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Any one have experience or advice on using air dried lumber vs kiln dried for their hive bodies and supers? I have found a mill that can supply me with green lumber, cut to spec. I would then stack and sticker in at my shop for a few months before making my woodenware. The price difference I have found makes air dried very attractive. I am a little concerned about the ends checking, but even if I loose 8" on each end of every board, I'm still way ahead of the game price wise. What am I missing in thinking this through? Thanks!
 

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I've used green air dried material for wooden boat frames. Biggest problem you're going to have is cupping and warping as it dries. I just screwed the pieces to the shop wall for a few months and let it dry out. Works fine if all you have is a few pieces, but for hive bodies you're going to have a lot of wood. And, they'll never dry in a few months if they're stacked.
 

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I have used air dried lumber. No problem. Dry it as long as you can first with the stickers. The boxes are not furniture and usually don't need the same moisture controls as pieces that will be inside and have a winter heat cycle dry them to extreme low moisture content. I don't even paint mine and have had no problems. Using a box joint is better than a rabbit joint I believe.

Jack
 

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Your in Georgia so you can forget about using that wood in a few months. need to stack n dry for at least a year. Coat the ends with elmores glue to control checking or you can use another solution. I think you can find solutions to use in dicks encyclopedia. You can get a demo copy at librum.us i think
 

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A box joint is nice, if you have the jig to cut it. If not, a rabbit joint will work, but be sure to glue as well as nail (or screw). It is also much quicker to cut the rabbit joint.
 

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In general, I have found that air-dried lumber works better for outdoor projects, and kiln-dried works better for indoor. It's all about relative humidity. Indoors are usually drier than outdoors. If you bring relatively wet wood into a dry environment, it will dry out and shrink, and warp/twist/cup/split. Similarly, if you bring relatively dry wood into a wet environment, it will absorb moisture and expand, and warp/twist/cup/split.

That said, bee hive supers are not fine furniture by any stretch. Use whatever you can get cheap, and if it moves/splits due a difference in humidity, I'm sure a couple of well placed deck screws, glue, and/or paint will hold it together and keep the bees happy. At least that worked for me. :)

Mind you, if you're air drying your own, then you will need to be a lot more patient than a couple of months, as Wolfpenfarm has said. Very rough rule of thumb is a year of air drying per inch of rough lumber thickness, but only a moisture meter will tell you for sure. You will want to paint the ends with some kind of sealant to keep them from drying out too fast and cracking big time. The already mentioned glue will work, or any left over oil based paint, or special-purpose log end sealant.

Cheers.
Grid.
 

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I've air dried, and bought air dried. If you buy now, have it planed to 3/4" thickness, sticker it to dry until the fall, move it into your shop and sticker it, it ought to be ready to work in January/Feb. and you'll have the equipment ready for next year. Though that may be cutting it a little close, it ought to be workable.
Regards,
Steven
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the input! Even if I have to wait, at less than 1/3 the price of lumber at HD I don't think I can go wrong. The key will be in the stack I think. I'm going to give it a shot and I'll post results if anyone is interested.
 

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Check online for building a simple solar kiln.

I've made some bee furniture from pine that had only been air dried a couple months - if that.

You might want to invest in an inexpensive moisture meter. Get the wood down to 12% is fine for hive bodies.

Building bee stuff is another good reason to buy TOOLS :D
 

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kiln dried is way better. Here are the true facts on green air dried lumber it will warp, twist, buckle, bow, and do things you do not want. Why? because of the drying prosses. air dried lumber has no constant controled temp or humitiy. were as putting in a kiln at a controled temp for x hours will greatly decrease the problems noted above. As one who come from the Pacific North west were Timber is King this something that was taught to me years ago.
 

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round here you make do with what you got.
mostly southern yellow pine here. look at tree an read it before you cut it.
dont care if you kiln dry or not some is only good for pulp wood dont matter how good your operater is.
get you a metal detecter an a planer. run that detecter over that lumber before you plane it if you didnt cut it.
 

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I disagree with honeydreams. Grid has it right.

Air dried is better for outdoors (ie. beehives) and kiln dried is better for indoors.

i live in Florida where it is so moist, that kiln dried wood is too dry and it will warp and check once put out in the environment and it picks up moisture. It is rarely under 50% relative humidity here and often (in summer) in the 90-100% range.

Kiln dried lumber will be down to 5% moisture and air dried will be 10-15%, so if you take a kiln dried piece of wood it will warp and check as it picks up the 5 to 10% moisture from the air. It's the same warping as the drying process, just in reverse.

One thing missing from this conversation is a discussion about planing.

You should cut the wood to 7/8 or maybe even 1" thick and then sticker, stack, paint ends, and dry. It will inevitably warp and check some. Then you need to joint and plane it to get it flat and smooth, and to make it 3/4" thick exactly. Then you can make boxes out of it and you will have pretty good luck.

Yes it is true some boards will warp beyond use. Still if the wood is cheap, you can come out ahead.

Another tip. If a board is warped badly over an 8 foot length, then cut it a bit longer than the box sizes (ie 20.5") BEFORE planing it. Maybe it is off by 1" over the 8 foot length, but only 1/8" over the 20 inch length of one box. If you had cut it 1" thick to begin with, then this is still in the usable range.

Good luck.
 

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I agree with NT Blues about bigger is better. you will notice more shrinkage cross grain than in length. IOW 10" is good, but 10 1/8 or 10 1/4 might be even better.

By doing it this way you'll have enough extra material to run it through the jointer a couple times and get one nice straight edge. Then you can use that edge against the fence on the table saw to rip a parallel straight edge on the other side of the board.

Good luck.
 

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I've been useing this method for years with no problem. I get the lumber 1" thick and 8" wide, and 1"X 12". Some pieces shrink more then others. depending on weather it takes 3 to 4 months to dry. You will get some bad boards but you usually get a better lumber at a better price.
 

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Is there any reason that hive lumber has to be dressed (planed)? Why not just have the lumber sawed at 3/4 inch thickness or perhaps 7/8 inch to allow for shrinkage during drying. And, then make boxes, etc. from rough sawn lumber. The price should be cheaper and paint would adhere better.
 

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As mentioned earlier you should look into a solar kiln - it's not much more than a sheet of plastic over your stickered stack and some provisions for ventilation. You can also use a dehumidifier to "kiln" dry lumber at home. Heat isn't the issue, removing moisture is.
 

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Yes, but all that costs money and/or time and time is money. Are there any disadvantages to using 3/4 inch rough sawn lumber?
 

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Yes, but all that costs money and/or time and time is money. Are there any disadvantages to using 3/4 inch rough sawn lumber?
The reason for planeing is to get the sides slick so water won't stay on. You could plane one side. Which i've done. Air dryed is all i use. I had some under an open shed that i put a window fan blowing down thru. Dried pretty good.
 
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