How Long Does it Take for Chopped Wood to Become Usable?

By: albertaarb - July 25, 2016

Do you have a dead tree or overhanging branches on your property? If the wood is in good condition, it could be useful as firewood or even as a building material. But how can you tell when it's ready to be used?

How Long Before Wood is Dry Enough to Use?

Unless you're just throwing it on a campfire, wood can't be used to right away. Lumber has to be dried first. How long this takes depends on the method used to dry it, as well as a number of other factors. As The Wood Database explains, the length of time that drying takes can depend on "wood species, initial moisture level, lumber thickness, density, ambient conditions, and processing techniques." Air-drying lumber takes about one year per inch of thickness.

How Can I Reduce Drying Time and Get the Best Results for My Effort?

In addition to cutting the wood into usable shapes and sizes, you'll also need to prep it properly for storage while it dries. You'll want to store wood in consistent conditions with a steady temperature. According to Wood Magazine, you need to seal and sticker the wood before storing it. To help the wood dry evenly, seal the end grain with paint or with a product specifically designed for this purpose. To sticker the wood, "cut several thin, narrow pieces of spacer material" and then place them between the blocks or boards you've prepared. This allows air to move around the wood while it dries. Weighing down the prepped wood can also reduce warping or cupping.

How Can I Tell if Wood is Ready?

Given the number of variables involved in drying time, you won't be able to come up with much more than a rough estimate at first. So how can you determine where your wood is dry enough to be used as lumber? Wood Magazine recommends using a moisture meter.

Leave the Heavy Lifting to Us

Cutting down a tree or a heavy branch on your own can be dangerous; let us help you harvest the wood you need. We offer everything from trimming services to planting and fertilizing.

At Alberta Arborists, we have helped countless people get rid of trees safely and efficiently, and we can help you, too. Our highly experienced arborists are trained to deal with tree removal in any location and can ensure no damage is done to your property.

Click here to contact us or call the number at the top of the page for a free, no-obligation estimate of your job.

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