Wednesday, 29 November 2017 13:28

Proper Drying of Tropical Lumber Makes a Difference

 The difference between tropical lumber dried in the US or overseas is very noticeable.   Lumber that is too dry, too wet, dried too fast or too slow, can wreak havoc on the manufacturing process. 

IMG 3843Here at Baillie Lumber we work with a trusted group of sawmill partners throughout Africa, Central and South American. We rely on them to supply sustainably harvested tropical hardwoods.  We also prefer to purchase our lumber into the United States as air dried so that we fully control the drying process.

We know this approach increases the time and the cost of our inventory, but we prefer to handle the drying of these expensive woods at our own facility to control the quality of the lumber we offer to our customers.  We consider this a very important step in the process when dealing with these expensive species, (African Mahogany, Sapele, Spanish Cedar, Caribbean Rosewood and others).

dry kiln test cove cityAt our Cove City, North Carolina yard, our kiln manager is meticulous about his drying techniques. We gather daily samples from the kilns to monitor the drop in moisture and do not rely solely on built-in moisture meters for readings. This allows us to closely follow the drying process from end to end. This is important because when dealing with imported tropical lumber it is not uncommon for kiln charges to start at moisture levels near 50% and have to be managed down to a proper level of 6-8%. Without proper management and oversite this could cause significant degrading to the lumber.

From our experience, some of the suppliers of KD lumber overseas are not truly aware of the terms conditioning and stress relieving. We find that those of us here in North America are very aware of these issues and are very thorough regarding the process. Experienced kiln managers can be commonly found cutting samples from the lumber to check for stress in the wood and observe how the pieces line up afterwards. If specimens have not been dried properly the small pieces would move and not line up after being cut.  This also means that the same would happen when a customer tries to use improperly dried lumber in their manufacturing process, which is what we work hard to prevent.

If you are looking for high quality tropical hardwood lumber, that is dried properly in the United States, consider Baillie. We would be happy to help you succeed!drying tropicals

Jesper Bach
Baillie Lumber
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