Does wood need to be dry to stabilize?

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I have some burls I’m tired of waiting on to dry but they have to be stabilized before I can turn them. Has anybody stabilized wet wood? Will the vacuum pull the moisture from the wood? Will the water vapor damage the pump? I’ll be using cactus juice but my only experience is with very dry material.
 
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duncsuss

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From Curtis's website (TurnTex.com) ...

Your wood needs to be less than 10% moisture. For the best results, it should be oven dry or 0% moisture. The only way you will get to 0% is to artificially dry your wood. Even wood that has been sitting in your barn for 25 years will have moisture in it due to ambient humidity. I place all of my wood in my oven at 220° F for 24 hours minimum to get it to 0%. You may be able to dry them for less time but I don't like taking the time to keep weighing it to see when it has stopped loosing weight so I go 24 hours at least. Bigger pieces will take longer. Then, when you take them out of the oven, immediately place them in a ziplock bag and seal them up to cool down. This will prevent the hot, super dry wood from immediately starting to pick up moisture from the air as it cools. A side benefit is that if your wood does still have moisture in it, it will usually show up as condensation on the inside of the bag and you will know they were not at 0%!
 

greenacres2

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Jay--i'm not the expert, but Curtis suggests very dry, beyond the point of being able to use a moisture meter. If i understand the science correctly, any water vapor in the wood during the cure will add to the amount of juice that gets forced out of the wood. The wood still stabilizes if the moisture content is low enough, but it won't hold as much product.

I picked up a vacuum oven over the winter--and while water boils at 212 F in one atmosphere at sea level...at 29" of vacuum it boils at about 80 F. Moisture DOES mix with pump oil, and can lead to damage. My intent in the vacuum oven was to get a good stable curing temp (trying to stay at 190 in a toaster oven is impossible). But...i tried dying in the vacuum oven. First batch drew so much moisture so fast--i worried about trashing my pump!! Since then i'll pre-heat the oven to about 120 F, put my stock in, draw 29", isolate from the pump and let the temp rise to about 220 F slowly. I can get to super dry from EMC in around 12 hours (i was going 36 to 48 before).

Starting from "wet" like in freshly cut--you may have to slowly cook some of the moisture out before finishing in an oven. If you're in the Phoenix area--how about a solar kiln to speed that up???
earl
 
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Thanks for the quick replies gentlemen! I don’t want to quick dry these burls as I’m certain they will crack and warp (they’re 2-4” thick x 6” wide/long and still very wet) so it looks like I’ll be leaving them on the shelf for quite some time yet. If I was thinking at all I would’ve gone to Curtis’ website myself, so thanks again for doing the legwork.
 

Curly

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I think you should consider getting this little book on drying wood in a vacuum kiln. You can dry your wood in a couple weeks or less without the degradation you get with other methods. You already have a vacuum pump so you are half way there. ;)


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robutacion

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I have some burls I’m tired of waiting on to dry but they have to be stabilized before I can turn them. Has anybody stabilized wet wood? Will the vacuum pull the moisture from the wood? Will the water vapor damage the pump? I’ll be using cactus juice but my only experience is with very dry material.
There is not much more I can say, the answer to your question has been given to you but what I would like to say is that the day someone invents an electric proper kiln dry for wood that we can put together and not cost a fortune (something the size of a fridge or so) not only that person would get rich but I would be one of his/her first customers, waiting for wood to dry particularly if we need it is painful, fan forced ovens can do the job to a point, stopping cracking and warping is almost impossible and that is also painful to watch.

Cheers
George
 
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