Author Topic: Tips for Seasoning Hickory?  (Read 198 times)

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Offline mmattockx

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Tips for Seasoning Hickory?
« on: April 08, 2021, 11:07:51 am »
A friend in eastern Canada sent me two hickory boards cut from a standing tree this winter. The sap was down (of course) and it was frozen when cut. He let them dry for a couple weeks in a humid shed, then shipped them. Being much drier here than in Ontario the boards were starting to check just from the shipping exposure. I have them wrapped in garbage bags now, sitting in an unheated shed.

Is there anything else I should do with them to minimize the checking and how long should I leave them in the bags before exposing them to air?


Thanks,
Mark

Offline Fox

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Re: Tips for Seasoning Hickory?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2021, 01:15:53 pm »
Shellac them anywhere they are checking (usually just the ends)


Or ruff a bow out and shellac it, it will dry fairly fast that way...
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Offline Dances with squirrels

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Re: Tips for Seasoning Hickory?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2021, 01:40:09 pm »
I cut two big hickory trees a couple of years ago. The butt logs were frozen inside when I took them to my buddy's sawmill. We cut them up and I brought them home and put them in an unheated part of my garage. Only the ends are sealed. Most are quartersawn boards 1 1/2 to 2 1/2" thick, and vary in width from 4" to 12" or more. There are staves and billets too, some had the bark still on, and I sealed the backs of the ones that didn't with shellac. The only checks I saw last time I looked was in the center of a couple of the widest boards that were taken from near the center of the logs, and they didn't go in far enough to cause me any real concern. I'm going to cut them up anyway.

I would unwrap them and put them in the coolest place I could find with no air movement. A basement, a shaded shed  or garage, something like that. Sticker them so moisture will leave from all sides evenly.

You don't want to leave them wrapped in plastic for any length of time. They may get moldy and begin to break down inside.
Straight wood may make a better bow, but crooked wood makes a better bowyer

Offline gutpile

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Re: Tips for Seasoning Hickory?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2021, 02:19:22 pm »
agree with dances.. also depends what part of country you are in.. definitely get them out of the bags...you will need to get them below 12% not below 9%.. in south they won't get below 15% outside no matter how long.. slow dry will prevent checking.. you can seal ends and back and let belly dry.. checks are usually sightly but not critical... being that thick 1 1/2 to 2 the checks shouldn't go deep enough to even be an issue.. get the bark off though bugs will ruin them..reason why center was checking is where the majority of water in stored.. you should be good though.. gut
to take from nature the materials needed to take from nature the meat needed...they all die from natural causes osage, rivercane, stone points,...

Offline mmattockx

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Re: Tips for Seasoning Hickory?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2021, 04:23:30 pm »
Or ruff a bow out and shellac it, it will dry fairly fast that way...

I plan to use them for lam bows, so won't be making any staves.


Most are quartersawn boards 1 1/2 to 2 1/2" thick, and vary in width from 4" to 12" or more.

I would unwrap them and put them in the coolest place I could find with no air movement. A basement, a shaded shed  or garage, something like that. Sticker them so moisture will leave from all sides evenly.

These are 2" thick x 6" wide or so and close to quartersawn for much of the material. They were checking all over the 2" surfaces, for most of the length.


agree with dances.. also depends what part of country you are in.. definitely get them out of the bags...

It is very dry here, near desert levels of humidity much of the year.

I will pull them out of the bags on the weekend and get some sealant on the ends. Hopefully the checking on the 2" sides doesn't run deep.


Mark

Offline willie

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Re: Tips for Seasoning Hickory?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2021, 05:36:14 pm »
I think you are prudent to control the rate of moisture loss, especially as the local RH is low.  The boards can become "case hardened" if the surfaces dry(shrink) faster than the moisture can migrate out from the center of the board.  What ever strategy you choose to control RH at the surface of the boards, I would also include a provision for frequent inspections, as your process will evolve as the boards gets drier.