The craftsman who makes wooden furniture, who produces garden houses, sells firewood or needs construction timber knows how important it is to be able to count on properly treated wooden boards. What makes this material particularly fascinating is above all its ability to ignite warm and comfortable atmospheres in any environment. This happens because wood is a living material, and as such it must be “prepared”.
How to dry wood?
Using freshly cut wooden boards would lead to furniture and wooden artifacts destined to create swelling and cracks, caused by the strong presence of water, and to attacks by fungi that would biologically deteriorate the material. The treatment to have woods suitable for the most varied processes is contained in the drying, which can be natural or artificial. The first is done in the air, arranging the stacks of wood in dry and ventilated places, and the boards take years before they can be worked. To ensure perfectly state-of-the-art workmanship, it is in fact necessary to reach humidity levels of less than 20%, and the boards during natural air drying lose on average one year for every 5 cm of thickness to reach this level. Then there is the risk to consider that, in all this time, the boards are attacked by fungi which, if not identified, would end up contaminating all the material.
Artificial drying, what are the advantages?
The same result can be obtained by placing the piles of wood inside special cells, and then subjecting them to a treatment that eliminates excess humidity in a few days. Thanks to special heated panels, or by ventilation of the stack, the heat is then transmitted to the wood, thus leading to a process of water evaporation. By quickly removing the excess water, the risk of attacks by bacteria and fungi is also eliminated, since we are going to act on one of the three elements (water) which makes this material easily attacked.
But the biggest advantage is that of reduced treatment times, which allow you to have wood ready for any type of processing in a few days.
What are the optimal moisture levels for wood?
How much humidity can be reduced with the drying process? To prevent biological degradation problems it is necessary to reach levels below 20%. When we talk about wood intended for making furniture, the percentage drops further and we should be able to reach around 10%.
A natural drying carried out in a workmanlike manner allows to reach the maximum wooden boards and beams with percentages of humidity equal to 12%, while the drying carried out inside a special oven allows to regulate the process and thus obtain wood with the desired percentage of moisture.WDE Maspell is a leader in the production of machinery for drying wood, and from its headquarters in Terni supplies the best dryers for every type of processing.