoods are generally dried to 8%. That is a good target to shoot for. Ash does dry a little quicker than most other hardwoods. It also has a lot less moisture to begin with.

Roofing tar will work fine, but has to be applied after the log is sawn ( don't want to saw thru it. ) It's much easier to coat the whole log end with latex paint. The main idea is to keep the moisture from coming out the ends, where it comes out the fastest. If the ends dry quicker than the middle, you get cracks from the uneven shrinkage.

For air drying:

Keep the wood at least 8" off the ground, more is better, and keep the grass cut around it, especially in copperhead country. :D

Keep it supported every 16"-24" for 1" boards, 30" is ok for 2"+

Keep the stack 4 feet wide or less, with 1x1 sticks perpendicular to the boards, between each layer, spaced the same as the bottom supports. The sticks should be dryer than the wood to prevent staining.

Cover the top with old roof tin or whatever, if there is no roof above it already, and put a bunch of heavy stuff on top of it. Keep the sides open to airflow, but shaded from direct sun.

On the sawing, See if you can find a portable sawmill operator for hire. Where are you located?

Also, check out forestryforum.com and woodweb.com. Tons of info at both places. Forestry forum has a very usable search function as well.

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Wow great this seems doable..

I'm located in upstate NY.

there are a few sawmills around local.. mau be I'll talk to them about cutting.. :D

and again thanks.

..

here's the next issue.. I live in snow country.. so I am guessing that I'll need this stuff stored at a t least a certain temp...

I'll do some more reading at the links given to me :D

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here's the next issue.. I live in snow country.. so I am guessing that I'll need this stuff stored at a t least a certain temp...

Nope. It will dry slower when it is cold, but won't be harmed. When it is dry, you will want to store the good stuff in a climate controlled room.

As far as falling the trees, I strongly recommend getting someone who really knows what they are doing, or at least taking classes before attempting it yourself. Contact your local forestry bureau either way, they can help you.

BTW, the ash that you have is much different from the swamp ash that Fenders are made of. Heavier, different appearance, and brighter sounding, but still very nice wood.

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here's the next issue.. I live in snow country.. so I am guessing that I'll need this stuff stored at a t least a certain temp...

Nope. It will dry slower when it is cold, but won't be harmed. When it is dry, you will want to store the good stuff in a climate controlled room.

As far as falling the trees, I strongly recommend getting someone who really knows what they are doing, or at least taking classes before attempting it yourself. Contact your local forestry bureau either way, they can help you.

BTW, the ash that you have is much different from the swamp ash that Fenders are made of. Heavier, different appearance, and brighter sounding, but still very nice wood.

Hmmm, what kind of ash do I have ...

I found a few cool tid bit son how to dry this stuff (thanks to the links you guys added)

and it seems like if I have the stuff I may as well try to do this....

cherry takes much longer to dry I believe but it is REALLLY nice looking wood.. so perhaps that's worth it too?

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You have nothern hard ash.  The southern ash is soft swamp ash.  The type you have is what they make bassball bats out of.

Eww...

I wonder how "bright" that wood would be...

and does that require me to use it like a slugger (jimi hendrix action)

???????????????????

:D:DB)

Edited by allstellar
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As a rule of thumb I use one year minimum per inch of board thickness when airdrying wood.

A cheaper and simpler method of accelerating the drying process is to stack your boards in a dry room and use a dehumidifier.

Well I guess that would be a more simple answer :D

abyone know what cherry sounds like.. It was mentioned as a top on the tonewood list but not as a body....

.

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