Hand Tools Archive

wood drying/checking

Jack Guzman from Maine
I use green hard maple for chair legs. I buy it by the log and process it by hand. I cut the log into just longer than the longest blank I will need for chair legs/parts. Then I rive it into roughly 2" blanks. Wider sometimes depending on final dimension needed. Next I turn these blanks into the biggest round I can get out of the blank. The next step is where my question comes in. I like to dry these rounds for a few days in my heated shop to allow some of the water to evaporate. I paint the ends with anchorseal. To make a leg I will cut to finish length after this drying period and turn a leg in the lathe leaving the tenon large. At this point I place the tenoned end in a hole in my kiln for drying. I dry this part completely. I got impatient recently and turned the leg after only one day drying. When I put it in the kiln it began checking . I took it out and air dried it a day and tried again,no checking. Why did this occur?
I have tried putting a round in the kiln to speed up drying and the whole piece checks and splits.
What I need to understand is what is the process that causes checking? What happens to the cells to make the wood crack? How can I accelerate drying without checking?
I should mention. My shop is heated to 60 deg.with a vented propane heater. The heater lowers the humidity in the shop noticeably.

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