Stickering – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Tree Wood and Lumber Glossary

What is stickering?

Stickering is a process used in the lumber industry to stack and separate boards of freshly cut wood to allow for proper air circulation and drying. This method involves placing thin strips of wood, known as stickers, between each layer of lumber to create gaps that facilitate airflow. Stickering is essential for ensuring that the wood dries evenly and prevents warping, cracking, or mold growth during the drying process.

How is stickering used in the lumber industry?

In the lumber industry, stickering is a crucial step in the drying process of freshly cut wood. After logs are sawn into boards, the lumber is stacked with stickers placed between each layer to create air gaps. This allows moisture to escape from the wood evenly, preventing uneven drying and potential defects. Proper stickering ensures that the lumber dries uniformly, resulting in higher quality wood products.

What are the benefits of stickering lumber?

There are several benefits to stickering lumber during the drying process. Some of the key advantages include:
1. Even drying: Stickering helps to promote uniform drying of the lumber by allowing air to circulate around each board. This prevents moisture from being trapped in the wood, reducing the risk of warping or cracking.
2. Prevents mold growth: Proper air circulation provided by stickering helps to prevent mold and mildew from forming on the surface of the wood. This can help maintain the quality and appearance of the lumber.
3. Reduces defects: By allowing the wood to dry evenly, stickering can help reduce the occurrence of defects such as twisting, cupping, or splitting. This results in higher quality lumber that is more stable and less prone to damage.
4. Maximizes usable wood: Stickering helps to maximize the amount of usable wood by reducing waste due to defects caused by improper drying. This can lead to cost savings for lumber producers and consumers.

What are the different types of stickering methods?

There are several different methods of stickering lumber, each with its own advantages and considerations. Some common stickering methods include:
1. Standard stickering: This method involves placing stickers perpendicular to the boards at regular intervals to create air gaps. It is a simple and effective way to promote airflow and even drying.
2. Double stickering: In this method, stickers are placed both horizontally and vertically between the boards to provide additional support and stability. This can help prevent boards from shifting or sagging during the drying process.
3. Weighted stickering: Weighted stickering involves placing heavy weights on top of the lumber stack to compress the boards and promote flatness. This method is often used for thicker or heavier boards that may be prone to warping.
4. End stickering: End stickering involves placing stickers at the ends of the boards to prevent checking and splitting. This can help maintain the integrity of the wood and reduce waste.

How does stickering affect the drying process of lumber?

Stickering plays a critical role in the drying process of lumber by promoting airflow and preventing moisture buildup. When lumber is stacked without proper spacing or ventilation, moisture can become trapped in the wood, leading to uneven drying and potential defects. By using stickers to create air gaps between each layer of lumber, moisture is able to escape more effectively, resulting in more consistent and thorough drying. This helps to reduce the risk of warping, cracking, or mold growth, resulting in higher quality wood products.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when stickering lumber?

While stickering is a relatively simple process, there are some common mistakes that can impact the effectiveness of the drying process. Some key mistakes to avoid when stickering lumber include:
1. Inadequate spacing: Failing to place stickers at regular intervals or using stickers that are too thin can result in inadequate airflow and uneven drying. It is important to follow recommended spacing guidelines to ensure proper ventilation.
2. Improper stacking: Stacking lumber too high or unevenly can lead to instability and potential damage. It is essential to stack lumber evenly and securely to prevent shifting or sagging during the drying process.
3. Using low-quality stickers: Using stickers that are not straight, flat, or dry can result in uneven pressure on the boards and potential defects. It is important to use high-quality stickers that are free from defects and properly seasoned.
4. Neglecting end stickering: Failing to place stickers at the ends of boards can result in checking, splitting, or other end-related defects. End stickering is essential for maintaining the integrity of the wood and preventing waste.

In conclusion, stickering is a critical step in the drying process of lumber that helps to promote even drying, prevent defects, and maximize the quality of wood products. By understanding the importance of proper stickering methods and avoiding common mistakes, lumber producers can ensure that their products are of the highest quality and value.