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SAILVACINC IUAUM IN
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SALVAGING LUMBER IN FLOODED AREAS
RAYMOND C. RTETZ, Engineer
Forest Products Laboratory,l Forest Service
U. S. Department of Agriculture
As soon as the water in flooded areas recedes, lumber dealers, manufac-
turers, builders, and others whose dry lumber has been submerged are con-
fronted with a tremendous task of salvage. Of first importance are meas-
ures to reduce losses from stain and decay, particularly in easily dam-
aged wood species. Cleaning and redrying operations should therefore
begin at once.
Treatment of Lumber in Stickered Piles
Where the water has been high enough to float lumber stored in stickered
piles, sapwood will be thoroughly infected with fungi before the boards
can be collected, cleaned, sorted, and repiled. Heartwood boards of either
softwoods or hardwoods are not so likely to stain and decay, but the wet
boards should be cleaned and piled for redrying as soon as possible. Quick
redrying, either in air-drying piles or in dry kilns, is the only certain
way to prevent excessive losses from stain and decay.
If the piles have stood fast on their foundations, the lower courses in
the piles are likely to be covered with silt or choked with rubbisbh brought
in by the water. This debris should be flushed away with a ho;e at the
earliest opportunity, and water left standing on the yard, particularly
under piles, should be drained off.
It may be necessary to repile stickered lumber in order to remove silt
from the boards satisfactorily. The dryer lumber from the upper layer';
of the old pile should be placed in the lower parts of t .- new piles, so
that the wet stock is higher in the pile where more favorable atmTospheric
conditions speed the redrying process. Tf wot lumber must be bulk pil(ed
for as long as a week before it is repiled with stickers, a chemical
treatment is advisable.
Jfaintained at Madison Wis., in cooperation with the Univerl'ity of
Rept. No. 1904 (Hevised)
Acr i c u I t ur -rlad i sol
tos-ses due to stain and decay may not be serious if lumber is cleaned
prom-ptly and the weather favors fast drying of stickered piles. Suggestions
r--'ardjng stickered piling of lumber and chemical treatment of wet stock are
give-n ol.sew}iere in this report.
Treatment of Lumber in Bulk Piles
When -lumber that has been dried and bulk stored in either a shed or a yard
is flooded, it should be cleaned and redried as soon as possible. The
boards should be cleaned to remove surface accumulation of silt and allowed
to drain long enough to remove surface moisture. A dip or spray treatment
with antistain chemicals may be helpful at this point. The stock should
then be piled on stickers for air drying.
Kiln drying soon after the stock is cleaned is the safest procedure for
avoiding losses, however. A chemical treatment is advisable if the cleaned
wet boards must be bulk piled for some time before they can be kiln dried.
llilingT Lumber for Air Drying
A hand stacked pile of lumber properly stickered for air drying is shown
in figure 1. For this type of pile, the best practice is to sort the
boards for length so that the piles can be built with square front and rear
ends. If sorting for length is not possible, mixed lengths of lumber should
be box piled to avoid serious losses due to warping of unsupported ends.
Box piles are characterized by the square appearance of both pile ends, the
support of all outer board ends and most of the inner board ends by stickers,
and the support of the outer ends of stickers by boards. The longest
boards or planks are placed in the two outer tiers. Shorter boards are
placed between the tiers of long boards with ends alternating between the
fCront and rear ends of the pile.
Lumber should be piled on strong foundations high enough off the ground to
allow good air circulation underneath the pile. The pile foundations for
hand-atacked piles are usually sloped about 1 inch per foot of length from
the, front to the rear. The posts or piers, stringers, and cross beams of
the foundation should provide adequate support to the pile and rows of
5 ti c-k(? rs .
Thle stickers used to separate the layers of boards are usually ripped from
nominal .1-inch lumber and are 1-1/4 inches wide. They are usually several
:inches longer than the width of the pile, and they should be made from dry
;tlock if" it is available. The number of stickers used will vary, but at
I](,,s t f ive st icker; ,31-ould be used on 16-f oot lumber. In building up the
pi] o 1th'e stickers should be carefully alined, as otherwise the boards they
rc- Jt upon tr)"y warp.
l: 1. o. 1904
In yards and plants using lift. trucks and unit-package handling methods,
the cleaned lumber should be replied into good, sorted-length, stickered
packages. The packages can be box piled If sorting f'or length Is not
feasible. Package fowuidations should be higher than usual in flood ed and
drained areas. Good package-piling practices, as shown in fixture 2, should
be followed, since poor package building~ and placement result in warp.
