Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means it readily attracts water from its surroundings, through either absorption or adsorption, gaining moisture content as a result of humidity changes in its environment.
Before wood can be planed and cut to size, it needs to go through a drying process. Wood moisture will eventually evaporate by itself but a process called kiln drying is used to speed up the process and is a standard practice at wood production mills. Kiln drying also helps reduce the risk of buckling, crowning, twisting, and warping, which are all problems that can sometimes occur in the drying stage.
The two most commonly used kilns are dehumidification and conventional kilns.
A dehumidification kiln reaches a temperature of 95º to 100º F and hot air is circulated over the wood. The hot air is then cooled by passing over refrigeration coils which allows for the evaporated moisture to condense into liquid, and drained out of the kiln as cool water.
At Forest 2 Home, we use a conventional kiln, which utilizes the flow of steam being pushed into the kiln through pipes, radiating heat into the kiln’s atmosphere. Then, moisture from the wood is converted into vapor, and emitted from the kiln with hot air.
Once the wood reaches 6-8% moisture content, it is removed from the kiln. This range of moisture content is optimal for hardwood that will be in interior locations at its final stage and will lower the likeness of expansion or shrinkage. However, we still recommend that you let your hardwood acclimate to the environment you will be working in for at least 3 days before starting your project.
Do you have questions for our woodworkers about our kiln drying process? Send them our way on social media @shopf2h or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to discuss our process with you, so you can understand each step we are taking to get our hardwood to your home.