Friday, 20 March 2009

A delivery of wood

I had a delivery of Ash turn up today. It is for a Hall table and a matching wall mirror.

It was sent to me from the merchant who is just outside Bristol. The lorry that delivered it was big enough to move a couple of households. The wood itself was all packed up safe on a pallet.

Unfortunately, the lorry driver dumped the wood off in front of the building before I could get down to him. Sadly where he put the wood was the other side of the building to where the lift is. Guess who had to move it all round the building to the lift…..

Being English timber, the wood normally arrives waney-edged with the bark left on. I could feel that the wood was still a bit damp, as it is air-dried timber. Wet wood is no good for making furniture, so I need to dry it out a bit. Here is my plan of attack.

The first stage is work out the best way to get the components from the wood – keep wastage low, get the best grain pattern etc. I know all the dimensions of the components, so it just means looking at all the wood and making a judgement call.

Next stage is to rip off any bit of bark, sap etc, as there is no point in keeping them on the wood. There is a big bag of firewood in the workshop now up for grabs!

As the wood is still damp, about 14% moisture content, and needs ideally to be at about 10%, the final stage of my plan is to put the wood in our kiln for a couple of days. Now this isn’t the sort of kiln most people think of – the sort used by potters for firing pots. This kiln is rather less violent and doesn’t require loads of heat! Basically the kiln we use for drying wood is a big box made from chipboard. Inside the box you place the wood to be dried. Here is the clever bit. Also in the box is a dehumidifier. Nothing special, just like the ones that can be purchased at local DIY superstores.

Once the kiln is sealed up, the dehumidifier will suck all the moisture out of the air, which causes moisture in the wood to replace that lost in the air. Hence the wood gets dry.

I will leave it running over the weekend and check on Monday to see how much moisture the wood has lost.

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