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I've purchased some timber from a local builders merchant in which I'm going to built a desk with. I've already done this once, and experienced wood shrinkage due to the moisture content being too high during construction.

I am aware I need to alter my construction methods to allow the wood to expand and contract.

However, is there a way to reduce the moisture content in the wood in a short period of time. I'm thinking to improve the situation, instead of dry it out completely. I'm aware drying it quickly may lead to splitting.

If I had unlimited time I'd chop the wood down to the rough size and store it for a year or so... but that's not feasible with my timeframes.

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2 Answers

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Dry-Fast-No Splits.. pick two.

Kiln drying is art and science. Cutting to rough length, width and thickness and stickering in a slightly elevated temperature (100F - 110F) room with a fan and a dehumidifier would approximate a mild kiln experience.

You need to rotate the stock end-for-end and re-layer (re-sticker) weekly.

Having a good moisture meter will be critical. You can finish dimensioning the lumber when you are within 5% of your goal. Unless you are in a museum, +/- 15% RH swings are common indoors, and much higher outdoors.

These guys (I'm not affiliated and have no experience with them) advertize custom drying for your wood.

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Many thanks for your answer, very informative. I certainly need to learn more about drying wood, I can see my second desk contracting substantially like the first. Thanks again. –  Ben Everard Sep 7 '13 at 19:12
    
I put them in my garage which is made of iron. It gets nice and warm in there thanks to the sun and wood dries quite fast. Dehumidifier would make it even quicker. –  Matt Sep 9 '13 at 4:55
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Space heater, fans, blow dryers, sun, sit it on a roof on hot days (no rain)... Basically how you would dry anything but this is too big to go in a dryer.

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Thanks for your answer, I am concerned about splitting the wood though. I might have to put this one down to experience. :-) –  Ben Everard Sep 7 '13 at 19:14
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