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Avoid mixing different lengths in the same pile. The long pieces are sure to weather badly where exposed. Keep long lengths by themselves, also short lengths. All piles should be well covered with roof boards. The finishing of a pile of lumber so as to make it wind and rain proof is a matter which does not always receive the attention it should. It is not uncommon to find piles where no attempt has been made toward keeping off the rain, or weighting the top courses so the wind shall not tear the boards away. When uncovering your lumber for the purpose of taking a portion to the factory see to it that the lumber is re covered. Hold some man responsible for this.
Care in Piling
Great care must be taken in properly piling lumber to prevent the attack of parasitic plants, known as fungi. For instance, lumber piled in warm, damp places, and excluded from sunlight, is subject to the growth of fungi, which soon decomposes the fiber and results in what is known as dry rot. No vegetation should be allowed to grow around the lumber pile, as it creates conditions favoring the germination of the fungi spores. It should be piled in dry and high locations (as already suggested) only.
It pays to paint the ends of lumber; the paint will help to keep the lumber from checking at the ends. We all know that the reason lumber checks is because it dries too fast, and by applying the paint to the ends we simply retard fast drying. There is a preparation on the market to be used for this purpose which is very good and can be bought at a reasonable price. Lumber costs money, and it requires but a short time to paint the ends in a pile of lumber. How many furniture manufacturers are doing this? To be perfectly frank, I have by no means visited all of the factories, but have inspected many of the largest plants and must say that there are seemingly very few who appreciate the importance of having this work done.
The writer has endeavored to prove that all lumber will deteriorate if not properly cared for. Many manufacturers have, therefore, built sheds to store their most expensive lumber. The writer was very much interested in a lumber shed he saw at the plant of the C. H. Haberkorn Co. at Detroit. Not one foot of lumber is exposed, all stock being kept under cover in a building especially constructed for this purpose. One objectionable point, however, is that they are compelled to haul their lumber, as they are not located on a side-track. They buy good material and take good care of it. The Lester Piano Co., of Philadelphia, has one of the best laid out lumber yards and storage sheds to be found anywhere. All lumber is handled but once. It is loaded from the car onto the trucks. These trucks, moving on a special trackage, are run into the storage sheds, where the ends of the lumber are coated with the preparation already suggested, which, of course, prevents splitting and cracking. From the storage sheds the lumber is run into the drying and seasoning kilns on the same truck on which it was first loaded; then into the factory for the first process in the making of the piano.
A Good System at the Kindel
When it comes to a thoroughly modern system of handling lumber I'll take off my hat to Mr. Kindel, of the Kindel Bed Company, Grand Rapids, Mich. I had the pleasure of meeting this gentleman at his plant on January 5, 1914. Regardless of the fact that this was a very busy day by reason of the furniture exhibit, which opened on that day, Mr. Kindel personally accompanied Mr. Maine (another contributor to the pages of THE FURNITURE MANUFACTURER) through his factory. Mr. Kindel is one of the few up-to-the-minute progressive furniture manufacturers, and it is a pleasure, indeed, to meet a man
as liberal minded and courteous as he. This factory is one of the most efficient in business today, but this has not spoiled Mr. Kindel. The gentleman is at all times ready to improve conditions at his plant. A few suggestions offered by Mr. Maine and myself were appreciated. What a pity that we haven't many men as broad as Mr. Kindel in the furniture manufacturing business.
But I am getting away from the subject under discussion. The type and capacity of your shed will depend upon the relative cost of labor for handling and the capital charges on larger yardage. It costs more to elevate lumber into second and third story sheds than to pile it in the first story, consequently, if the labor question is the controlling cost, it will be cheaper to use one story sheds only.
The Shed and Its Use
The use of the shed has several important aspects. It is used for the storage of surplus stock, for the seasoning of air drying of green lumber, and for the storage of material ready to be sent out.
Do not load up the shed with common lumber, which will receive but little or no damage from the elements, when you have to run the risk of piling more valuable material outside for lack of shed space. Many lower grades of lumber (for instance, crating stock) will stand exposure for some little time without impairing their usefulness for their intended work. With these it is only a question of correct stacking to prevent needless injury.
