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Drying Beech

Beech is a tricky wood to dry: too fast and it checks, too slow and it stains. August 21, 2006

Question
I have some 8/4 and 16/4 qsawn beech that I've recently cut. I am trying to dry it *slowly* while still preventing stain. (That stuff wants to stain overnight.) It's a catch 22 - get it drying too fast, it checks on the sides, way into the center. Take it too slow and it stains. Any words of wisdom? I understand in days past, they used to steam it to sterilize it.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Beech is indeed hard to dry, because of the two reasons you stated. Oftentimes, low temperature kilns are used to avoid damage and yet get it to dry rapidly.


From the original questioner:
It seems like too much air-flow (even without heat) causes massive checking. What to do?


From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Wood dries too quickly due to too low an RH or to too much air, or a combination of both. The Europeans have solved the problem by steaming all their beech, which develops a pinkish color throughout. Then they sell it as European beech. Once checked, the checks cannot be fixed. So, it is a tough wood to dry indeed. Low temperatures help maximize the wood's strength and slow staining.
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