The water in a living being like a tree is more than just content in a tank which can be filled or emptied. The example with the oboes shows that at the end, kiln dried wood contains the same amount of moisture as wood which has been dried for 30 years. However, oboes made from kiln dried wood crack whereas seasoned wood doesn't, it stays stable and resonates.
The ability of wood to absorb and release moisture can be compared to a sponge. Timber which has been stored for a long time matures and dries slowly. It stays in shape even when the humidity is fluctuating, whereas younger and kiln dried wood tends to warp and bend. This principle always applies.
However, wood used for building and furniture manufacture has shorter drying and storage times than the highest quality wood used to build instruments. Depending on the type of tree and intended use, one to three years of air drying are sufficient here.
The rule to remember is: The faster the wood is drying, the more it will warp and twist. This is called the sponge effect. It means that on humid summer days, this type of wood absorbs more moisture from the surrounding air, expands and works harder than wood which has dried naturally over some years.
A stack of sawn boards which has been stored outside for a few years (protected from water), has been exposed to hot summer days as well as freezing winter nights. These boards have not only dried, they also experienced and adapted to the different weather conditions. This 'memory' has a relaxing effect on the wood.
In those years of storage and slow drying, something else and as important is happening: oxidation and several other processes cause the breakdown of nutrients for insects and fungi. This natural process to preserve wood is not happening when speeding up the drying process with a kiln (which takes from a few days to weeks).
Some economic experts who visited our saw mill showed utter disbelief when they saw a stack of oak boards which had been drying for four years. These boards were to be used for a solid wood floor at some stage. Four years of tying down capital when everyone knows you might as well kiln dry it in just a few days or weeks. How can you afford to leave this kind of capital lying around for such a long period?
From a business point of view this might seem right. However it doesn't have anything to do with using wood in the most ideal way.
The purely technical way of drying wood fast, unfortunately misses out on all the subtle benefits of working with nature. The resulting wood often needs to be treated with questionable preservatives or glues. Treated wood ends up as toxic waste and cannot be returned into the natural cycle to turn into valuable mulch and nutrients for other plants. It also cannot easily be burned either. This toxic waste is the beginning of a dead end road.
Holz100 Canada Inc.