As we know, or should know, all lumber should be assorted for width, as far as possible. If the manufacturer would really know how much of his lumber is being wasted at the rip-saw he would be very much surprised. Of course, there are many manufacturers who will say, "There is very little ripping waste in my factory; we glue up our stock and then rip." Good, as far as the lumber is concerned, but do you realize that it costs money to joint and glue lumber, say nothing about the delay caused for reason of the gluing and the enormous expense of extra handling. This is a common fault of practically every factory I have visited.
Stock Suited to the Purpose
In our modest business we require many couch slats 274x234x8, also 274x334x8, any sound hardwood. My predecessor had these slats manufactured from No. 3 common oak, regular widths. Can you imagine the enormous waste? The writer is buying No. 3 common birch, which gives considerably less waste and costs less money. I have all the 6-inch and 8-inch stock sorted. Stock sawyers, therefore, simply make the cross cuts and one cut through the center, saving nearly 50 per cent. in machine room operation and considerable waste in the lumber, also greatly reducing the cost of handling.
The question was recently asked: "What effect does the season of the year when trees are felled have on the behavior and properties of the lumber and manufactured products?" It is quite generally regarded that winter cutting has decided advantages over that done at other seasons, and to that cause alone is ascribed such valuable features as greater durability, less liability to check and split, better color, and even increased strength and toughness. The question of season's effect on durability is complex and involves a number of factors. It is a matter of common observation that when wood dries it shrinks, and if shrinkage is not uniform in all directions the material pulls apart, causing season checks. If evaporation proceeds more rapidly on the outside than inside the greater shrinkage of the outer portions is bound to result in many checks, the number and size increasing with the degree of inequality of drying.
In cold weather drying proceeds slowly, but uniformly,
thus allowing the elements to adjust themselves with the least amount of rupturing.
The strength of many woods is nearly doubled by seasoning, hence it is very thriftless to use it in the green state. It is then not only weaker, but is liable to continual change of bulk and form, the longitudinal fibers of the wood being, as it were, bound together by the radiating pithrays. As the wood shrinks it finds relief by splitting radially from the center along the pith-rays. When a log is sawn into four quarters, by passing the saw twice through the center at right angles, the outer annual rings shrink the most, so that the two flat surfaces of each quarter of the log cease to be strictly at right angles to one another. In tangent-sawn timber, however, the same shrinkage causes the center plank to contract in thickness at its edge, whilst planks cut from the outside will shrink in breadth, their edge curving away from the center of the tree.
The rate of seasoning lumber depends, of course, upon the kind of wood, its shape and size. A thin piece dries more rapidly than a thicker one; sap-wood more rapidly than heart-wood; a light, open wood more readily than one which is dense and heavy.
Unequal Air Dried Stock
On my recent visit to Grand Rapids I met an exceptionally bright superintendent at one of the leading factories who told the writer he had put a question of drying to several dry-kiln men and had not found a single man able to answer it. The gentleman said: "As you will notice we dry considerable chestnut (the chestnut the writer saw was 8 4′′ stock). We find occasional boards after taking the stock from the kiln that are absolutely green." The writer suggested that this may depend upon the difference of the condition of the stock when put into the kiln; that the greater portion may have been well seasoned and the pieces found to be somewhat green had no seasoning. The superintendent, however, said, "I mean that I can take all the boards sawed from one log, seasoned for the same period of time and in the same way, place all the boards in the kiln and find a few boards green, although the other stock is thoroughly dry. The heart-wood boards in chestnut will not dry as quickly." This progressive superintendent has all the heart-stock sorted from cars and has this stock placed in the kiln by itself. Chestnut heart-stock is the only lumber commonly used that will give this trouble.
Irregularities in Shrinking
Irregularities in shrinkage tend to cause wood to become distorted or warped. In woods with straight grain and uniform texture the tendency to warp is least unless the distribution of moisture is very unequal. Thus the upper surface of a green board exposed to the hot rays of the sun will dry much more rapidly, and therefore become shorter, than the lower side, causing the board to earl up at the ends.
