drying wood

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Original poster
Apr 14, 2006
chilhowee missouri
has anyone used their smoker as a kiln to dry green wood using
charcoal for heat . I just cut some small pecan, maple, and pear
limbs and don't want to wait 6 months to try them out.
what do you think?
Hey, Todd! You pose a very interesting question based on a very popular misconception. Here goes;

"Kiln Dried" lumber is actually "dried" by a hot steam process. The hot steam keeps the capillaries of the wood open as it forces out the sugar and starch (converted sugar) bearing sap from the wood.

The sap wants to stay in the wood to ensure its survival. A non dried stick placed into the ground will have food (sap) to energize root development and sustain it until leaves are formed and food is once again being produced by photosynthesis.

By attempting to dry wood, especially spring cut wood, with heat only you are trapping the wood's food supply inside and this will lead to creosote formation and off tasting smoke. Do it the long slow way or suffer the result!

The best way to dry fresh cut wood for smoking would be as follows. Let's say you have a maple tree to dry. Process the smaller limbs first into usable pieces. Stack so that air can circulate around them. Then cut the larger limbs and trunk pieces. Cut all pieces into the length you will be using. Most maple, though some can be gnarley, is pretty straight grained and can be easily split. And again, stack with plenty of air circulation available.

BTW Most of the maple I process is for warmth. But the creosote thingy is just as important to me! Only for different reasons.

Hope this info helps!
Once again, an interesting question is posed. And there are several answers.

Standard log length firewood is allowed to set for up to a year. Once the ends of the logs are "checked" (I'll explain later) and assuming a bit of a gray appearance they are ready to be sawn cross grain into the desired length for splitting into firewood.

Checking is the appearance of many little splits in the end grain of a log. The more splits and the more uniformly split the drier the wood. Now to relate all this to the smoker.

The faster you want your wood to dry the thinner you will make your crosscuts. If you have a green log two feet in diameter then you will want to cut it into "rounds" no thicker than six inches. Also, understand that if you have a ten inch log you still want to crosscut it at six incheds. A smaller diameter log will take as much time to dry as a larger diameter log of the same length. By the way, six inch rounds from large logs are usually very easy to convert into smoke chunks".

For smoking, once the sap is dried out we wet down the wood to use in the smoker. This is putting only water back into the wood. Not all the stuff that makes a tree grow. The water slows the burn and creates smoke.

Hope this helps, Blitz!
I am only putting into print what many have known for eons! I depend on wood for heat as well as entertainment. While I grew up using wood as such if one takes the time to visit the library the essential knowledge is also there as well. Some live it, some find it, some learn it the hard way. But all knowledge is available to everyone if you know where to look for it or how to ask for it. Don't ever be afraid to ask!
My neighbor and me just cut up a bunch of cherry wood. It was about 14 inches in diameter, so we layed down a big tarp and cut the logs into 2-inch thick disks. It dries fast this way, and we swept up all the sawdust off the tarp and put it into big plastic bins and stirred it around for a few days so it would dry. The disks split into smaller pieces easily with a whack from a hatchet.
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