Found Source of White Oak Board

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WithOrWithoutU2
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Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:40 pm

I've tracked down a source for rough cut white oak boards from a small custom sawmill. The boards are about 10 ft long, 9 inches wide, and 1 1/2 inch thick. The mill reports the stack has been air drying for 1 1/2 years. No chemicals or kiln dried. It has about 14% moisture left. My only concern is they have been drying under a leanto. So while it has been weathered from changes in temp and humidity outside in the midwest, it has not been exposed to rain or snow. If I read things correctly on this, it is the repeated process of being washed by rain, air dried, wash by rain, air dried, over and over that rids the board of tannins. IF I AM WRONG please advise.

I've picked up two boards. I plan to cut them down about 3ft in length, 4 1/2 inch width and then just stack in a grid and leave outside to get washed by rain. Given they've already dried out, will my process still work? Or should I give them a good soaking in a 55 gallon drum of water first?

Thanks

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by acfixer69 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:00 pm

I'm no arberist so take this with a grain but you need to be sure it's the heart wood oak. I buy used barrels and chop them up to make my own sticks.

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by OtisT » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:41 am

Just my personal experience, I’m not a pro.

1.5” thick is nice. :D 1.5 years of air drying is about the bare minimum it takes to dry green QS oak that thick. Most go a bit longer, so I’m told. Once they get below 15% moisture for the first time, they should not warp (much) because most of the cell walls have hardened, even if their moisture goes way up again. You should get them down below 5 before trying any toasting, or they can split more easily during toasting as the moisture try’s to escape.

If you plan to cut those down shorter they 3’ eventually, maybe do that now. Assuming your boards are QS, the end grain of those boards are where the wood channels are that “breath”, so shorter sticks means your wood will season quicker.

The outdoor wet/dry cycle you stated is my understanding of the process of seasoning as well. You should not need to soak them if they will be getting naturally wet soon anyway. If your not getting any rain soon, you could let them dry a bit more to make sure they harden, then soak or hose them down repeatedly until they are wet again.

I have a couple hundred board feet of QS Am Wh Oak and QS Oregon Oak merins stacked outside now. I rotate the stacks every few months. During summer months when it’s dry I soak and/or hose them down when they get dry, ~7% or lower. The way I see it, I can get an extra season or two on them doing extra wet/dry cycles during the summer.

An added benefit of soaking the wood is that it makes identifying heart wood from sap wood very easy. The sap wood soaks up a lot more water than heart wood and it swells more, making it super easily to see the sap wood.

Good luck. Otis
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:33 pm

OtisT wrote:Just my personal experience, I’m not a pro.

If you plan to cut those down shorter they 3’ eventually, maybe do that now. Assuming your boards are QS, the end grain of those boards are where the wood channels are that “breath”, so shorter sticks means your wood will season quicker.

Good luck. Otis
Otis, thanks for the advice. I do plan to cut sticks to infuse in quarts, and 1/2 gallon jars. So maybe 6 inch sticks. But for seasoning, shouldn't I have a longer length and width than the actual size of the sticks? What size would you recommend if you think 3' x 4 1/2" is too long?

Also I assume QS = Quarter Sawed. I think they are just flat sawed. Would this change anything from your perspective?

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by OtisT » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:45 am

WithOrWithoutU2 wrote:. Otis, thanks for the advice. I do plan to cut sticks to infuse in quarts, and 1/2 gallon jars. So maybe 6 inch sticks. But for seasoning, shouldn't I have a longer length and width than the actual size of the sticks? What size would you recommend if you think 3' x 4 1/2" is too long?

Also I assume QS = Quarter Sawed. I think they are just flat sawed. Would this change anything from your perspective?
I cut as little as possible, so it depends on how clean the wood is. Maybe 1/8” shaved off the ends, unless it looks like you got mud or something else up in the grains, in which case I would cut until it’s clean. A little raccoon pee never hurt anyone. :crazy:

Yes, QS means Quarter Sawn. For sticks, it don’t matter how the wood was cut. The grain only comes into play for barrels.
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
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Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:18 pm

Thanks OtisT. You've been a big help.

