Everyone has a different opinion on this question, but we believe it is always YES! There are many benefits to working with Kiln Dried Live Edge Slabs over Green Cut or Air Dried Slabs, but before we get into that, let’s talk about the kiln drying process a little.
What is kiln drying?
Kiln drying is the process of removing moisture from wood slabs and boards by placing them inside a large kiln. There are many different kinds of kilns, all with their own sets of pros and cons, but the general process is the same. The wood is placed within the kiln and is run on a set schedule to reach the desired moisture content. This controlled drying environment makes this process easier on the wood and leads to less defects such as bow, cup, and twist.
Here at The Lumber Shack, we kiln dry all of our wood slabs down to 6-8% moisture content and heat sterilize them for at least 24 hours at a temperature over 145 degrees Fahrenheit. We have found this produces solid wood slabs that are ready to be worked on and installed for interior projects such as Live Edge Dining Tables, Solid Wood Counter Tops, Live Edge Headboards, and more.
What are the benefits of Kiln Dried Wood Slabs?
Kiln Dried Wood is lighter
Removing the moisture from the wood makes it substantially lighter! This makes a huge difference in all slabs, but especially harder/dense woods such a Black Walnut, White Oak, or Ash. At a lighter weight, the live edge slabs are easier to handle while finishing, and it also opens more options for install, as most hardware and table legs aren’t rated for the weight of green cut wood.
Kiln Dried wood is stronger and creates high quality wood furniture
The high temperatures the wood is exposed to during kiln drying provides a couple important benefits. The high temps can harden softwoods and reduce resin seeping in wood, which can cause issues as you’re finishing the slabs. They also sanitize the wood and eliminate fungi, mold, and insects that may be living under the surface.
Kiln drying is also easier on the pieces as the moisture is being removed at a controlled, uniform rate. When air drying wood, especially outdoors, it is being influenced by varying temperatures, humidity levels, and is fully exposed to the elements. This environment can cause the slabs to expand and contract over and over which leads to high chances of warping or cracking and inconsistent moisture content down the full length of the slab.
Kiln Dried wood is ready to work and install
Kiln Dried Slabs do not need much acclimatization prior to being worked on or installed, meaning you can get your projects started and finished much quicker. Kiln drying also helps to increase the longevity and lifetime of solid wood furniture pieces. Kiln Dried Wood Slabs will not shrink or change in size over time since a majority of the moisture has already been removed where as green cut wood or air dried wood will continue drying after install and could alter in size and develop significant cracks/warping.
Please keep in mind this does not mean that kiln dried wood won’t crack or warp over time. Wood is always a living, breathing material that is influenced by its environment, and these changes can happen if kept in a fluctuating or less than ideal environment. Learn more about ideal environment for kiln dried wood.
There are even more benefits to working with Kiln Dried wood but we believe these are the most important when considering using this type of wood for your project. As stated above, all of our Live Edge Slabs have been kiln dried down to 6-8% moisture content and heat sterilized, making each one ready to work as soon as you receive it!
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