Lumber is a piece of wood that can be used as material for construction, paper production and making different wood products such as furniture. It can be used either as a raw or finished product. The raw product is commonly used in manufacturing furniture. It requires measuring and cutting, depending on where it will be used. The finished product is lumber that has already been cut in different sizes. This will depend on the intended use for the lumber.
One type of wood that can be used either as a raw or finished product is hardwood. Hardwood is a type of wood that is obtained from angiosperm trees. Examples of angiosperm trees are oak, ash, maple, cherry and walnut.
Hardwood is used in variety of ways. It can be used in cooking, furniture, wood sliding doors, window panels, construction and as hardwood flooring. Most of the time, before using hardwood in any product, it first goes through a process of drying. Drying is done to remove or reduce the moisture inside the wood, for it to last longer.
Before drying hardwood, there are some factors to consider. The temperature needed for it to dry, and the moisture level that should be maintained for the wood. There are three important elements for wood drying: heat, air and moisture.
There are different ways how to dry hardwood lumber:
- Conventional kiln drying. In this type of drying method, the lumber is put inside the kiln and is then heated with a temperature ranging from 120 degrees Fahrenheit to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. It is controlled by a machine that is either fully automated or semi-automated. Since there is a possibility that the lumber will be damaged during this process, a wet bulb thermometer is used to continuously monitor the moisture content of the lumber thus preventing over drying, which can cause damage.
- Accelerated air drying. Accelerated air drying uses pre-dryers as the main chamber for the lumber. It is then placed in a room with a normal temperature allowing air to dry it. To make it faster, solar heat is added as a supplemental heat, which should have a temperature of not more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Dehumidification kilns. With dehumidification kilns, warm air is used and is circulated inside the key that absorbs the water. The warm air goes through a machine called a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier converts the water absorbed into vapor that is then released through condensation.
- Vacuum Drying. Vacuum drying uses a vacuum to attract the water from the lumber into a container.
Aside from these four there are other methods that are mainly used for home wood drying. These are vapor drying, microwave drying and press drying.
Hardwood drying is a process that needs patience and continuous monitoring, and not to forget, it’s quite expensive. That’s the main reason why people prefer buying it from retail stores and wood dealers. In buying hardwood lumber, we have to consider the pricing as well as the quality of the product.