How to Dry Rough Cut Wood


Drying rough-cut wood takes time to do properly, but the benefits are great. Drying your own wood can help reduce the cost of a project. Rough-cut wood can be purchased at your local lumber yard for a fraction of the price of finished lumber from a building supply house. When using rough-cut wood you will need to purchase your lumber several months before you plan to begin work on the project.

Step 1

Choose an outdoor area that is out of the way and has good air circulation.

Step 2

Measure the length of the rough cut wood you wish to dry.

Step 3

Lay one piece of 4-by-4-inch treated lumber on the ground.

Step 4

Measure a distance equal to the length of your rough cut wood. Subtract 8 inches.

Step 5

Lay a second piece of 4-by-4-inch treated lumber at this location.

Step 6

Lay the remaining two 4-by-4-inch pieces of treated lumber inside the previous pieces. Space them equally.

Step 7

Place the rough-cut wood across the tops of the treated lumber pieces. Allow the ends of the wood to hang over no more than 4 inches on each end. Adjust the treated lumber if necessary.

Step 8

Leave a 1-inch gap and place another piece of rough-cut wood beside the first.

Step 9

Continue until you have spanned the distance of the treated lumber.

Step 10

Place the 1-by-1-by-48-inch stacking sticks on top of this first layer of rough wood, laying them every 24 inches in the same direction as the treated lumber.

Step 11

Stack another layer of rough-cut wood on top. Continue until you have stacked all the rough-cut wood.

Step 12

Lay old pieces of wood on top of the stack to be dried.

Step 13

Place four concrete blocks on top of the old wood for weight. Space them evenly along the ends and middle of the wood.

Step 14

Allow to dry about 144 days in the winter months or about 66 days in the summer months.

Tips and Warnings

  • Airing times vary depending the geographical location of the stacked wood, the type of wood, humidity, general weather conditions and time of year. The drying time is further complicated by the density of the species of tree and the thickness of the lumber. A low-density wood will dry faster than a high-density wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Rough cut lumber
  • Several 1-by-1-by-48-inch stacking sticks
  • 4-by-4-by-48-inch treated lumber (4 per stack)
  • 6 concrete blocks per stack
  • Old pieces of lumber


  • Airing Time Guide
Keywords: rough sawn lumber, rough cut wood, air drying wood

About this Author

Jennifer Terry has worked to promote self-determination for 10 years. She has been writing since 2004 and has been published nationally and in local publications. Terry has a bachelor's degree in psychology. Currently, she is pursuing a master's degree in rehabilitative counseling from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

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