The Cochrans Process: Kiln Drying


Welcome to our video series on the manufacturing process of reclaimed wood flooring! We are proud to complete every stage of the process in Berryville, Virginia, and believe that the care we take in manufacturing produces a superior product. 

In this series, we will be taking a detailed look at how reclaimed wood is sourced, processed, and transformed into beautiful and durable flooring for homes and businesses. We will explore the different techniques used to bring out the natural character and patina of the wood, as well as the modern technologies used to ensure the stability and longevity of the final product. Whether you’re a homeowner, contractor, or simply interested in sustainable building materials, this series is sure to provide valuable insights into the world of reclaimed wood flooring.

What is Kiln Drying?

Put simply: kiln drying is the process of removing moisture from wood by drying it out in a large kiln. But what is a kiln and why do we do this? 

Kilns for drying wood are chambers where factors like airflow, humidity, and temperature can all be controlled. A conventional kiln operates by circulating steam through pipes, which then radiates heat into the kiln’s atmosphere. This operation causes the water content of the wood to evaporate and be sent out from the kiln along with the hot air.

The goal of any kiln dryer is to reduce moisture content in our wood, We’ve invested in large kilns that have eighteen thousand board capacity, allowing us to produce a hundred thousand board feet of lumber each month.

Why Remove Moisture?

While living trees require moisture to be healthy, we want to reduce the moisture content of our lumber to prevent changes in size later on. Since wood absorbs moisture, it can warp, crack, or split if we aren’t careful.

The Virginia climate promises humid summers and dry winters, and it’s especially important to take steps to avoid moisture changes in our products. Fluctuations in moisture can cause wood to swell, cup, and crown which interferes with a uniform installation on the job site. 

One plus side of using reclaimed wood is the fact that it’s most likely been sitting in buildings with airflow around it. This naturally dries out the wood. When we kiln-dry, we usually shoot for around six to nine percent moisture, as we’ve found that it’s the best range for wood to perform well. Typically, wood will be in the kiln for two to four days before it goes on to the next steps.

Stay tuned to hear about what happens next when the wood re-enters the shop!

Cochran’s Lumber, Inc. is proud to be the leading provider of spectacular floors for homes, offices, and retail spaces across America! Our showroom was thoughtfully designed to make the selection of flooring and finishes exciting and simple. We feature a variety of new and reclaimed flooring products and many new and unique finishes. 

We are proud to offer an inviting space where customers can come and get a clear vision of the many types of hardwood flooring options that we offer, and feel comfortable at the same time.

Visit our showroom today in historic Berryville, VA (only 50 miles west of Washington D.C.), or give us a call at 1(877) 297-8331.

Check out our Houzz® page for Inspiration and Design!