What are the advantages of air drying hardwoods vs kiln drying? — Peter Breu
Dave Emerson replies: It must be possible to kiln dry with good results with state of the art equipment in the hands of a fully qualified and patient person. Traditionally, all lumber had to have a season per inch — 1" must be 11/4" to dry properly — before kilning. Kilning, of course, speeds the process. The problem is that it’s too easy to rush it creating tensions in the wood from the outside drying faster than the inside.
Air drying needs to start in spring when it’s cool enough so it won’t dry too fast initially. And it mustn’t be subject to highly varying conditions — wind, strong sun, rain.
My cherry is stuck on two foot centers in a well ventilated barn in early spring, fresh off the saw. After three years, it can come in the heated area before heating season starts, and a winter should get it to furniture level dryness for one inch.