Drying up woods is one of the toughest parts of preparing woods. This part really takes the test of your patience.
Just imagine that you need some small piece of wood to finish off your next project. You’ve been drying it up in the sun for some time. However, just like a bolt from the blue, it started drizzling. And by the time you get it inside it’s back to square one.
In normal times you’d have to wait for several days to dry up a piece of wood. However, there’s one trick. There’s a myth about drying up wood pieces by using a microwave oven.
So, how to dry wood in a microwave?
Well, you have to put the wood inside the oven and run it in certain conditions. We’ve discussed the whole process in detail here.
Can You Dry Wood in an Oven?
Everyone asks this question after they hear about this technique for the first time. And it’s okay to have concerns. Because according to our common sense, drying wood in a microwave is supposed to be dangerous.
But in reality, this technique works. Although, you won’t get the same feel as the sunlight treatment, but you’ll get some time savings.
So, our answer is yes. You can dry wood in a microwave. Actually, if you know how the microwave oven works, then you’ll also understand why this technique will work.
Here’s the thing-
The microwave oven radiates short length electromagnetic waves. These waves can get inside our target object. And by inside we mean really deep inside. To the molecule level. And in there, the waves start vibrating the molecules.
And as the vibration increases, the stuff itself heats up. As a result, moisture goes to the outer layer of the stuff.
However, for this technique, your situation has to meet some criteria. Now let’s take a look at those-
- The wood slices and discs have to be cut down into smaller sizes to fit inside a microwave oven.
- The wooden pieces can be either green or dried up previously, that’s no issue.
- It’s better if you debark the wood before drying up in a microwave.
7 Steps on How to Dry Wood in a Microwave Oven
In this section, we will guide you through a complete step by step guide on drying wood in a kitchen oven. The steps might require expertise in using the microwave. So, make sure you have that before you begin.
Step #1: Put the Microwave on its Lowest Settings
To begin with the process, you have to put the microwave at the lowest possible settings. In most of the microwave machines, there is a mode called ‘Defrost’ mode. If you find this mode into your microwave, set it in that mode.
If your microwave doesn’t have a defrost button, then just set the oven to cook at 30 to 50 percent of its max power.
Step #2: Put the Wood in the Microwave
Now, take the wood that is cut into smaller pieces. Put the wooden piece on the cavity of the microwave. If you have very small wooden pieces in hand, you can also put more than one-pieces on the microwave.
While you put the woods into the microwave, make sure that you have put a few paper towels to hold up the moisture that the wood will release while dried up. This will save the cavity of the microwave from being damp or dirty.
You can stack up the woods on one another. However, make sure that the wood strips are at an equal moisture level(Use a special moisture meter to confirm the wood is dry). And avoid putting in greenwood and regular wood together into the oven.
If you want to stack all your woods together, then microwave the greenwood for a few minutes beforehand.
Another warning is, if you put more than one wood piece in the chamber, make sure that it doesn’t get too much congested. Making it too congested will prevent a perfect drying process.
Our recommended paper towels-
- Our Best Pick: Bounty Select-A-Size
- Budget-Friendly: Bounty Quick-Size
- All-rounder: Presto! Flex-a-Size
Step #3: Run the Microwave for 30 seconds
Now, it’s time to actually start the process of drying the wooden pieces up. Start the microwave oven and continue to dry them for 30 seconds. In the case of hardwoods, you can extend the time until 1 minute.
As long as you can find out any sort of fire or smoke inside the chamber, close the microwave power immediately. Otherwise, it might cause burn marks on the wood.
Step #4: Remove the Wood from Microwave
By this step of drying wood chips, we are about to be done with drying up our first set of wooden pieces in the microwave. Remember to use hand gloves while moving the wood strips from the oven.
Make sure that your gloves are work gloves. Ultra-thin gloves might not be able to resist the heat that will be in the wood. The WZQH 16 Inches are really awesome working gloves and it will support you to remove wooden pieces by hand.
Step #5: Keep them in an Ambient Place
At this point, you are supposed to let the wooden pieces be in normal temperature before you get to use them for any purpose. In case of drying green wood in a microwave and hard type materials, you should take a few more hours to let them be okay.
Once done, you can proceed towards the uses with these dried up wooden pieces.
Step #6: Check the Amount of Condensation Under the Wood
As we said earlier, the microwave oven takes the moisture to the outer layer. And from the outer layer, moisture goes into the air. However, the bottom part of the wood can’t come in touch with air. So, moisture condenses in the bottom part.
To solve this issue, you can flip the wood and send it in for another microwave round. However, the best part is to flip the wooden piece upside down right after a half timespan is passed in the microwave.
This will save you from dealing with the same wood in the microwave two times. This is a good practice as long as the best way to dry wood is concerned.
Step #7: Finally, Dry Up the Wood
At this final step, make sure that the wood is free of any moisture inside it. Let it dry in room temperature for 30 minutes.
In case you want to boost this time up, you can use a fan to blow them up. In case you want to use it later, make sure to protect it with the best sealer for drying wood to save them from cracking.
However, if you’re in search of the right sealer for drying wood yet, here is a list of our recommended best end grain sealer-
- Our Best Pick: ANCHORSEAL Grain Sealer
- Budget-Friendly: Titebond 5064
- All-rounder: Thompsons WaterSeal
This is a modern way of drying up woods. Moreover, with enough practice, you’ll know how to steam bend wood in a microwave. And if you start using this technique regularly, we suggest you order up a big microwave oven(With more space, you can dry up more wood in a single turn).
However, if you’re in search of the right microwave oven yet, here is a list of our recommended best microwave oven for drying wood-
- Our Best Pick: Cuisinart CMW-200
- Budget-Friendly: Toshiba EM131A5C-SS
- All-rounder: Farberware FMO11AHTPLB
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should be the ideal temperature range for drying wood slices in a microwave?
Ans: For drying wood in an oven, you should stick to the temperature that’s under the defrost mode.
Q: What size of wooden pieces can I dry in a microwave?
Ans: In a microwave machine, you can dry pieces that set firmly upon the cavity of the machine chamber.
Q: How to dry several wooden pieces together in a microwave?
Ans: to dry more than one piece of wood, you should place them together in the cavity, but maintain a distance among them.
Q: How long should I dry the wood up once they are done drying in the microwave?
Ans: The usual time to drying wet wood is 30 minutes.
So, that was the step by step guide on how to dry wood in a microwave. As long as you are stuck to the essential safety precautions, maintaining a constant working efficiency is not a hard thing to achieve.