Whitethorn HardwoodsWhitethorn Hardwoods: Taking pride in California's native hardwoods...

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Air and Kiln Drying

All of the wood that we enter onto the site or suggest that you consider will be fully dried, we only offer up dry wood.  Our slabs, our flooring and our cabinet lumber have all been dried to meet our standards for our own projects.  Those who appreciate slowly dried wood will appreciate our drying techniques. 

Our drying process begins with an appreciation of working air-dried wood.  Decades ago we were working California Hardwoods here in the Mattole River valley.  In those days there were very few hardwood kilns active in California, much less in our area.  We wanted to work the local hardwoods and we dried it first in the open air and then moved it inside into the rafters of our shop.  The wood was stickered on racks outside and then re-stickered in the shop.  After a lengthy stay we could take a chance on it.  Sometimes we paid a price for our air-dried experience, but we learned.  Part of what we learned was an appreciation of working well air-dried wood.  The “feel”, the machining, the craft came through in a way unknown via eastern kiln drying.  Either the wood was superior or the drying was the difference.  It also occurred to us that it might be a bit of both. 

There are reasons for kiln dried woods and among those is speed to market.  The woodworking craft was not born on speed.   Kilns offered controlled drying and the offspring is speed.  Speed comes in fast and slow, and too fast breeds a product that borders on case hardening.  And too fast leaves the craftsman the wrong “feel”, and less joy in the process of creation. 

With our own woodworking in mind we became interested in slower drying.  We air-dry our wood a lengthy period of time prior to its entry into our kilns.  The drying time is based on the species and thickness of the wood.  We air-dry our 4/4 material from many months to a couple of years before it enters the kiln.  Our thicker dimensions demand a much longer air-drying timetable. 

The kilns we use are not the fastest on the market. Instead, the operation of the kiln is geared to slow, deliberate drying. The purpose of drying began as an attempt to speed the process of kiln drying larger quantities of wood to be used in our own projects. We have not left that original premise, although now, we provide far more wood to others than we use ourselves. 

Fortunately, we do have some woodworkers that are familiar with Native California species, and they are appreciative of our efforts. 

Whitethorn FAQs:

We often field questions about a variety of elements in our wood processing operations. The FAQs (Frequently Asked Qustions) linked to below address the most common questions we receive.

Whitethorn's Log Milling FAQs

Whitethorn's Wood Drying FAQs

Whitethorn's Hardwood Flooring FAQs


We are woodworkers first and wood merchants second

Our supplies are limited - Our hours are variable
Please call ahead for an appointment

Whitethorn Hardwoods: a division of Whitethorn Construction
P.O. Box 400, Whitethorn, CA 95589
707 / 986-7412