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  • Writer's pictureHorizon Wood Products

Standing Up New Structures: Air Drying Infrastructure

One key step in the production of quality hardwood is what happens in the time between the sawmill and the dry kiln.  The goal in this time is to safely and carefully reduce the moisture content of the wood from +50% to the fiber saturation point.  There are a number of theories of how to properly handle this “pre-drying”.  One school of thought is to put the lumber straight into a kiln and completely control the environment, another uses a pre-drier – which is a pseudo dry kiln, and then you get into the realm of air drying. 

Air Drying T-Sheds at Horizon Wood Products

Many feel that air drying is the best option, but it needs to be done right.  Aside from the importance of properly stacking the lumber – straight stickers and neat rows of risers, to successfully air dry lumber and boule you need to let nature run its course with some careful guidance and control.  Over the last few years we have erected some substantial T-sheds to give us the best tools to accomplish this task.

The new design allows us to control excessive sunlight with canopy curtains, excessive air flow with hanging curtains, and manage the air dried inventory with easy access to all packs.   We can group special cuttings in specific areas to more accurately control the conditions around certain hard-to-dry items, or can go with the random-access warehouse approach with easier to dry items. 

During the summer months you may find Dan or Pete hanging out in the T-sheds while on long phone calls.  It’s a great place to get out of the office and away from the mill.  The canopies provide cool shade with a gentle breeze, and the buzz of the saws is replaced by the gentle creaks and pops of wood shrinking as it slowly gives up moisture.  It’s really a wine-cellar at work.  Who wouldn’t want to hang out there?!


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