How can you know that the kiln operator you choose knows what they are doing?
Wood drying expertise is crucial when looking for a trustworthy place to dry your lumber. Make sure to ask about the level of experience. A beginner’s mistake can leave you with firewood, so seek a person who really knows what they are doing.
This raises the question, “How do I ensure that the wood I’m about to have dried will be done properly?” I believe it starts with an operator’s attentiveness. They should be asking many questions about the wood, what type, when it was cut, what has been done with it since it was cut, when is the wood needed, etc. A beginner may not know the right questions to ask.
It is also important to understand the type of kiln that will be used. Will the lumber be dried in a vacuum kiln or conventional kiln? This question is important to understand the associated costs and make sure that the kiln is capable of drying the wood in accordance with your timeline.
A simple way to get a baseline of your kiln operator’s wood drying expertise would be to consider their credentials. Do they have the proper training, college level drying course, and advanced course certification? If so, then you can rest assured that you have a lumber drying professional.
It’s not to say that a professional will never have wood that dries and has defects. However, the chances of a novice mistake are virtually eliminated by someone with wood drying expertise. Some of the common mistakes made by novice operators are related to heat and timing. Heating the wood too hot, too fast can create additional checking or cracking to the lumber outside of its normal rate of checking. Some new kiln operators may even dry it too slow and create some stains. Remember, defects to the wood show up in the drying process as a result of how the wood was handled in the harvesting and staging steps.
How can you tell if an operator knows what they are doing? In addition to asking questions about the wood and the project, they have been through the certification courses. If they are a member of a kiln drying association (such as the Great Lakes Kiln Drying Association or the Ohio Valley Kiln Drying Association), they attend conferences pertaining to wood and kiln drying, and they are known by other industry people, it is a good bet that you can rely on their wood drying expertise.
If you have a lumber drying project, or if you are simply interested in learning more about the kiln drying process, please give us a call at (513) 581-0361 or use the form on our Contact Us page to reach out.