How to Dry Wood in an Oven Quickly

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If you’re determined to dry your wood quickly without damaging it, your best option is an oven. Air-drying might be easy, but drying it in an oven can be the most effective way.

So in this article, our woodworkers will discuss how to dry wood in an oven. Keep reading to know more about this process, along with some safety precautions and tips.

Benefits of Drying Wood in Your Kitchen Oven

Using an oven is your best alternative to air or kiln drying. Aside from being the most effective wood drying process, using an oven offers some benefits to your woodworking.

Drying wood

Steps to Dry Your Wood in a Kitchen Oven

Supplies You’ll Need

Step #1: Prep the Oven

While preparing the common kitchen oven, place the center rack wherein the green wood can be placed with plenty of space, and the air can circulate.

Then, preheat the oven by setting the temperature to 200 to 225 degrees F (or 95 to 100 degrees Celsius).

To prevent small, wet pieces of wood from slipping off the oven rack, it is important to securely position a large sheet pan on the lower rack of the oven. This precautionary measure ensures that the wood remains stable and in place throughout the cooking process.

After 15 minutes, check the oven temperature using a thermometer or look at the built oven thermometer, which most digital kitchen ovens have.

Preparing to dry wood into the oven

Step #2: Put the Wood in the Oven

Then, you can put the damp wood in the kitchen oven. When doing this, small pieces of wood should be piled up over the larger wood to prevent them from falling from the center rack.

Bigger wood should be piled using a firewood splitter or a timber-splitting axe. Then, small pieces of wood should be placed vertically into the oven-centered rack grid to keep everything inside the oven.

You should also place a tray with water in the bottom rack to equalize its moisture levels.

Step #3: Allow it to Dry

Wait about an hour to ensure it has been dried to our ideal moisture content. Regularly check the wood’s moisture level. We highly recommend using an electric moisture meter to do this. Also, keep the fire extinguisher nearby.

Step #4: Check Your Wood

You can check how much moisture level every 10 minutes for small-sized wood. For large-sized lumber, you have to wait for 15 minutes, a little longer, or until it has no excess moisture.

allowing wood to dry

Step #5: Unload the Wood and Let it Cool Down

After an hour, adjust the oven settings. Then, remove the wood pieces and place them in the wire cooling rack. You can use a convection fan to speed up the cooling process.

Once the wood is cooled down or has low temperatures, you must recheck the moisture. The desired moisture level should be below 8%.

Safety Precautions and Tips to Note

Our experts recommend following the safety precautions and tips while drying wood in an oven. Keep in mind that accidents are beyond control, so be aware of the safety precautions.

Safety precautions on drying wood into the oven

How to Determine if the Wood is Dry Enough

You can check the dryness of the wood using a pinless and pin-type moisture meter, a tool with two metal contact points.

A pin-type moisture meter should be inserted in the wood to measure dampness with its electrical resistance. You can tell it is dry if the resistance is below 6% to 8%, so you must insert the tool deeper for accurate readings.

On the flip side, a pinless moisture meter does not require penetration to measure the wood’s moisture.

You just need to place the sensor pad on the hot wood surface, which can reach half an inch underneath it. Unlike pin-type, this meter can get readings of moisture quickly.

Checking dry wood

How Do I Keep the Wood from Splitting?

Too much heat can split the wood surfaces and edges, so most woodworkers prefer to air-dry the lumber. However, with time constraints, kiln-dry wood has been the best option for drying firewood.

The standard and effective way to prevent wood splitting is by applying latex paint on the lumber’s ends. You can opt for this method to dry wood without cracking

A few coats of latex paint slow the moisture movement, which can prevent drying defects, resulting in splitting and cracking while drying lumber in the oven. You can also try a traditional method or cutting the ends of the wood to see if there’s a crack.

FAQ

How should I dry freshly cut lumber?

You can dry fresh-cut lumber using an oven. Oven wood drying is a drying method that accelerates moisture movement, delivering dry wood in less than a day.

You will also need a wood-stabilizing solution for your fresh lumber to replace water molecules and makes the wood dries evenly.

How should I dry kindling in the oven?

You can dry kindling or dry firewood in the oven by cutting and splitting the wood into small wood pieces before putting it in the oven. Our experts prove that enough air movement in the oven draws moisture out of the season firewood.

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Conclusion

Now that you know how to dry wood in an oven, you can achieve the ideal moisture content for your wood. Wood drying in an oven is the fastest but it would be more reliable to use moisture meters.

Though it may come with risks, it can be safe for most wood species, as long as you follow our experts’ safety tips along the process.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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