For most woodworking projects, green wood is dried before it is used. The process is an age-old art. Before there were modern lumber kilns (which use heat to accelerate the drying of wood) there was the time-honored method of drying lumber slowly — in the open air. In this video, I spend time with fine-hardwood dealer Rick Hearne to learn more about the air-drying process. Rick, who has decades of experience turning harvested trees into properly sawn and dried lumber, has a particular affection for the air-dried process, and while Rick’s yard (Hearne Hardwoods) uses a kiln for the final finishing of his lumber, he still focuses considerable attention on drying his yard’s lumber slowly — by air.
This concise video takes you inside Hearne Hardwood’s air-drying yard for a tour of how lumber is air dried including tips on how to stack lumber, recommended drying times, target moisture levels, and the benefits of “peacefully” drying lumber slowly and naturally. It’s useful information no matter what your skill level or area of woodworking interest. (3.5 Minute Woodworking Video)
Rick Hearne is President of Hearn Hardwoods in Oxford, Pennsylvania
In a world of filled with commodity wood, there remains a special niche for those lumbermen who deal in the finest grades of timber. The rarities of the wood world (the burls, the figured, the exotic, the delicate grained, the carefully seasoned) are reserved for the most exclusive wood projects and the most discriminating artisans.
Fine-hardwood dealer Rick Hearne travels the world locating these gems of nature. Once found, he ships these logs to his Pennsylvania lumber yard to be flitch-cut on the yard’s massive custom-built sawmill. Whether these trees are recovered from tropical hurricanes in South America, or salvaged from diseased trees that were felled on British estates, Rick always relishes the magic moment when he cuts them open to discover the beauty hidden within. In this video, Rick discusses how he can “read” trees (in this case, the English Wych Elm) in order to anticipate the potential secrets inside each log he purchases. For me, Rick’s enthusiasm for special woods was downright contagious. In this video, you too can experience the thrill of slicing open these massive gems of the forest. (4.5 Minute Woodworking Video)
Rick Hearne is President of Hearne Hardwoods in Oxford, Pennsylvania
Ever wonder what defines quarter sawn, plain (flat) sawn, or rift sawn lumber? Professional sawyer and fine-hardwood dealer Rick Hearne dissects a sample flitch-cut log to demonstrate the variety of grain orientations that can be milled from any log. It’s more than an academic exercise because each type of cut offers the woodworker specific characteristics not found in the alternate orientations. Grain patterns, figure, medullary ray, and board stability are just some of the variables that make up the mix.
In this short video, Rick briefly explains how each type of cut is defined by the relationship of growth rings to a board’s face. Quarter sawn boards have a grain orientation that is largely vertical (60-90 degrees) to each face. Rift sawn lumber is cut with the grain oriented 30-60 degrees to the boards face. And the most common cut is plain (or flat) sawn lumber with the grain running mostly parallel to the boards face. Most importantly, Rick explains why it matters. (2.5 Minute Woodworking Video)
Rick Hearne is President of Hearne Hardwoods in Oxford, PA