The behavior of boards on drying is often largely aferted by the manner in which they were cut from the kg. The Hat side of a half-log becomes convex. Boards ent from the middle of the log, so as to box the heart, berette convex on both sides. Boards cut from half a log, Se quarter-sawed, tend to become convex on the side ******* *re heart and concave on the opposite. This, I
explain most of the difference in shrinkage of words of different sizes, shapes, and manner of sawing. Ignorance of Lumber
We all know that lumber is the most important material *** 26 * manufacture of furniture. How many Lumber, however, know very much about it, so So many manufacturers to this very day buy
their lumber from their price list. They know very little about National Inspection rules, and will tell you that they employ competent men to do the inspecting. So far, so good. I will endeavor to prove how imperative this knowledge is by citing a case which occurred only yesterday, and the writer happened to be present.
Sound Wormy Chestnut
A certain manufacturer, who has been in business for many years, bought 4/4 chestnut. When the stock arrived his inspector found it unsatisfactory. The manufacturer informed the lumber dealer that the stock was refused and to kindly remove this at once, as they were very much in need of the yard room. The lumber dealer replied that his lumber comes up to grade and suggested that a National man inspect the stock. This was agreed upon. I found the National man at their yards. Of course, no National inspector is permitted to make any statements, and this man was very close-mouthed. Right here is where the shoe pinches. The well meaning buyer gave the lumber dealer an order for a car of 4/4 S. W. No. 1 common and better chestnut, which was sold at what the manufacturer considered a good price for No. 1 common and better. You will observe the term S. W., which, of course, means Sound Wormy. This statement is ambiguous. In other words, the manufacturer bought sound wormy stock; also No. 1 common and better. This is a peculiar case and just what the inspector's report will be I am unable to say. I would also like to learn how this is going to be settled. The writer simply cites this case to prove that it is necessary that the buyer of lumber understand the business. Do not attempt to play one quotation against the other. If you thoroughly understand the lumber business you may do so; if not, do not attempt it.
No fixed rules can be suggested. Every man must understand his own business. The lumber buyer must know when it is cheaper to buy low grades or upper grades, or what particular grade would be the best bargain in lumber at a given time. Again, No. 1 common may be cheaper stock to use for certain work than No. 2. The only way he can determine this is by keeping careful records and by being in close touch with the manufacturing end of his business.
Compression Grip for Pulleys
HE ideal method for attaching a pulley to a shaft is by compression grip. I am strong enough in favor of this that I am inclined to differ with Mr. Deinzer, who says that when a wooden pulley slips on a shaft it should be replaced with a good make of steel pulley. About nine times out of ten, when a wooden pulley slips on a shaft, it is because of neglect to keep it tightened. The wood split pulley has done more to introduce and popularize the compression idea for holding pulleys on shafting than anything else. We now have iron and steel centers and wood rim pulleys with compression grip and we have reached the point in development where we not only split some metal pulleys and put them on with the compression grip, but one of the biggest transmission companies of the country features a keyless compression coupling for shifting. Surely if one can hold a coupling with a compression and without a key it is an excellent way to hold a pulley, whether it be a split pulley or solid pulley. Indeed, the compression idea is so near ideal that there are times when I feel like predicting the future will see the disappearance of the key seat and key and the set screw, with its disfiguring point and its dangerous head and practically all pulleys will be fastened with a compression grip.-J. Crow Taylor.
It is Still in Favor Although the Supply is Limited---Largely a Local Production in Two States---Most of Figured Wood Cut Into Veneer for Furniture By WARFIELD WEBB
HERE will always be a place in the mind of the furniture lover for bird's-eye maple. Its peculiar beauty lies in the fact that it is "different" from all other woods, and consequently of such character as to make it a continual source of admiration by lovers of the beautiful. The use of bird's-eye maple wood is centuries old. Long ago the Romans had a special liking for this lumber, and it was used for some pieces of furniture and was specially prized for its beauty.
But in those days, as now, it was scarce. It seems that there has never been more than a limited supply, and the sources, being few, seem to have had much to do with this condition. There were some rare specimens found in Istra and Boetia, and it was deemed of still greater value than the citrus, a highly valued wood. Today one finds it in England and America. In this country it is found in two states only, Wisconsin and Michigan, and then the supply is limited, so that the wood can only be used for the manufacture of veneers, for the greater part.
The trees grow in groups, many times only a few specimens being found in a given locality. In such instances, there might not be found other trees for a distance of forty acres. The bark is rough, and the trees when they have attained a twenty-five year growth, are rarely more than two feet in diameter. The cutting is always done in the winter months, when the sap is down, and they are hauled to the log yards of the plants and permitted to lie in the open until the following spring.
