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Thread: hive lumber

  1. #1
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    Default hive lumber

    I've got some lumber that i have been trying to get dry for over a month with a heater and a dehumidifier inside a building , it was stick piled for 2 months before and it's still wet. I have to get things made ASAP . I am wondering what the worst thing could happen with lumber that is a little wet still ? I am planning to glue the heck out of it and stack the boxes and strap them tight so they won't warp too much.

    Any suggestions ? other than buy dryer lumber : P

    Ben

  2. #2
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    The wet lumber isn't wasted, its just not dry enough yet. Wait a while. It will serve well for next year's boxes.

    Making hive bodies from wet lumber is unlikely to lead down the road to happiness.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Look for the straightest grain and make the boxes over size. Once the boxes dry you can shave them down to the right size. I don't think gluing damp wood will buy you much. As the wood dries the bonds will break.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  4. #4
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    > make the boxes over size.

    Notice the project engineer was careful not to specify what "over size" actually measures.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Sap wood dries different than heart wood if you cut your wood over sized (if you could guess the right size) as it dries each piece will dry different, your boxes will be warped and out of square and could pull apart. The wider the wood the worse it will be.
    I would wait a year before using fresh cut wood. Or have it kiln dried. Whoever cut your wood should know someone with a kiln, it only takes about a month.

    I would wait to plane your wood after it has dried. Drying changes the shape of the wood.
    Wet wood warps, cups, bends and twisters worse if it's not stacked with spacers.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    > make the boxes over size.

    Notice the project engineer was careful not to specify what "over size" actually measures.
    I would make a medium box 1/4 wider and a deep box 3/8 wider. He is going to shave a little off after they are dry in 5 months anyway. Nothing says he can't stack the boxes 10 high and put a 5 gal pail of water on top to hold them down.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Look for the straightest grain and make the boxes over size. Once the boxes dry you can shave them down to the right size.
    "shave them down to the right size ".... Really?

    What about fasteners? Do they get quick shave as well?

    I would be ordering boxes...
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    If you want to dry that lumber faster than air drying, you must enclose the lumber and the de-humidifier in a sealed box with a vapor barrier of some sort. Otherwise you are just attmepting to de-humidify the air in the entire neighborhood and it won't make a bit if difference to the lumber.

    Seal it up with a flow control device of some sort (a baffle, really) that directs the air through the lumber stack and let'er rip. In a few weeks, water will stop collecting in the de-humidifier and you can start applying heat to kill the bugs, if any, in the wood. Get it up to 120F or so for a couple days and you will be good.

    No way to hurry it, and if you need boxes fast, buy either dry lumber or commercial boxes. Making them out of wet lumber will result it twisted, warped, and split boxes. The amount of pressure drying lumber produces is incredible, a 5 gallon bucket of water on a stack of boxes will do absolutely nothing to keep them from twisting. Lumber cups and warps with several tons of weight on it.

    Peter

  9. #9
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    > a 5 gallon bucket of water

    The gift that keeps on giving ....
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Not worth the trouble to use it this year. Buy new lumber, and get it dry for next year.

    Crazy Roland

  11. #11
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    I'm just finishing building boxes from wood I got from a mill last Fall. I had it indoors in about 35% humidity for months. The thing I couldn't believe was how much the dimensions changed. Some boards that started out 9 5/8" ended up being closer to 9 3/8" - losing a full quarter inch. And this lumber wasn't crazy wet to start with...

    Adam

  12. #12
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Wood does change dimension as its moisture content changes. It happens in our houses all the time. Sometimes we never notice. I have one door that touches the floor all summer long then in the winter it swings free. (I have been saying for years that I am going to fix it.)

    I am sure that the same thing happens to our bee boxes, but we don't notice it, so it doesn't bother us. I doubt that few of us have deeps that are exactly 9 5/8" all year long.

    I agree with those who suggest that Ben save this lumber for next year, but if he is stuck he might take a chance and cut the boxes a little oversize and give them a try. The problem is, as was stated, how much over size to cut them.
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    Ralph

  13. #13
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    If you want to dry that lumber faster than air drying, you must enclose the lumber and the de-humidifier in a sealed box with a vapor barrier of some sort. Otherwise you are just attmepting to de-humidify the air in the entire neighborhood and it won't make a bit if difference to the lumber.

    Peter
    Say what? and what other method do you know of to dehumidify. That is actually used on lumber anyway. I understand your point about making it a smaller volume of air to dehumidify and I agree with that. but it is still only dehumidifying the neighborhood. If is just a smaller neighborhood. so if that makes no difference to the wood how will it help?

