HOW TO AGE REDWOOD LUMBER - In FIve Steps
Redwood is the premier hardwood commonly used in and around homes. For example, redwood is used for decking and fireplace mantels. Before you use a piece of redwood for construction many find that aging the wood gains optimal appearance and functionality. Aging or curing is a process in which you allow wood to dry. You can take your redwood to a kiln and have it dried in a matter of a few days or you could age your redwood on your own.
1. Locate level ground and place evenly spaced rows of railroad ties or cinder blocks far enough apart to lay your redwood for drying. It is important to have level ground to prevent your stack of redwood from falling. Wood is usually air dried outside. However, if you have a small amount of lumber, you can air-dry it inside in a dry attic or a dry closet. Avoid basements, as they tend to have high humidity.
2. Place a redwood board across your railroad ties or cinder blocks. Evenly space stickers every 12 inches on top of the first redwood board. Stickers are thin pieces of wood approximately 1/2 inch thick that you place between each row of boards. The stickers keep the faces of your redwood from resting against each other. This helps to increase airflow, speed up drying and it prevents cracking, twisting and warping.
3. Place the next redwood board on top of the stickers and then complete the stacking by alternating stickers and boards. The height of the stack depends on the width of the boards. Do not extend to a height that makes the stack unstable.
4. Paint the ends of the boards with an end sealer. End sealer is grease applied to the ends of the boards to prevent the boards from splitting. If the end of a board splits, the split could travel the full length of the board. Apply the end sealer with a paintbrush.
5. Drying times are approximately one year per 1 inch of wood thickness. Achieving a 16 percent moisture rating is good when air-drying lumber. This typically yields wood for in-home use. You can purchase digital moisture readers that will tell you exactly how much moisture your redwood has.