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Post Oakie
Post Oakie's picture
;Fungus among us

I'm not saying it is hot and humid here in southwest Missouri, but in the 24 hours between milling and stacking for air drying, this sycamore sprouted an amazing amount of mold. I guess I'll have to sticker wood pretty much as it comes off the mill until cooler. Hickory is also bad this way.

eddiemac
eddiemac's picture

It's been an uncharacteristically wet June and early July in your (and my) part of the midwest, but not as hot as usual. I think if it was hotter, there might be less mold. I've given up on running the fans in my solar kiln until we get steady sun with temperatures in the 90's. Nice ray fleck on the second board up. I've never sawed sycamore but understand it can be very pretty when quarter-sawn. Do you have luck marketing hickory? I know it is on the market, but recently discussed the subject with a cabinet-maker who used it once and said "never again."

r.garrison1
r.garrison1's picture

I remember working on a house once where most of the trim was hickory. If I recall correctly, I had to pre-drill most of the holes because my nail gun wouldn't set the nails in the wood. Superb to shape, but tough to nail.

eddiemac
eddiemac's picture

I think he was complaining of difficulty at the shaper due to the hardness of the wood and the cost of replacing expensive shaper bits. I've got gobs of hickory where I live, but haven't used it for much besides firewood.

Post Oakie
Post Oakie's picture

I sell a little hickory to custom woodworkers, but that's about it. Most of the rest goes onto the firewood pile. I had an infestation of powder post beetles that hitch hiked into the house on a bench I made from hickory, so until I get a way to heat treat it, it goes straight to the wood stove. It is a tough wood to saw, too, much like pecan.

Baron
Baron's picture

Postie, 

If you could tell me what sizes of stickers are recommended for various conditions it would be helpful. I had heard from friends that thinner works better for conifer and thicker works better for hardwood. I'm not sure I understood their reasoning for this but perhaps you could comment with your usual clarity to the benefit of us all.

 

Baron

Post Oakie
Post Oakie's picture

I can't answer for pine, but I generally cut 7/8" thick for hardwood, though a lot of people use 3/4".  The only reason I can think of for going thinner (1/2" minimum) would be in a hot, dry climate where you want to restrict the air flow through the stack to slow down the drying process.  The only disadvantage of going thicker than 7/8" that I know of is that the stickers take up more height in the stack, and you can't get as many layers of boards for a given height.  Since I cut most of my lumber 1-1/8" thick, and I cut stickers from slabs & low grade lumber, my stickers are 7/8" by 1-1/8".

While on the subject, it is very worthwhile to weigh down the tops of the stacks to hold them flat, cover them to keep off the sun & rain, and end coat the boards (better yet, end coat the logs when they are first cut).  I use AnchorSeal, but even a couple of layers of latex paint will help prevent end checking.

However many stickers you cut, you'll never have enough!

Overall, there is probably more wood wasted because of drying issues than any other part of the process.

You raise an interesting question, and it will be interesting to read what other sawmill owners have come up with.

Baron
Baron's picture

Does the following make sense: cut all stickers 1 1/4 x 3/4 ( or in your case 1 1/8by 3/4)? Then use the taller stance to sticker wet cut (summer cut hardwood) lumber and use the short profile for winter cut (sapless). 

I plan to use Latex paint to coat the ends but I sure would like to hear all the arguments for the choices that others make. One can never be too resourceful or knowledgeable.

Bill
Bill's picture

When it comes to stickers you end up with a very large no. of them and my experience has been make them all the same size to avoide sorting or getting them mixed up.

Bill

Baron
Baron's picture

Sounds like sage advice. Is there any possibility that taller stickers will allow  better airflow and therefore diminish the potential for mold? Or is a faster drying environment, created by more circulation, a potentially bigger threat ?

Post Oakie
Post Oakie's picture

Interesting idea, but I've never had a problem with fungus using 3/4" tall stickers.  You'd be surprised how quickly the surface of the wood dries out and once that happens, there is no growth of fungus.

Baron
Baron's picture

Hmm. Then I fully understand how you use up below grade lumber by cutting 7/8 slices from your Inch and an 8th below grade boards. Sounds Perfect. 

 

Thanks Post Oakie. 

renckl
renckl's picture

I have been reading comments and this is first post. I have a LM2000 on a 40 acre tree farm in South Carolina. I saw pine, oak, hickory and black cherry. I grow black walnut. I also make rustic tables, benches and other furniture.When I saw I saw the slabs into stickers. I usually saw 3/4 or 1 inch for rustic furniture. Thus I saw the slabs 3/4 or 1 inch to make stickers 3/4 X 3/4" or 3/4 X 1". I can then sticker boards mostly with 3/4" stickers, but sometimes I saw a log to both thicknesses, so when I stack, if I have a  mix of 3/4" and 1" boards for a final layer or two, I can take a short 1 inch thick sticker to make it match height to add a 3/4 inch board beside the 1 " boards or vice versa. Just be sure you do not mix the two thicknesses in one layer. By sawing the 1" slabs to 3/4" thick stickers, I can easily turn it a quarter turn if I did put a 1" sticker in a 3/4" layer of boards.

Post Oakie
Post Oakie's picture

Renckl, good plan.  Would love to see some photos of your furniture.  Do you have a web site?

DaveM
DaveM's picture

It's been one of the wettest summers I can ever remember here in Western NY.  I cut some 2" beech slabs & stacked & stickered it in my steel building / workshop.  I used 1" stickers & placed a fan in the near vicinity to facilitate some air flow.  After 2-days, I could have used a straight razor to shave the white mold off of them.  The tree was a blowover, but was not touching the ground.  I estimate it was down for about 6-months.   Anyone have any ideas on how to possibly avoid or at least diminish this ?

