Saturday, January 26, 2008

This morning I worked on boxes and then the day became too beautiful to be indoors, so I stacked and stickered the walnut and cherry lumber that was delivered yesterday. When the afternoon turned cool, I went back to my boxes. It is ironic that people will do everything they can to avoid physical labor but spend money monthly for memberships at fitness clubs. It seems to have something to do with appearances and the social stigma attached to manual labor. Working out at the gym, sweat flying but with just the right kind of spandex, thumbs up. Work clothes and moving lumber, forget about it. But they really don't know what they're missing. There are feelings of satisfaction that arise from physical work.

To air dry wood, it has to be placed on a stable foundation. You "sticker it" by placing 3/4" - 1" square sticks between each layer. The sticks should be placed directly over each other to prevent unnecessary warp, and the stack should be covered to protect from both rain and sun. Initial moisture content of this stack measured 32%. After about a month, with adequate drying conditions (wind and warmth), the moisture level should drop to about 20% and I should be able to move it into the barn where it will drop over the next year to about 8% and be ready for use. Many craftsmen prefer air dried wood to kiln dried. It has been subjected to much less stress in the drying process and has noticeably better working qualities. It is not as brittle so it works better with hand planing.

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