Things You'll Need
Wire cooling racks
Most wood-moisture meters are not capable of giving accurate readings when moisture levels are at 30 percent or higher.
Drying wood to 20 percent moisture content or lower generally requires the dry heat of an oven.
The common kitchen oven can be used to dry cut pieces of wood. Dried wood burns with greater heat and less smoke than moist fresh-cut lumber. Durability and strength are increased by the hardening of the cellular structure in wood. Wood dried outdoors can take months to harden and cure, but a kitchen oven speeds up the wood-drying process to a couple hours or less. Reducing the moisture level in fresh wood allows you to get the most out of it.
Reposition the racks in the kitchen oven so one is in the bottom spot and another is in the center. Place an oven thermometer on the far right corner of the center rack. Position a large sheet pan on the bottom oven rack.
Set the oven as close to 218 degrees F as possible. Most digital kitchen ovens allow either this exact setting or 215 degrees F. Set analog oven controls between 200 and 225 degrees F.
Turn on the convection fan, if the kitchen oven has one. Check the oven thermometer after 15 minutes have passed. Adjust the oven settings until the internal temperature reading is between 210 and 225 degrees F.
Load the wood pieces on the centered rack so no two are touching. Set smaller wood pieces perpendicular to the rungs of the oven rack so they do not fall through. Dry the wood for one hour.
Remove a couple different sizes of wood pieces from the oven with protected hands. Press the two metal contact points at the end of the moisture meter to the surface of the wood to take a reading. Return the wood to the oven if the desired moisture-level percentage has not been reached.
Dry the wood 15 minutes between each retest. Place the wood on a wire cooling rack in a dry place after you are satisfied with the moisture content.
Jeffrey Brian Airman
Jeffrey Brian Airman is a writer, musician and food blogger. A 15-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Airman has used his experience to cover food, restaurants, cooking and do-it-yourself projects. Airman also studied nursing at San Diego State University.