What is Seasoning of Timber? Importance and Advantages of Seasoning of Timber
What Is Seasoning of Timber?
Seasoning timber is the process of drying wood to a desired moisture content and made more durable. Seasoned timber can last for decades if cared for properly, but the life span of any type of wood depends on how it’s been cut and treated.
Seasoned timber is more flexible and less likely to crack or split, making it ideal for use in construction projects such as framing.
To season timber, you need to introduce air into the wood by either using natural ventilation or artificial means such as kilns. The goal is to dry out the inside of the material without too much exposure from outside elements that can cause warping or cracking
Wood that has been left in rain or snow will rot much faster than if it’s kept indoors. Most seasoned lumber comes from trees such as pear, oak, hickory, mesquite and ash.
There are many different techniques to season timber including air seasoning and kiln drying which both have their own benefits depending on what you want the end result to be like.
What’s an example? How about this: Sealing your deck with an oil-based sealant will also help protect it from moisture damage during winter months when snow and ice accumulate on its surface. And although sealing may seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be.
Seasoned wood can be used for structural purposes, as well as furniture or even a fireplace. We will take a look at what seasoning timber entails and how you can prepare your own seasoned wood!
Which are the Methods of Seasoning of Timber?
When wood is cut from trees, it is not fully mature; hence, it contains a lot of moisture content. Every timber has to be seasoned before being used. Seasoning involves leaving timber in open doors or under sheds till most of its moisture content evaporates.
1. Air Seasoning
In air seasoning method, timber logs are stacked in layers in a shed during the air seasoning process. The layout is accomplished by leaving a gap with the ground. As a result, the platform is built on the ground at a height of 300mm from the ground. The logs are positioned in such a way that air may freely circulate between them. The moisture content of lumber gradually decreases due to air movement, and seasoning occurs. Despite the fact that it is a laborious process, it will result in well-seasoned timber.
Kiln-drying is also called as vacuum-drying. In this process, the timber is stacked in piles and left in a drying place where it remains dry for approximately 35 days. The air is then turned off and the product is allowed to remain in the kiln until it turns to seasoned wood.
3. Chemical Treatment
In chemical treatment, the timber is immersed in water mixed with salt for a long period. The water will leach the sap and other materials from the knots and pores of the timber.
4. Heat Treatment
In this method, a drying kiln is constructed using heaters. The temperature of the kiln is set to approximately 50 degrees Celsius, after which the logs are left in for approximately 48 hours before they are subjected to air seasoning.
This allows the wood to carry on with its drying process.
5. Hot-Air Seasoning
In hot-air seasoning, a room is heated up with a large fan which blows hot air into it. The heat will dry out the timber and carbonize it so that it becomes seasoned lumber.
6. Boiling Seasoning
Boiling seasoning involves placing the wood in a large tin, filling it with water, and then boiling the water. This method is not recommended because it produces much steam, which causes warping of wood after drying.
Seasoning timber can also be done with steam under pressure, but due to safety issues over recent years, pressure-seasoning is not practiced much anymore. Pressure-seasoning was more prevalent in previous centuries when there were fewer health and safety issues.
7. Electrical Seasoning
In this method, the logs are placed on a pole in such a position that the air may freely circulate between them. It is left for 25 days before being removed for outdoor seasoning.
The above-mentioned methods are used to dry and season timbers.
8. Artificial Seasoning of Timber
Outdoor seasoning is expensive and time consuming. In some cases, it can take up to years. Artificial seasoning is a much faster process but it takes place in laboratories and special drying centers where humidity is controlled.
Timber treated in this manner has a longer life span than that which is air-dried or kiln-dried. It will be more durable and stable; hence, it will not break easily when put to use for construction projects and other uses.
8. Natural Seasoning of Timber
Natural seasoning takes place when logs are left to season outside. This is done in a well-ventilated area.
The drying process takes at least three months, but it is best if it takes six to eight months.
Before lumber may be used for building houses or other constructions, it must be dried to a high moisture content and then “seasoned”. This seasoning process may take up to 6 months, depending on the final moisture content of the wood.
Uses of Seasoned Timber
The seasoned wood that you get at the end of this process can be used for making furniture and other household items. You can also use it to build playhouses, benches, tables and even birdhouses.