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:32 pm

OtisT wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:45 am
WithOrWithoutU2 wrote:. Otis, thanks for the advice. I do plan to cut sticks to infuse in quarts, and 1/2 gallon jars. So maybe 6 inch sticks. But for seasoning, shouldn't I have a longer length and width than the actual size of the sticks? What size would you recommend if you think 3' x 4 1/2" is too long?

Also I assume QS = Quarter Sawed. I think they are just flat sawed. Would this change anything from your perspective?
I cut as little as possible, so it depends on how clean the wood is. Maybe 1/8” shaved off the ends, unless it looks like you got mud or something else up in the grains, in which case I would cut until it’s clean. A little raccoon pee never hurt anyone. :crazy:

Yes, QS means Quarter Sawn. For sticks, it don’t matter how the wood was cut. The grain only comes into play for barrels.
So I've let these season outside this whole time. Been through 2 winters, 2 springs, 1 Fall and in its second summer now. I've not cut the board but am looking to cut them down and do some toasting.

Question: These things are completely gray. Should I clean them up any before toasting by taking a wire brush or sand paper to them? They are not dirty. Just wondering is I should sand/scrub off the grayed wood.

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by dukethebeagle120 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:47 pm

Barrels are cheaper up here
And pretty well ready to use
its better to think like a fool but keep your mouth shut,then to open ur mouth and have it confirmed

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by OtisT » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:05 pm

WithOrWithoutU2 wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:32 pm
OtisT wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:45 am
WithOrWithoutU2 wrote:. Otis, thanks for the advice. I do plan to cut sticks to infuse in quarts, and 1/2 gallon jars. So maybe 6 inch sticks. But for seasoning, shouldn't I have a longer length and width than the actual size of the sticks? What size would you recommend if you think 3' x 4 1/2" is too long?

Also I assume QS = Quarter Sawed. I think they are just flat sawed. Would this change anything from your perspective?
I cut as little as possible, so it depends on how clean the wood is. Maybe 1/8” shaved off the ends, unless it looks like you got mud or something else up in the grains, in which case I would cut until it’s clean. A little raccoon pee never hurt anyone. :crazy:

Yes, QS means Quarter Sawn. For sticks, it don’t matter how the wood was cut. The grain only comes into play for barrels.
So I've let these season outside this whole time. Been through 2 winters, 2 springs, 1 Fall and in its second summer now. I've not cut the board but am looking to cut them down and do some toasting.

Question: These things are completely gray. Should I clean them up any before toasting by taking a wire brush or sand paper to them? They are not dirty. Just wondering is I should sand/scrub off the grayed wood.
I don’t know what the experts do, but I always clean up the surfaces of what was seasoning before I use it. I personally think you should sand them first. Otis
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood
Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by Hambone » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:23 pm

OtisT wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:05 pm
WithOrWithoutU2 wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:32 pm
OtisT wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:45 am
WithOrWithoutU2 wrote:. Otis, thanks for the advice. I do plan to cut sticks to infuse in quarts, and 1/2 gallon jars. So maybe 6 inch sticks. But for seasoning, shouldn't I have a longer length and width than the actual size of the sticks? What size would you recommend if you think 3' x 4 1/2" is too long?

Also I assume QS = Quarter Sawed. I think they are just flat sawed. Would this change anything from your perspective?
I cut as little as possible, so it depends on how clean the wood is. Maybe 1/8” shaved off the ends, unless it looks like you got mud or something else up in the grains, in which case I would cut until it’s clean. A little raccoon pee never hurt anyone. :crazy:

Yes, QS means Quarter Sawn. For sticks, it don’t matter how the wood was cut. The grain only comes into play for barrels.
So I've let these season outside this whole time. Been through 2 winters, 2 springs, 1 Fall and in its second summer now. I've not cut the board but am looking to cut them down and do some toasting.

Question: These things are completely gray. Should I clean them up any before toasting by taking a wire brush or sand paper to them? They are not dirty. Just wondering is I should sand/scrub off the grayed wood.
I don’t know what the experts do, but I always clean up the surfaces of what was seasoning before I use it. I personally think you should sand them first. Otis
+1 Otis. Scrape or sand....
Good judgement is the result of experience.

Experience is usually the result of bad judgement..

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by SaltyStaves » Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:12 pm

WithOrWithoutU2 wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:32 pm
So I've let these season outside this whole time. Been through 2 winters, 2 springs, 1 Fall and in its second summer now. I've not cut the board but am looking to cut them down and do some toasting.