The trees being straight, it is often possible to get a seven-foot veneer strip from many logs, and in this way it makes the beauty and the value of the stock more profitable to the veneer manufacturer. The trees are sorted as to their particular value, and the best only cut into veneers. The others are sawed into lumber for furniture, piano backs and kindred uses. The rotary cut is the only kind of veneer made from this stock, thicknesses being from one twenty-fourth of an inch to one twenty-eighth and one thirty-second. The grain of the stock varies as the saw divides the eyes transversely or longitudinally, making the wonderful effects that characterize this veneer as an ideal material.
The figured effects are made possible from the small curls, zones or spots in the log. The finished stock has little dots or sometimes ridges, and these are caused by little cones which are found on the logs, and are directly traceable to internal spines, or points in the bark. The wood is molded in layers upon these projections, and their fibers are curled in their respective places. When the log has been cut into veneers they are noted as prominent features, and are in reality the foundation for the veneer's beauty.
The short supply of stock of this character makes the industry limited, and there are very few lumber or veneer manufacturers featuring this line.
always confined to a limited number, do not increase, as the supply of stock will not permit it, and the cost of the stock is also a prohibitive element that enters into the theme to a great degree.
In the spring the logs, which have now become well seasoned, are placed in steam boxes, and then cut into
veneers. The stock is placed in the dry kiln and the selection is made according to quality. The fewer knots that are found in the stock, and the freedom from black streaks, makes the quality of the stock much superior to such as have these defects.
There are uses to which the less desirable stock is put, and much of this finds its way to the piano manufacturer who uses it in the manufacture of pin blocks for pianos. Other uses for this less desirable stock are interior finish and panels and kindred uses. The natural color of the bird's-eye maple has in the past few years given way to the many colored varieties that are found for the foregoing purposes. It has been found that this stock will readily take any color of dye, and that the finish will also be obtained that makes it a very striking factor for the use on interiors.
The furniture manufacturer does not need this innovation for his commodities. The beautiful effects that are possible with the use of bird's-eye maple veneer for the finer grades of furniture, make it an ideal material in its natural state. There is a delicate and very artistic effect thus gained that makes it appeal to the housekeeper who is eager for the chaste effect that is not found in any other wood.
The mottled maple has something of the effect produced by the bird's-eye maple, but there is not the same peculiar effect that has been made possible with the spines or eyes. The roots of the common yew have also some very beautiful effects in this way The common elm produces some pleasing and artistic effects for furniture, the latter being manufactured from the root and trunk of the tree, made possible by the continued stripping off of the side branches. The latter is a practice much in use.
However, there has been nothing that can quite replace the artistic effects made possible by the bird's-eye maple. It is, we might say, in a class by itself, and there will always be the same admiration for this stock, by the purchaser of a better grade of furniture, that has marked the industry for generations. It cannot be imitated, and there is no substitute that can take its place. The delicate lines and the clean and alluring effects made possible in this stock are not to be noted in others, though, of course, some of them are much more costly.
There has been no very great change in the amount of this stock used in the past few years. The supply being much the same, and the uses not varying to any wonderful degree, makes the stability of the same much the same, as a general rule. There is always a fair amount of stock on hand, and the market values do not seem to vary appreciably from year to year. However, the fact still remains that there is a lessening supply of this timber and the effect on the market must in time be noted with a greater or lesser effect. Higher prices will no doubt be the rule in the future, and there does not appear to be any great reason for any decline in the demand for the finished articles made therefrom.
The Brocton Furniture Co., Brocton, N. Y., is building an addition to its factory to afford 500 feet of additional floor space.
FUNDAMENTALS IN KILN DRYING
Many Kilns and Many Systems---Process of Kiln Drying Must Be Applicable to the Material Subjected---Test for Determining Dry-Kiln Results
By ALEXANDER T. DEINZER
'HE dry-kiln is essentially a device for increasing the efficiency, both from a first cost and operative and time-consumption viewpoint as well. Few concerns could afford, and still fewer would wish, to keep sufficient supplies of lumber on hand to allow for the slow process of natural drying.