You can also use hardwood flooring for building houses and buildings for human habitation. All you have to do is clear out the dead wood and then burn it down. You would not have to be worried about hazardous chemicals or other unwanted items that could give your house a bad smell.
The seasoned wood is good to use for fencing, building furniture and other household items
You can use seasoned wood for making a birdhouse or some other toys. You can also build benches, tables or chests of drawers using seasoned wood and other materials.
Precautions When Seasoning Timber
When seasoning timber, the following precautions must be observed:
1. Protection of timber from termites
The floor and ceiling of the building where seasoned wood is being stacked should be treated to prevent invasion by insects. The floor should also be impervious so as to avoid “working” of wood caused by water seepage. If possible, avoid stacking timber near high-tension energy lines and other sources of electromagnetic fields.
2. Drying of the timber indoors
In the case of kiln drying, the timber should be placed in a dry environment for at least one month to allow it to lose the moisture it absorbed during seasoning. Open drying should not be done because this will expose the wood to fungus.
3. Protection from water
After stacking, timber must be kept away from water on all sides so that it is not damaged by bad weather conditions or by splashes of water when cleaning is being done near it.
4. Preservation of handling equipment
Be careful when handling the timber so as not to damage the ropes, pulleys, hoists and other equipment used during lifting.
5. Protection of timber from insects and rodents
Timber must be kept away from the reach of termites by means of special precautions such as wire mesh or galvanized zinc sheets. Before storage, any existing infestation must first be eliminated by use of insecticides.
6. Protection from moisture and damp
Timber must be kept in a dry place because exposure to high degree of moisture would cause decay.
7. Protection from fire
Wood is flammable and hence it can easily catch fire when exposed to sparks. For this reason, timber piles are normally placed far away from the area where fire can occur. The piles can also be exposed to air and rain, but these conditions are unlikely to pose a threat.
Piles made from concrete are non-flammable. They are cast according to certain specifications and they do not produce sparks or flames.
The terminal end of these piles is usually capped by either an asphalt dome or by a steel cap which acts as an effective fire retardant. Domes are the preferred option since they provide better protection against water from the atmosphere and other elements.
Importance of Seasoning of Timber
There are many reasons that a quality timber seasoning process is so important. This process is a key step in preserving the value and lifespan of a forest. It is also important to the quality of the timber.
The seasoning of timber is a crucial part of the process of working with wood, and should not be taken lightly. The process of seasoning timber is also referred to as ‘seasoning’. All wood starts out as wet timber, has to be dried before it can be used for any type of construction or any other kind of building.
It is important for the timber to dry outside in the sun and wind in order to make it less brittle and strong. If timber is not stored correctly, moisture will build up and rot the wood. It’s a tricky job, but it has to be done correctly.
An improperly seasoned timber will last for a shorter amount of time before it starts to decompose. Timber that is incorrect will also release a gas that will give off a bad odor. The seasoning process helps to neutralize the gas and makes the timber usable.
The wood also hardens and this helps to prevent it from breaking. Furthermore, seasoning prevents cracks from forming in the wood which can ultimately lead to the building collapsing.
The seasoning process takes about three months and should be supervised by an expert. A majority of builders use this process because it provides better quality for the customer.
Timber Moisture Content
The moisture content of wood means the relationship between the mass of water in it and the mass of the timber without the water.
Timber is typically kiln dried to around 8-10% moisture content, but if stored improperly, it will soon reabsorb moisture. Does it make a difference? Wood expands and contracts in response to changes in moisture content, primarily across the grain.
What is an Acceptable Level of Moisture in Wood?
The acceptable moisture levels of wood and lumber are in the range of 6% to 8% for interior and 9% to 14% for exterior wood or for building envelope components within constructed assemblies.
Advantages of Seasoning of Timber
The first advantage of seasoning timber is that it prevents the wood from rotting. Wood will go through a chemical process and it will retain more water if it is not seasoned. This will cause the wood to rot and to weaken.
Seasoned timber has a specific moisture content that is low that will stop the rotting process.
The second advantage is that seasoning timber will also stop it from expanding and contracting. If you try to use something that has not been seasoned it will distort and crack. A good example of this is an underground pipe that might have not been sufficiently matured.
Seasoning timber is also done in order to turn it into a stronger product. Seasoned wood has been dried outside, so most of the moisture content has been removed out of it. The ratio between the cellulose and the water is more than that of normal wood-