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LEFT OUT TO DRY

KNOW-HOW

Discovering a gorgeous piece of wood is a treat—so much possibility! But you’ll want to dry it properly for best project results.

Imagine wood as a bundle of paper straws. When green, wood has a high water content within the straws, as well as some in the straw walls. Water loss is greater out the ends of the straws (end grain) than through the walls. The objective is to empty these straws to a point where the wood is stable.

You need to slow water migration by coating the end grain with any old paint or wood glue, diluted 2:1 with water to make it brushable. When drying whole wood (stumps), be aware that the outer rings will shrink more than the inner ones, causing small checks (splits).

Store the drying wood on blocks or pallets to allow for air circulation, and keep it covered from rain and direct sunlight with weighted metal roofing rather than a tarp. Boards stacked horizontally, with sticks between for air flow, need a year per inch of thickness to be properly dried for working with. Wood chunks, such as stumps or driftwood, can be used as soon as they stop feeling wet and heavy; their dimensional change isn’t likely to affect projects. —Sean Ledoux

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About Cottage Life

Have hammer, will cottage? The Fall issue of Cottage Life will help you get a jump on finishing up your summer projects, closing up for the season, or starting on next year’s building plans. Get inspired by (and get the secrets to designing) the new classic cottage: a sleek, green, modern cottage with the heart of a cabin in the woods. Find plans for the ultimate DIY kids’ bunkie, jam-packed with features like a zipline, a climbing wall, and monkey bars. Outsmart the mice with our expert animal-proofing advice. Become a firewood pro with tips and a guide to splitting, stacking, and storing your wood, and sharpening your chainsaw. Make a simple firewood storage tower in a weekend. Read up about your best options for waste water, including septics, grey-water systems, holding tanks, and composting toilets. Plus, when it comes time to pack up your kitchen, don’t haul home a summer’s worth of leftover hamburger buns and broken cookies. We’ve got recipes to help you turn them into a feast to end the season. The issue also includes your discount for the Fall Cottage Life Show. Pick up the Fall 2018 issue today for the best of autumn at the cottage!