Various types of dry-kilns are in existence today with very greatly varying degrees of efficiency. The ordinary structure used for this purpose consists of a rectangular shed with track extending through it from end to end, on which the cars are moved, entirely through a door at one end and leaving at the other. The drying is accomplished by means of heating the air in contact with the lumber, thus increasing its absorptive power for water, and after the air has become saturated from the sap in the lumber by its removal and the substitution of fresh supplies of comparatively dry air.
The heated air is produced in various ways. Thus, the heating is accomplished by means of steam pipes in tanks or under the tracks, or along the sides of the shed, and the air driven over these by means of a fan. After being heated it is circulated around the lumber, and finally drawn off into a condenser, and the water vapor condensed out of it, after which it is ready for re-heating and re-use in the drying chamber.
Hygrometric Conditions Influence
Hygrometric conditions enter very largely into this problem, although they are fairly well understood in this connection. Air will absorb a certain amount of moisture at all temperatures. This capacity for moisture, however, varies very greatly with the temperature and hygrometric state of the air. When air contains all the moisture it can possibly carry at that temperature it is said to be in a saturated hygrometric condition and any fall in temperature or increase in pressure at this point causes condensation and precipitation of the water content. Air which has passed through boiling water contains 250 grains of water vapor to the cubic foot, and a fall of one degree, or an increase in pressure will result in rapid condensation and deposition of water.
The side walls of your kiln should be maintained cooler than the inside air and ample air space left between the lumber and the side walls. The kiln should also be arranged that any degree of humidity may be maintained within; if of the progressive type, the circulation should be entirely transverse and the humidity should be graded from 100 per cent. (saturation) at the entering end to the degree corresponding to the required dryness at the discharging end.
The furniture manufacturer often asks the question, What make of kiln should I install? There are a number of reliable makes on the market which will give very satisfactory results. However, you will appreciate that every kiln must accomplish certain conditions. (It is to be regretted that space does not permit a discussion of these conditions). The trouble with some dry-kiln manufacturers is that stress is laid on minor details, while fundamental principles are ignored. The kiln manufacturer must study every case by itself. This is not a cooked and dried proposition as it appears to be.
A very popular concern, located in the state of Michigan, has what I consider an ideal dry-kiln. Drying is accomplished by a series of steam coils under the kiln and a natural circulation miantained through a series of flues. The cold air, or fresh air, enters the kiln through openings in chimneys at the side, dampers being placed at the ground level, where the air enters. It rises through flues to the level of the top of the kiln and then flows in. The moisture, or heavy laden air, is withdrawn from the bottom of the kiln. A series of vitreous pipe flues leads from the center of the floor under the steam pipes to vertical flues at the side. Each of these vertical flues contains a coil of steam pipe which heats the air contained in it, thus establishing a circulation. This movement draws the heavy moisture laden air from the floor of the kiln through the vitreous pipes to the vertical flues and discharges it from the chimney above the kiln The circulation is controlled by means of dampers in the cold air or entrance flues.
The Construction of a Dry Kiln
In addition to the steam pipes for heating there are perforated pipes under each section of the kiln through which direct steam may be admitted to control humidity. In the first section of the kiln, into which the lumber is introduced, the humidity is maintained between 85 and 95, and the temperature between 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The lumber is kept in the first section of the kiln from 24 to 48 hours for one-inch stock, and a greater length of time for heavier material. When the stock has been in the kiln a sufficient length of time the curtain between the first and second division is lifted by means of a tackle extending outside of the kiln. The cars are then pushed forward so as to run one car from the wet end to the dry end of the kiln. The curtain is then dropped' back of this car and the second stage of the operation begun. In the dry end of the kiln the humidity is maintained between 45 and 55. Of course, the humidity varies in different parts of the dry end of the kiln, being greatest at the end where the stock enters, and least at the end where it is discharged. The temperature of the dry end of the kiln is maintained between 165 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moist air condensing kilns have given excellent results. Continuous kilns are very satisfactory if properly handled, but involve the problem of having more humidity at one end of the chamber than there is at the other end. As the lumber gets dryer and advances to the out end, the amount of humidity is less; as the reader can readily see the proposition of having air in one end of the room much more moist than at the other end is quite difficult, and if not carefully watched checking and honeycombing may result.
The Principles in Drying
What are, after all, the principles of drying lumber? The Forest Product Laboratory will gladly give this information to anyone interested.
