How Long Should Green Wood Dry Before Carving?

How Long Should Green Wood Dry Before Carving?

Green wood is a term used for recently chopped wood that hasn’t had time to dry. Freshly cut wood needs to be dried to remove its internal moisture so it won’t easily crack or shrink. This process is referred to as drying or seasoning. 

Green wood should dry for about five to eight weeks before you can use it for carving. The drying process might take longer depending on the humidity and temperature of the area you live in. Bigger logs of green wood can even take upto two years to dry properly. 

In this article, I will discuss how long it takes for wood to dry and how to dry it efficiently. I will also provide a few tips on drying woodOpens in a new tab. for carving and share some creative ideas. So, How Long Should Green Wood Dry Before Carving?

How To Dry Green Wood

It’s best to begin the drying process when the temperature starts to rise, like around spring or early summer. By starting early, the wood will have enough time to dry out completely. Here are some tips on how to begin drying your wood.

Cut Wood Into the Desired Size

Keep in mind what you intend to use the wood for and slice it up accordingly. Be sure to leave room for errors and minor adjustments. While cutting up the wood, pay attention to the natural curves and lines and avoid chopping carelessly as these contours will add to the aesthetic.

Remove the Bark

The bark helps keep moisture in the wood, and removing it will speed up the drying process. Some trees have a bark that may be challenging to remove, so consider using special tools to avoid damaging the wood.

You can use the following tools to make this process easier for you: 

  • Bark spud 
  • Draw knife
  • Carpenter adze

Add a Coating

The next step is to apply a sealer like paraffin waxOpens in a new tab. or shellac on either end of the wooden piece. Ensure that this coating is applied only at the ends and not all over the wood. Sealing the wood in this way helps prevent it from warping and shrinking as it dries since the ends tend to lose moisture the fastest.

Dry the Wood

Now it’s time for the actual drying process to commence. 

Stack the drying pieces in a way that there’s space for air to flow between each piece. You also want to ensure you place the wood in a well-ventilated area. You can place smaller wooden slabs between each piece of wood if you’re placing them on top of one another.

You can also place a fan in the drying area as it will help improve air flow and speed up the drying process.

Using Green Wood for Arts and Crafts

What we’ve mentioned is a general outline of how to dry green wood. When using dried green wood for arts and crafts you may need to take a few extra steps to ensure that the wooden pieces are aesthetically pleasing and ready to be worked on. Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind.

Be Choosy With Your Wood

Search for green wood that isn’t eaten by termites or rotting away, as damaged wood isn’t as durable. A sturdy piece of wood will last longer, look more aesthetically pleasing, and give you more room for creative expression as you can try different designs.

Give It a Brushing

Use a stiff-bristled brush to sweep away leftover bark, dust, or sawdust on the wood. Brushing the wood will also give you a clear picture of the cracks and crevices on the wood’s surface, and you can incorporate these into your final design. At this point you can spray some vinegar, which acts as a natural insecticide and will get rid of any pests in the wood.

How Long Should Green Wood Dry Before Carving?

How To Tell if The Wood is Properly Dried 

Green wood that has been seasoned or dried well should have a moisture content of less than 20%. It’s best to retain at least this much moisture in the wood or else it will get too brittle, and it becomes difficult to carve on such pieces. 

Once you notice that the ends are dark and slightly cracked, take it as a sign that the wood is dry. The wooden piece must also be lighter than when it was freshly cut. Additionally, dried wood will sound hollow when you tap on it or knock two pieces together.

If there’s some bark left on the wood, you should be able to peel it off effortlessly. If it’s still difficult to remove the bark, it means your wood hasn’t completely dried.

Creative Ideas for Dry Wood

A piece of dried wood is the perfect canvas for artists to get creative with. You can draw, paint, cut, chip, and even shape the wood in a variety of ways. Here are a few ideas you might want to consider:


You can make bracelets, necklaces, and anklets out of wooden beads and paint them whatever color you like. You can even combine these art pieces with straps of leather, yarn, or braided thread, depending on the look you want.

Picture Frames

If you get good at carving, you can liven up your walls by housing photos in unique, quirky, wooden frames. The best part is that you can personalize each frame to suit a particular picture. You can create frames of different shapes and thickness based on the theme you want.

Showcase Box

A wooden box is a great platform to showcase trinkets, decorative objects, or small plants. You can even paint them in different colors for a playful vibe, or keep them plain for a more minimalist look.


If you’re into tablescapingOpens in a new tab., wooden coasters will add that extra oomph to your tabletop. Paint each set of coasters with different colors based on the vibe you’re looking to create. You can add a personal touch by engraving or painting the names of family members on each coaster.

Woodcraft HamsterOpens in a new tab.

Final Words

If you’re looking to use green wood to carve, it’s imperative that you create the right conditions for it to dry properly. It’s always a good idea to begin drying the wood in early summer when temperatures start to rise, so you have ample time to dry the wood. 

You also want to ensure sufficient airflow and reduce humidity as much as possible. With the right setup, your wood should be ready to carve within five to eight weeks.

How Long Should Green Wood Dry Before Carving?


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Caraca's self-taught artist based in the UK, Ines explores unconventional materials and sustainability.

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