Seasoned timber has an average moisture content of around 15% or less. Seasoned
timber tends to have superior dimensional stability than unseasoned timber and is
much less prone to warping and splitting in service. In higher grades of timber,
particularly hardwoods, the process of seasoning can enhance the basic characteristic
properties of timber, increasing stiffness, bending strength and compression strength.
Seasoning is the process of drying timber to remove the bound moisture contained
in walls of the wood cells to produce seasoned timber. Seasoning can be achieved
in a number of ways, but the aim is to remove water at a uniform rate through the
piece to prevent damage to the wood during drying (seasoning degrade), here at DoorsIndia
we use Kiln Seasoning.
Water is stored in wood in two main forms:
As free water in the vessels and/or cells, used to move nutrients within the tree.
As cell (or bound) water, which is an integral part of the cell walls.
The process of seasoning removes all of the free water and most of the bound water.
In the removal of the bound water, the wood cells change in size and shape, so this
part of the process must be carried out with careful control over drying rate. When
the timber is first cut, the initial reduction in moisture content is a result of
free water loss.
This usually occurs without any significant dimensional changes to the timber as
the loss of moisture represents the drainage of pores in the timber. If the environmental
conditions are favourable, the moisture loss continues until all the free water
is released to the atmosphere. This point is known as the fibre saturation point
(fsp). The fibre saturation point varies a little with each piece of timber, but
it is generally taken to be at a moisture content of between 25% and 30%. The loss
of free water will occur relatively quickly in small cross-sections of timber, even
if the timber is exposed to rain.