    Okay I do know a thing or three about drying wood. ramp up the heat. and I mean just short of boiling. do not case steam to form in the wood it will destroy it. then expose it to cold air repeat. about 3 repetitions and your wood will be dry. Just in case you really want to know. moving water requires energy. heat is energy. add energy water moves. is no longer in wood. That is your physics lesson for today boys and girls.

    I can dry wood in a microwave in 30 minutes or less. and that is from sunkin at the bottom of the lake to bone dry. I have done it hundreds of times.

    Another method and I don't recommend it plus your wood will be far to large to consider it anyway. boil it. boiling ruptures the cells of the wood causing moisture to be released faster.

    final suggestion. go to sawmillcreek.org and ask woodworkers how to handle wood.
    Last edited by Daniel Y; 03-23-2013 at 07:19 AM.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Quote Originally Posted by ralittlefield View Post
    The problem is, as was stated, how much over size to cut them.
    You got the shrink rate right here:
    Some boards that started out 9 5/8" ended up being closer to 9 3/8" - losing a full quarter inch.
    That is why I said 3/8 bigger for a deep and 1/4 for a medium.

    BC, most people don't have fasteners out to within a 1/16 of an inch. How do you do that without splitting?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #15
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    DAniel,

    the microwave technique you describe will destroy anything thicker than about a 1/2"....widespread checking and internal stress

    Microwave kilns are great, but they still take much longer than 30 min to dry wood in a controlled, consistent way that does not case harden or honeycomb the material.

    ramping up the heat on green material, without a corresponding increase in ambient humidity will cause massive surface checking....there is a reason for the complicated heat/time/humidity schedules (that vary by species and thickness) used in kilns.....but hey what would commercial processors know about drying lumber...it's just there living?

    boiling will do nothing to speed drying and it certainly does not rupture cell walls...except perhaps with a few high density species. Steaming can be effective to release free water in the wood but you still have to deal with the bound water which is what actually causes the dimensional change.

    I use both boiling and steaming commonly in my work to bend both dead green and dry material....cells walls are not harmed (except sometimes during the bending). You do trade off a certain amount of lignin damage if the high heat is applied for prolonged periods.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Thanks for all of the ideas.
    I have a large heater in a small air tight building and my Dehumidifier on all the time and it is constantly sucking out moisture, it has slowed considerably the last couple weeks. I also have a fan circulating air in and around the stick piled lumber , so i guess time will tell. I did have a 70,000 BTU Kerosene forced air heater going in the building , but i had to check on it so often i didn't feel safe with it going all the time , plus the fuel gets expensive : ) It gets hot enough in there with the electric heater on , i think it's around 23 C all the time. But i think it would be cheaper for me to just buy boxes at this point for what the electric bill will be LOL . I tried to find 7/8 dry lumber and noone has DRY lumber , it's air dry outside in the snow . All of the Hardware stores have only 3/4 lumber . Unless i build some out of 3/4 ??? i would have to buy 1 X 12 to get the deeps because i believe a 1 X 10 planed board is 3/4 x 9 1/4 .

    What to do , what to do hmmmm.

    Ben

  17. #17
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Ben,
    If you are talking about small quantities it is pretty hard to beat the price of a commercially milled box that is already dry and the size you want. If you are trying to economize, follow around contractors and pick up their scraps for nothing. You are in the north so if all you can find is 3/4, double it. The box is the small part of the weight. I laminated 1/4 plywood to the 3/4 pine that I got for free and it makes a wonderful box.

    http://i697.photobucket.com/albums/v...eBodies016.jpg
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #18
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Little View Post
    I did have a 70,000 BTU Kerosene forced air heater going in the building
    The kerosene heater will add moisture to the air...
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  19. #19
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    the last time i checked [last night] kerosene and electricity for a heater were too expensive to use saveing money on wood. you could just get some commercial or budget grade woodenware. if you want something custom spend the extra money on some dry wood. if you refuse to pay the freight take a vacation roadtrip to a bee supply house. or you could just be patient and let the wood dry for a year undercover. beekeeping today is difficult enough without bad or oddball equipment. you live far enough north to know that wind blowing thru the hive all winter is not helpful..

  20. #20
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    Default Re: hive lumber

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    The kerosene heater will add moisture to the air...
    BC brings up a very interesting point!

    From an Extension document from Clemson University:
    New moisture problems are being created now because for every gallon of kerosene burned in an unvented kerosene heater, 1.1 gallons of water is produced.

    Full document here:
    http://www.clemson.edu/psapublishing.../FYD/HL256.PDF
    Of course, that 1.1 gallons of water is from the combustion process itself, not water extracted from the wood you are trying to dry.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

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