A Decade of Improved Lumber Drying Technology

Brian H. Bond, Omar Espinoza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In this paper, we comprehensively review the relevant literature published from 2005 to 2016, focused on lumber drying and provide a summary of where we feel future research will focus. Drying is a critical part of most wood products manufacturing process, and the methods used and proper control are key to achieving the appropriate production level, quality, and costs. While a combination of drying methods may be used, most lumber is dried in a kiln at some point in the process. The most common commercial kilns can be classified as conventional, high temperature, and vacuum; however, there continues to be some interest in solar and compression drying. While no new drying technologies have been proposed, work has continued on improving the existing methods. Control of the drying process varies with the type of kiln used, the species being dried and the temperatures used in the process; however, it usually involves some type of measurement of the moisture content of the wood being dried. The development of new methods for controlling the drying process focuses on new ways to measure moisture content or moisture content variation, temperature drop across the load, and drying stresses. While wood quality can be defined differently by its various users, for example, industrial or end users, certain aspects of quality remain constant across these groups, such as minimizing warp, checks, and splits, and discoloration, and maintaining or enhancing mechanical properties. New schedules have been proposed to increase drying rate and improve drying quality. Methods to reduce drying defects and improve its quality have focused mainly on mechanical restraint to prevent warp, better understanding of defect formation, and pre-treatments to speed up the drying process or reduce final moisture content variation. Finally, concerns regarding the environmental impacts of wood drying, most importantly the high energy demands and emissions, have increased in importance as concerns about sustainability and health issues become more mainstream.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-118
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Forestry Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Degrade
  • Drying
  • Kiln drying
  • Kiln schedule
  • Lumber
  • Wood


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