An Introduction to the Seasoning of Timber by W. J. Kape

By W. J. Kape

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It can now be seen how important to the economics of the business, is the correct drying procedure. Badly dried wood that has split, twisted and distorted, does not only create higher wastage factors, but reduces the quality by one or more grades. It is no exaggeration to say that a tree with 100 per cent volume, may only produce 25 per cent of usable material, and in extreme cases a much lower figure. Let us assume that the entire yield of timber is of first quality stock. If this is badly handled in drying, the quality then becomes second quality or even lower.

In fact no more than one thousandth part of 1 per cent, so it is obvious that having evaporated this tiny amount, it must be replaced by fresh air, otherwise drying will cease. It is essential, therefore, not only to separate each board by means of sticks, but to ensure a steady air circulation through the stack. Obviously, if each stack of timber is placed far enough away from the next, air movement, however slight, would be able to circulate freely throughout each stack. If, however, they are placed closely together, the tops and the outside boards only would get the benefit of drying air, while the centre and bottom of each stack would not dry at all, plus the fact that because drying was sluggish, all sorts of dis­ coloration and decay would quickly become apparent.

It is, there­ fore, essential that all assessments of moisture be made within the 33 THE SEASONING OF TIMBER framework of a specialized drying technique. Firstly, when the small sample sections are weighed, meticulous care must be taken not to cut the samples too near the ends of the boards, nor to allow them to dry out before weighing, and to remove any loose slivers before weighing, since the loss during drying of one or two tiny wisps of wood will adversely affect the result. An error of 1 g in weighing 30 g will cause an error of about 3 per cent in the calculation.

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