Additional detailed information on how to pile lumber for air drying is
given in Forest Products Laboratory Report No. R1657, "Air Drying of'
Kiln Drying Flooded Lumber
Kiln drying promptly after cleaning is the best and safest way to reduce
losses from stain and decay in flooded lumber. Dried lumber that has b een
wetted will dry rapidly, and the experienced dry-kiln operator will, be able
to put through charges of either softwoods or hardwoods much more rapidly
than is usual for wood at the same moisture content that ha;not been
previously dried to a lower moisture content. The regained i7oistu'e is
mostly in the outer fibers of the boards and evaporates quickly.
Dips or Sprays with Chemical Solutions
Dip or spray treatments with common antistain solutions are used principally
to prevent deterioration of sapwood, but these treatments may also help
protect heartwood against infection. They are most effective if applied as
soon as possible to the wet lumber. Lumber that has been wet for a week or
more will benefit little from chemical treatment unless temperatures have
been too low (below 600 F.) during flooding for rapid infection to take
place. At best, chemical treatment should be considered only as a supple-
mentary measure to rapid air drying or kiln drying.
The dipped or sprayed stock should be properly piled soon after treatment,
so that drying will not be retarded. If it cannot be promptly repiled on
stickers for air drying, the treated stock may be temporarily left in bulk
piles. Temporary bulk piling after dipping is known to be s afe with
freshly cut lumber, but with flooded stock the situation is uncertain;
consequently, efforts should be made to hold bulk storage of' the wet,
chemically treated wood to as short a time as possible.
Rept. No. 1904
PE*following solutions are recommended for dip or spray treatment of
umer to prevent, stain, mold, or decay:
St Suggested number of pounds Limitations or
per 100 gallons of water advantages
Dr)wicide IT 12 In the South re-
commended only for
4 In bulked pine and in
situations where drying
is particularly slow,
this chemical may allc
L,1 ~ 20
P j L ox 10s 20
Dowicide H and Permatox 10s can be obtained from Chapman Chemical Co.,
T. :,his, Tenn.; Melsan and Lignasan from E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.,
.;unington, Del.; and Noxtain from Wood Treating Chemicals Co., St. Louis,
At small sawmills green lumber is commonly dipped by hand, the work being
done by one or two men. This method can be used at retail lumber yards
nd m~njlfacturing plants where chemical treatment of flooded lumber seems
necessary. One man can regularly dip about 5,000 feet of 1-inch lumber in
Dipping vats need to be little more than sturdy wood troughs of sufficient
size to accommodate the largest boards and fitted with sloping sideboards
to permit draining of the lumber and to prevent excessive waste of
solutions from splashing. Suggestions for constructing hand-operated
ippi n vats may be obtained from companies supplying antistain chemicals.
A well-designed dipping vat is shown in figure 5A.
At come mills lumber, dimension, and timbers are sprayed by passing the
stock on a roller conveyor through a spray box fitted with perforated
pip)en or special nozzles. Similar equipment can be used in a large
salvae operation. Excess solution is recovered and flows or is pumped
back into a storage tank. Such a device is shown in figure 5B.
ere the salvage operation is such that hand dipping or spraying is not
....il, the chemical can be applied with a hand-operated spray, sprinkling
] ,' j, H,1o. 1904
can, broom, or brush. Any of these devices is adequate so long, Us 111
surfaces of the cleaned lumber are completely wetted with the chemical
Treatment for Salvag
will begin to deteriorate as soon as they are partly or wholly exposed to
the air. Ordinarily the organisms that cause blue stain attack I irst, and
they develop rapidly. Decay organisms work more sicow.Ly, but are more
serious because they destroy the wood on which they grow. Information on
the particai procedures to minimize log deterioration is available in a
report ,"Prevention of Deterioration in Stored Southern Hardwood Logs,"
obtainable upon request from the Southern Forest Experiment Station,
2026 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans 13, La.
Rept. No. 1904
Figure 1. --Hand-stacked stickered piles of lumber. A Rear view of a hand-stacked box pile
of hardwood lumber with a double layer board roof. B Front view of hand-stacked pile of
softwood lumber showing open piling to produce rapid drying.
Z M 110 176
Figure 2. --Yard pile of packages of lumber. Stickers and bolsters
are well alined with beans and timbers of foundation.
ZM 98245 F
Figure 3. --A Well-designed hand-dipping vat. Commendable features are the splashboard and
ample drain apron. Cleats on the drain apron hold the boards partly on edge, thus hastening
drainage. B A common type of mechanical timber spray.
ZM 88048 F
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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