If you’ve done a little research into furniture making or saw the mysterious words “air-dried” describing a wooden table and looked into it, you may wonder what the deal is with drying out the wood before using it. Does it make a difference to the final live edge table you receive? Read to find out more!
Why Would You Use a Kiln For Live Edge Wood?
Kiln drying is a common practice across the furniture-making industry. It’s even used in production mills to bring down the moisture levels of “green” lumber! By reducing the wood’s moisture, a piece can become workable and easier to use for a project.
There’s another way of drying out wood, which is letting the air around it remove the moisture. Leaving wood to dry on its own can take a long time, however. This is why it is recommended to use a kiln when you have the option.
What Is Kiln Drying?
Drying out the wood used in furniture making is essential to making pieces that will last a lifetime. It is even more necessary for the massive slabs we use to make our signature live edge surfaces!
A kiln is a tool that can control the humidity, temperature, and air circulation to remove the proper amount of moisture from the wood. When we get it, we consider green wood to have 100% moisture content; before Wood On Steel can use it for a table, we have to reduce the slab’s moisture content to 20% or less relative to where it starts.
When using a kiln the first step is to put the wood into the kiln’s chamber, where heat passes through a heat exchanger (not unlike how your home furnace works!). The kiln’s ventilation system controls the humidity levels and takes water extracted from the slab during the heating process out of the chamber. Remember, there’s a lot of water in the wood, so when it leaves the material, we have to direct it out of the chamber!
What Kiln Drying Can Do For Your Furniture
Kiln drying is such an important process for furniture making. Many big-name manufacturers use the words “air-dried” to pass off something as more durable than it is. Many who buy a piece of furniture advertised as air-dried bring it home, only for the wood to warp and crack after a few short months. The wood was likely left to dry, sure, but not sufficiently before they turned it into a table!
One common point of all live-edge furniture is how it reuses the material from nature, preserving the inherent value of a tree and allowing for the continued use of beautiful hardwood. When the furniture maker does not dry the hardwood before using it to make furniture, they essentially waste the wood’s potential!