Did you know that your very oven at home may be used to dry wood? It is the nature of dried wood to burn with greater heat, producing less smoke compared with freshly cut lumber. Strength and durability are also increased as a result of the hardening of the structures of the cells in the wood. Drying wood outdoors could take several months to complete. The good news is that a kitchen oven can achieve the same output for just a couple of hours, or even less. In this article, let us take a look at some DIY wood hacks in drying wood in the oven.
1. Drying Small Wood Pieces in a Microwave Oven
A microwave oven is often the best tool that you can use for drying small wood pieces. The following are steps that you can do to achieve this process properly.
- Weigh your samples of wood with a postal scale. Set the measurement in grams, placing your wood into it.
- Use a moisture meter to measure the wood’s moisture content (MC). There are two options on moisture meters – pinless and pin-type. For pinless options, you simply need to press the base of the scanning plaint on the wood, turning the meter on. On the other hand, if you are using a pin-type meter, press the two tips to the wood, activating for reading the moisture content. Record the value, which is usually in the form of a percentage from 0 to 100.
- Set your microwave to the lowest setting and place about 15 to 25% of the wood for 45 to 60 seconds. Put three to five paper towels on the plate, and put your wood on top. Set the microwave to low, looking out for signs of smoke.
- Heat 30% of moisture content for about 1.5 to 3 minutes at the next heat level. For most models, this could be the Defrost level. Place 5 paper towels, place wood on top and start.
- Weigh the samples after the first round. Lost weight means that the moisture has left. The ultimate goal here is to heat wood pieces until a point that there is no weight change, achieving a stable moisture content.
2. Drying Medium Wood Pieces in a Conventional Oven
- Preheat conventional oven to a temperature of 217 degrees Fahrenheit (103 degrees Celsius). Place one rack on the bottom of the oven, with one in the center. Prepare a huge baking pan on the bottom rack. Place an oven thermometer on the middle rack in one of the far corners.
- Adjust the settings of your oven until it reaches the ideal temperature. Monitor your thermometer once every ten minutes. If the temperature becomes too high, lower it down, increasing it if it is too low. If you have a kitchen fan, turn it on to make sure of optimal airflow.
- Place the wood in the middle rack for an hour. The pieces should not be touching. Continue to monitor temperature and adjust accordingly.
- Test the moisture content of wood after an hour, reheating for an increment of 15 minutes as needed until you reach the desired content, or until the levels are already stable.
3. Speed Up the Process of Drying for Bigger Lumber
- Process lumber as fast as possible. This process opens up the wood, helping up in the drying process, preventing stain and rot from potentially affecting the wood.
- Place the wood in shaded storage with enough airflow. Focus an electric fan on your wood in between cutting sessions. This also helps in improving airflow and circulation. This will also help in drying out wood faster.
- Seal ends of every wood piece after cutting as this avoids moisture decay. There are end grain sealers that are formulated especially for this purpose.
- Stack wood in a uniform arrangement. The purpose of this is to expose all of the sides to ventilation and airflow.
- Cover the upper part of the wood using a plastic sheet or tarp. Avoid covering the entire stack to the ground as this will only hold moisture on. As you cover only the top, every piece is shaded adequately without unnecessarily trapping moisture.
- Use a moisture meter to measure the moisture content. As mentioned earlier, you can choose between pinless and pin-type moisture meters.
- This process is good preparation for the actual drying of wood in an oven. This can help cut time, especially if you are cutting fresh, moist wood.
Working with dried wood is easier than working with one that is too wet. The DIY hacks mentioned earlier in drying wood in an oven can help you achieve what drying outside would have otherwise taken you months to complete. The hacks mentioned above may also be combined to achieve the best results. Have you tried this method before? Any tips to share? We would love to read about them in the comments section below.