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storing stock wood and moisture content

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by gun fitter, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. gun fitter

    gun fitter Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Buying A nice piece of wood for your next custom stock can be both frustrating and exciting at the same time.

    Before any wood is turned into a final product(gunstock) It should be properly dried or seasoned.

    Air dried wood can take from 1 year to almost infinity to dry.
    I have cut large blocks of American black walnut that was stored outside but covered from rain with full air circulation that were soaking wet after 7 years.

    How should you store blanks of stock wood? In a dry place away from the weather. No basements ore under a kitchen sink! Warm is good but not when it's really wet. The ends of all blanks should be sealed with wax unless they are really old and re-cut from larger pieces. I like an attic or a barns loft. The summer heat will actually drive any unwanted moisture away.

    Buying wet wood. Buying wet wood is a way to save money and makes a good investment if you buy enough of it. If your buying wet wood always ask about the moisture content. If its over 16% be cautious. Most wood that is in the 12-15% moisture content should be somewhat stable and a good choice for home drying. When storing a blank of questionable moisture or one that is more than around 8-9% you should make sure that there is room for air circulation on all sides to avoid cupping. I find that some of the wet Turkish or English walnut(same tree) Will dry quite well over a summer if stored as I have described above. Just be prepared for a few years at times.(Be prepared for some loss from checking with wet wood. Sometimes minor and occasionally severe enough to ruin a blank) That's why undried wood should run you about 50% of dry wood.

    Most of my wood that I use dates back over 10 years but I have used blanks as soon as 14 months.

    Kiln drying and steaming are ways of killing bugs and driving away unwanted moisture however they are inferior to air drying. When the wood is steamed or heated the fibers of the wood are altered and somewhat weakened. This does not make the wood unusable just not as good as air dried.

    How to tell what your getting? Make friends with a reputable wood broker or stockmaker. If they have been around more than 10 years chances are they are in it for the long haul and wont steer you wrong.

    Hope this clears up some of the Questions about buying wood.
    Later I will be making a post about grain layout and structure.

  2. threedeuces

    threedeuces TS Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    Nice info and thanks. Look forward to your other threads.
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