How to stabilize the wood?


Dry the wood! 

The number one thing keeping you from stabilizing better is wet wood. Listen, I get it. Why do you think I am going to great lengths to convince you of this point? I’m doing my best to speak from experience, and help you avoid all the mistakes I made.

Okay, so you think you are hearing me now. That’s good! You know you need dry wood, but how? Now you are asking the right questions. With a heart full of commitment to dry the wood no matter how long it takes. Let’s begin.

You are going to need an oven of some kind. At Carved, we have graduated from the recommended starter toaster oven. But believe me, it is a great place to start and you are going to do fine. Do not be tempted to think, “it’s easy for you guys, you have an industrial oven.” It is all about dry time, not oven power.

 

Set your oven to 220° F put the wood inside and wait. It’s as simple as that. 24 hours in the oven is a great baseline and the amount of time I use daily here at the shop.  In the past, I’ve run dry cycles of up to 36 hours. 

24 hours is a long time, I know. Please I cannot overstate the importance of being safe in this process. Make sure you have the proper electrical cords and power supply to handle the energy needed to operate the oven safely. Take all other precautions possible to set up your wood drying in a safe way.

After 24 hours in the oven, your part is going to be very dry. Follow the measurement process I laid out in my last article to confirm you have reached 0% moisture in the wood.

 

One last sneaky trick I want to make you aware of. It is important to get the wood out of the oven and into a sealable container immediately. Remember that EMC we talked about earlier? The wood is going to want to start racing back to reach that equilibrium as soon as you take it out of the oven. If you take the wood out and leave it on the table for an extended period of time (like I did so many times) it will begin to absorb the moisture in the air.

I know what you're thinking… “I’ll do you one better and put the wood directly under the Cactus Juice.” Ha! Tried that myself. The only problem is that the surface of the wood is so stinkin’ hot from the 24 hours in the dry oven that it can begin to cure the resin on the surface of the wood. Thus inhibiting the true and thorough cure of the wood.