The difference between tropical lumber dried overseas versus tropical lumber dried in the US is very noticeable. When you have lumber that has too dry or too wet, or perhaps even dried too fast, or too slow, it can cause a lot of problems during the manufacturing process.
At American Lumber we work together with a group of trusted sawmill partners from Africa to Central and South America. These suppliers supply us with sustainably harvested tropical hardwoods, which we ship over to the United States to dry the lumber. This allows us full control over the drying process and allows us to ensure the highest possible quality tropical hardwoods for our customers.
While the approach that we take does increase the amount of time and cost invested in our inventory, it allows us to control the quality of these expensive lumber products that we offer to our customers. We have found this to be a very important step in the process, especially when dealing with expensive tropical species like Sapele, Genuine Mahogany, African Mahogany, Spanish Cedar and more.
Our kiln manager at our Cove City, North Carolina facility is meticulous about his drying practices. Daily, we gather samples from the kilns to monitor the change in moisture percentage in addition to using built-in moister meters to gather readings. This gives us the ability to completely monitor the entire drying process from end to end. The importance in this lies in the fact that when dealing with imported tropical lumber it is fairly common for kiln charges to start at moisture levels that hover around 50%. From there it needs to be lowered to a moisture level of 6-8%. If there are any shortcuts during this part of the process it could significantly degrade the quality of the lumber.
Through our experience in the hardwood lumber industry, we have found that some suppliers of overseas KD lumber are not fully aware of the importance of condition and stress relieving. Those of us in North America tend to be more cognizant of these issues and consequentially play very close attention to them throughout the drying process.
Experienced kiln managers regularly cut samples from the lumber to test for any stress in the wood and also to take note of how the pieces line up afterward. If the lumber has not been dried properly, the small pieces would not be able to line up after being cut. The same would happen if a customer tries to use improperly dried lumber when manufacturing something, which we go to great lengths to prevent.
If you are looking for some of the highest quality tropical hardwood lumber, dried properly in the United States, give us a call! We would be happy to help.