Question: These things are completely gray. Should I clean them up any before toasting by taking a wire brush or sand paper to them? They are not dirty. Just wondering is I should sand/scrub off the grayed wood.
Oak is difficult to cut wet. Its difficult to toast wet too. Air dry, or kiln it if you are in a hurry, but for future planning, you'll want at least 12 months for sheltered drying (to add on to the outdoor weathering).

I use my grandfather's No.4 Stanley planer. Never sand it.

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by cob » Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:35 pm

+1 on not sanding use a plane if you really think you have to, but the wood doesn't need to be pretty,

toasting and charring will take care of that unsightly grey. do a small experiment with sticks cleaned

and not cleaned before heat treatment. you should find no difference.
be water my friend

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by dukethebeagle120 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:26 am

cob wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:35 pm
+1 on not sanding use a plane if you really think you have to, but the wood doesn't need to be pretty,

toasting and charring will take care of that unsightly grey. do a small experiment with sticks cleaned

and not cleaned before heat treatment. you should find no difference.
Why not use a grinder with a wire brush to clean it up
Would speed things up
its better to think like a fool but keep your mouth shut,then to open ur mouth and have it confirmed

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by jonnys_spirit » Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:55 am

I’ve got various barrel heads and staves disassembled and stacked sitting outside in the elements for up to four years now (oldest). When i prep them for use i’ll take a stiff brush to them to mildly clean off any char and debris but not worry too much about it because i’ll filter before I bottle plus toasting and soaking in 125 proof for a year is going to kill anything living. When i cut them i leave them as large as I can fit into the aging vessel. 1 gallon large mouth glass takes a nice sized chunk and gallon jugs get the smaller cuts. Carboys of low wines, feints, and aging backset get the long offcut slivers or end bits because they may sit around for a while.

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by SaltyStaves » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:21 am

jonnys_spirit wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:55 am
I’ve got various barrel heads and staves disassembled and stacked sitting outside in the elements for up to four years now (oldest).
Why? Its already seasoned oak.

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by jonnys_spirit » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:25 am

Gotta store em somewhere lol.

Cheers!
-jonny
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i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by cob » Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:58 pm

dukethebeagle120 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:26 am
cob wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:35 pm
+1 on not sanding use a plane if you really think you have to, but the wood doesn't need to be pretty,

toasting and charring will take care of that unsightly grey. do a small experiment with sticks cleaned

and not cleaned before heat treatment. you should find no difference.
Why not use a grinder with a wire brush to clean it up
Would speed things up
I was only trying to discourage sanding, because of grit, dust, and the possibility of residual adhesive.
be water my friend

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by Hambone » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:59 pm

After sanding, all grit or dust would be burned with charring....
Good judgement is the result of experience.

Experience is usually the result of bad judgement..

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:03 am

Thanks to all for advice.

I am in no rush, so I can shelter dry longer. Most likely just in my garage which is attached to my house.

The boards aren't dirty but I still may plane it down before toasting and charring.

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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by OtisT » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:27 am

It depends on how you are drying the wood, but it does not take a full year to dry out the oak I bring in from seasoning. After seasoning I bring it in and stack it (spacing between each board) near a forced air vent, so there is lots of air movement. Usually a month to two is enough. I use a moisture meter. My boards are typically around 9-15% when I bring them in and I want them at <5% before toasting. The area in and near knots retain water longer and require more time to dry.

At 5% moisture and higher I start to see some cracking in the wood when I toast it. If your wood is too wet when you toast, you can see wet spots appear on the wood where excess water is escaping and those spots are often cracked and swollen when the toasting is done. I guess if you are just toasting sticks that is not a problem. I’m making barrel heads, so this stuff matters to me.

Happy Drying.
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Re: Found Source of White Oak Board

Post by Single Malt Yinzer » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:46 am

3 years in the sun is where some of the pros find ideal for aging. Most can't do that due to the cost. The sun helps break down some of the chemicals into more flavor friendly ones. Heat (toasting & charring) also makes better flavors.

More here:
https://homedistiller.org/wiki/index.ph ... _for_aging
https://homedistiller.org/wiki/index.php/Wood_aging

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