You can dry almost any type of wood in a microwave as long as it is small enough to fit. While kindling is too large, pieces of craft wood are ideal for microwave drying. Dry green wood fresh from the tree to prepare it for turning and working. Or, use the microwave to reduce the moisture content of craft wood to keep it from shrinking and cracking as it ages.
Set the microwave on its lowest setting. On most microwaves, this is "defrost" or lower. Whatever your microwave's settings, choose one that runs on roughly 200 to 360 watts.
Place the wood on the outer edge of the carousel plate so that it rotates around the cavity of the microwave. Place two to three paper towels underneath the wood to absorb the moisture the wood gives off as it dries. You may place more than one piece of wood in the microwave at a time as long as they fit on the outer edge of the carousel and none of the pieces touch each other (touching pieces may ignite).
Microwave the wood for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Never leave the wood unattended while it is drying. If you notice smoke, stop the microwave immediately.
Remove the wood from the microwave with oven gloves or heavy work gloves. Place the wood on the counter to release the steam.
Lift the wood off of the counter after 30 seconds to check the amount of condensation underneath the wood. Then allow it to cool to room temperature and to release the moisture removed by the microwave.
Repeat until little the wood produces little condensation while it cools down to room temperature. Do not try to nuke away all of the condensation. If the wood is too dry, it may smoulder or ignite.
Do not increase the heat in an attempt to dry the wood faster. You may burn the wood. If a piece of wood catches on fire, submerge it or leave it outside until it burns out. Do not place smouldering or flaming wood in the dustbin.
Tips and warnings
- Do not increase the heat in an attempt to dry the wood faster. You may burn the wood.
- If a piece of wood catches on fire, submerge it or leave it outside until it burns out. Do not place smouldering or flaming wood in the dustbin.
- Richard Jones Furniture; Microwave Oven Drying; Richard Jones; 2009
- Wood Web; Drying Small Pieces in the Microwave; Gene Wengert; 1998
- David J. Marks: Alternative Ways To Dry Wood Turnings
- Wood Work Web; Microwave Wood Drying; Jeff Meuwissen
- Forest and Wildlife Ecology; Guide for Using the Oven-Dry Method for Determining the Moisture Content of Wood; R.S. Boone, et al.; June 1998
- Custom Wood Design; Turning Green Wood; Howard Lewin