Before pulling any wood out of the trees, you better ask for permission from the property owner.
Deadfall (dead wood on the ground) will not usually make good furniture – its damaged, infested, or diseased in most cases.
Kiln drying not only removes moisture, but it also kills any insects that are inside the wood. Kiln drying only removes about 1% of moisture content per day… so in many cases, requires multiple weeks of sitting inside the kiln, for the wood to be properly dried. The thicker the lumber, the longer it will take to dry.
If you are looking to use branches and twigs by bending them, this is best done when they are green.
If you will only be doing this on a very small scale, you may just want to find a wood supplier who can ship the logs to you. If you’ll be doing this enough to justify the expense, then locate a local kiln operator, and logger, and work out details with them to supply you.
There are several interesting links when you use the search words “log supply” or “log supplier”.
“I Know what wood to use I was Just wondering if there was a way to dry branches and small logs over a fire and/or build a small kiln. …… I just need to know a fast way to dry branches and small logs MYSELF”
Well, now… that’s not what you said in the first part of your question is it? lol
Ok, There was rumored, about 15 years ago (or more), that a fellow had developed a system of drying wood, that cut the time from weeks to days… but he wanted a lot of money for the secret, and as far as I know, never sold the technique. To my knowledge that was the only rumored method of cutting short the kiln drying time… and kiln drying is the fastest method known right now. I have never heard of any faster method, and I’ve processed, literally, millions of board feet of lumber, in furniture manufacturing.
Your least expensive method of procuring dry logs, is going to be to purchase them, up to a certain point. What that ‘price point’ is, will depend on just what you are ordering and how often, vs what it will cost you to build a small kiln yourself. Your kiln will have to be large enough to run at least one project thru, completely, with about 30% more wood capacity than what you plan to use, on the project… and thats cutting it close. Let’s face it… you don’t want to get 75% of your project done, and run out of lumber, hehehe, and then have to wait on the next kiln cycle.
If however you have some specific logs already in hand.. and you want to use those logs, then you can probably set up a temporary kiln operation…. it will not be as efficient, and may take longer, than a standard kiln, because you cannot achieve the temperatures that a stock kiln can reach. AND, this may result in any infestation not being killed off. You may eventually get the logs down to a usable moisture content, but if there are any insects or worms still inside the log, or under the bark… they’ll eat it up later. The standard kiln gets hot enough to kill the pests and the eggs. So, keep that in mind.
I would contact a local kiln, if I had my own trees to use, about drying them for me. That is going to be your fastest and least expensive method. You can jury rig a temporary kiln, and it wont get as hot, will take longer to dry the wood, and may not kill all the pests…then all your work is for nothing. You can build your own kiln that WILL reach the required temps, but for only a couple of trees?? not worth the expense. Remember you have to pay for its operation too. The standard kiln has radiant heat, and works like a convection oven, they have fans that circulate the heat thru, and around, the lumber. Apply heat to only one side of a log, and it will warp and split – because of the stress created by uneven drying. To help limit this stress, it is common for a standard kiln to only lower the moisture content of its load by 1% per day. That means, that if you have lumber that is at 60% moisture content, to get it down to the 6%-8% needed to work it, (and it stay stable), you’re looking at over 45 days in the kiln. And it may very well be longer than that, if the wood is thick.
If you want to set up your own kiln, even a temporary measure, you need to use radiant heat. Even if the original source is scrap lumber…you do NOT want to use an open fire under the lumber you want to use. Thats a good way to lose your whole garage, hehehe… even charcoal makers use radiant heat. Your fire (or other fuel source) needs to be outside of the ‘kiln’ operation. You do not want to risk having 1 spark fly up from your http://www.naturalinsulation.co.uk/ open fire to lodge in the bark of the logs you are drying… being already hot… it will be all that easier for them to catch fire.
Be safe 🙂