Baron
Baron's picture

Dave, Burn it. No mold that way.

Seriously, I've been wondering if there is any fungicidal benefit to be had from any of the boric acid products. I cut Beech this past weekend and it is fine but the temps are lower now (50's). I was really wet......like a sponge.

Baron
Baron's picture

I meant to say it was really wet (beech) instead of I was really wet. Hmmm

Bill
Bill's picture

Dave the maple I just cut a couple wks. ago did the same thing but was only 1" boards. By the time I cut the second one a few days ago the first one was drying out but I had flipped them every day for the first few days the fuzz was going. Yours being 2" thick may take a llittle longer for the surface to dry enough to check the mold.

DaveM
DaveM's picture

Baron....almost a bit too much information there.....sponges and all......

I had my steel building spray foamed this summer.  I am currently putting a wood burning stove in.  Just waiting for the permit from the code officer.  I am going to try stacking all the air dried lumber inside the workshop & getting it real warm inside for a few days.  I have several ceiling fans as well as a couple of regular fans & am hoping I can somewhat speed up the drying process by running the fans & keeping the stove stoked for a few days.  At the very least, it should curtail the beard growing contest some of the lumber has been having. smiley

DaveM
DaveM's picture

On the other hand...if I let the fuzz grow for an extended spell...do you guys think the slabs may develop some spalt if I did not let it go too far & turn the slab punky ?

Bill
Bill's picture

It may be worth a try Dave to set a few aside and see what happens but you'll have to remove the stickers and lay the boards on top of each other. It takes quite a while before they get punky but I'd sure keep an eye on them every mon. or so.

DaveM
DaveM's picture

Thanks Bill.  Good idea to remove the stickers & dead stack for a while.

Anyone have any thoughts about the "hot shop" idea ?

smithbr
smithbr's picture

Air moisture content is a function of temperature, so as you heat air it's relative humidity drops; so heating the air in the shop will promote drying by reducing the RH, in turn pulling moisture from the wood.  The trick is to remove the humidity from the air before letting the shop cool, to prevent the extracted moisture from condensing out all over, not to mention the rise in RH in the air in general as it cools.  When you have the shop up to temperature, run a dehumidifier flat out and extract as much of that water as possible.  drain it outside.  Keep it running as you lower the temperature, until you reach about 50 F.  At that point, the dehumidifier is at risk of freezeup, so you'll need to monitor it. 

Another way to get rid of that moist air is to vent it to the outdoors, allowing cooler outdoor air in for replacement.  Increases the amount of energy required to hold the temperature, but avoids the humidifier.  You can cycle the hot-cold air scenario repeatedly, and it should do a good job of pulling moisture from the wood - at the cost of the energy involved.

This is how we dry out our cottage at the end of a winter visit - heat the place up with a roaring fire (use short term wood, like a stack of dry kindling, so there isn't a long run-time), then open the windows and doors and do a complete air exchange with that sub-zero air.  Shut down the fire, keep exhausting until the place is cold, then close it up.  Noting worse than a cottage full of warm moisture-laden air buttoned up for the winter.  In the spring, you get that classic 'cottage' odor.

Baron
Baron's picture

Unless I'm mistaken once below about 50 degrees decay pathogens are less problematic. Any kind of air movement will help dry lumber to safer levels. Below 50 degrees I'd just leave it outside in the moving air. Am I mistaken?

Post Oakie
Post Oakie's picture

I've dead-stacked lumber and gotten some pretty nice spalting.  It works best on light colored woods like hickory, maple, ash, & sycamore.  I did a Google search, and Bora-Care is supposed to kill fungi, though I've never tried it.  Wouldn't hurt to use it to kill the bugs, too.  A lot of people use it.

Baron, you're right about less problem with decay in cool weather.  It takes warm temperatures and humidity for the fungus to grow.

Baron
Baron's picture

I worry though that if I put Spalted or decaying wood into my confined storage area if it won't continue to break down and infect other healthy wood in storage. Bora care sounds like the cure but I'm not there yet. 

Baron
Baron's picture

Has anyone made their own Boric acid product to treat fresh lumber?

 

 

Post Oakie
Post Oakie's picture

As long as you have the pile stickered, good air flow, and low humidity, the fungus will not spread, and the fungal action will stop when the wood gets down to around 15% moisture content.  If you try boric acid, let us know how it work.

Baron
Baron's picture

I am more worried as out PPB. I have a bunch of red oak and hickory w/PPB.  In the ensuing years I'm sure to have allot more. If it does what they say then I can see using it preventAtely on the most succeptable varieties. 

Bill
Bill's picture

Never brought it up before now but the last maple I milled up had the same white fuzz on it the following day but by the time I remembered to bring a camera it had disappeared . From the log a made up a few doz. bowl blanks for the lathe I'm drying in plastic bags that I turn inside out every day . Condensation builds up on the plastic and the bags slow the drying process down the last ones I did took 4 or 5 months . About 1/2 the blanks have these mushrooms growing on them .

Some are all ready dry enough they have dried up and fallen off, this is after 6 wks. Within the next few wks. the moisture content should be low enough to deal with the fungus. There are also some large blanks I kept out of the sun and are now on top of my wood pile at the shop I'm hoping the frost will suck a lot of the moisture out without creating cracks in them.

Post Oakie
Post Oakie's picture

Great photos, Bill.  Really shows what the fungus can do.  Hopefully it is causing some nice spaulting inside the wood.

I've had powder post beetles in the house from some slab furniture I made out of hickory.  Really don't care to repeat that experience!

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