How to Dry Maple Lumber

What You'll Need
Maple lumber
Plastic sheet
Lumber blocks
Roofing material and tarp
Coating material/Sealant

Maple lumber is a popular raw material used for flooring and carpentry projects. It is used for flooring, molding, cabinet-making, countertops, etc. However, before the lumber can be used, it needs to be processed and dried. While lumber can dry naturally, it manages to throw off only a fraction of its total moisture content. Hence, the remaining moisture needs to be removed. If the lumber retains its moisture, it compromises the strength and durability of the wood. The drying of maple lumber can either be done manually or in a kiln. Here’s how you can dry maple lumber.

Step 1 – Prep the Site

Procure the maple lumber and get the logs sawed; you can either saw the logs yourself or get it done at a local saw mill. It is best to mill the wood at its earliest so as to ensure the wood does not catch fungus. Level the site where you will be drying the maple lumber. Also, spread out a moisture-soaking barrier between the ground and lumber; a plastic sheet works as an effective barrier.

Step 2 – Make the Base

Build a base for the maple lumber using lumber blocks. Create a slightly elevated hold for the lumber; this allows air to dry the piles from underneath. Also make provisions for the runoff water in a way that makes sure there is no contact between the water and the lumber. Be sure to give the base adequate support so as to hold the lumber without any problems. Once the base is ready, you need to stack the piles on top of it.

Step 3 – Stack the Wood 

Before stacking the maple lumber, be sure to use stickers. Stickers help in stacking the maple lumber without damaging the lumber. Also, stickers help the stacked lumber dry without resulting in any cracks. Stickers should also be made with maple lumber and should have about 10% moisture content in them. Once you have got the stickers at hand, stack the lumber between the stickers. Now, you can either continue air drying for the season or use a kiln. If you have access to a kiln, simply load the lumber into the kiln and process it. If not, continue with the following steps.

Step 4 – Create a Cover

Once you have stacked the maple lumber, add a covering on the top. Prepare a hold for the roof, and then make and place the cover over the maple lumber. This roof helps keep harsh light, rain, and other natural elements at bay. Secure this roof tightly so that it does not fly off in case of heavy winds and rains.

Step 5 – Maintenance

While you leave the lumber to dry, it is important to perform a regular maintenance routine. Begin by preparing the lumber ends with a coat of sealant. Usually, the ends of the lumber dry faster than the rest of it, causing an imbalance in the drying process and damaging the wood. Half-way through the drying season, adjust the stickers so that there is no sticker staining the lumber.