It is not uncommon to find plants where the manufacturer will permit any employe to look after his kilns. This is a great mistake. Have one good man take charge of your kilns and hold him responsible for the results. To
work the kiln to its highest efficiency one must observe conditions of the stock going in, and note what its condition is when taken out, when dried with varying temperatures and degrees of humidity.
It is amusing to see how some of the men determine the dryness of the lumber in some of our furniture manufacturing plants In one very large factory, employing nearly eight hundred men, this testing was done by a man operating on a rip-saw. Whenever the gang wanted to move a car from the kiln Mr. Tester would smell of one or two boards, which were, of course, taken from the car, and if he said, "The lumber is suitable for manufacturing," the gang would pull the truck to the break out department.
One of the ways of testing lumber is to cut a section of a board, and by observing the appearance of the cut and general condition of the sawdust, and perhaps the taste or swell of the wood, arrive at some conclusion as to its condition as to moisture.
The Only Sure Test
The only sure test of dryness is to cut a small sample, say a cross section about an inch thick, weigh it, then dry this small sample in an oven, or hot room until it is perfectly dry (which may be known when it ceases to lose weight); then weigh again. The loss in weight is the moisture and this loss divided by the dry weight times 100 is the moisture per cent. which the sample contained when first weighed.
I will add that it is impossible to remove absolutely all of the water from the wood without destroying the wood. Wood is, however, considered thoroughly dried when it ceases to lose weight in a constant temperature of, say, 100 degrees C, though it still contains 2 to 3 per cent. of moisture, and if exposed to higher temperature will continue to give up water until the wood is charred.
I read an article in one of the trade journals a short time ago in which the author states that a small scale, accurate to 4 ounce, is sensitive enough to do this work. I very much disagree with the author. The writer uses a balance sensitive to one miligram. If you are going to do this work, do it correctly or not at all. It is possible to drive a nail with an ax, but what cabinetmaker would think of employing an ax for this purpose."
A very accurate registering hygrometer is now being manufactured. It consists of two specially constructed thermometer tubes, similar to a physician's fever thermometer and is mounted in a coppered case. This hygrometer will automatically register the wet and dry bulb temperature. This same company manufactures a scaleometer which is used for the purpose of determining the dryness of lumber.
BY A STAFF CORRESPONDENT
T IS not usual to commence a treatise on a technical subject with lines of verse, but an ancient Persian philosophical poet thus commented on the world and
""Tis all a checker-board of nights and days,
Then one by one back in the closet lays." Whether or not you agree with the Omar doctrine you will admit that every progressive industry is much like a game of checkers, and that every year a new feature is pushed forward that practically eliminates an old one from the game. Then occasionally some one gets the "king row" by improving an old method and bringing it into the game again stronger than ever. Thus it has been in the woodworking industry as well as in others.
Take the new "curing" process. Comparatively few furniture manufacturers are familiar with what this signifies today, but it is safe to say that it will be as well known as kiln-drying in a very short time This process has been used for over fifty years, but, while never entirely eliminated from the game, was formerly so expensive and involved such a difficulty in operation that it was commercially impractical.
Lumber is "cured" by steaming under pressure. For many years the few who realize the benefits of this operation used a retort which contained a man-hole, through which it was necessary to pass the material by hand, and the cover of which had to be bolted down by means of a wrench. Thus it will be seen that the process was too slow and expensive to come into common usage. The modern invention for curing lumber consists of a cylindrical steel retort permanently closed at one end, fitted at the other with a patented quick opening and closing door, which makes it possible to steam from 50,000 to 70,000 feet of lumber per day of ten hours.
This steaming of lumber under pressure is of more than passing interest to the furniture manufacturer, for by the use of lumber so treated he can carry less raw material in his yard, increase his kiln capacity, and have a better and more uniform product.
Hardwood lumber is the material universally used by the furniture-maker. He buys this when and where it seems most economical to do so. His usual specifications call for air dried lumber, which means that he gets a product that has been stacked from two to six months at the sawmill. Indeed, the present demand for lumber is so great that there is a strong inducement to market it as air dried when actually it is green from the saw. Then the re-manufacturer has to crowd his dry kiln or tie up considerable capital in the stock he carries in the yard. Finally, in manufacturing his goods the operators are forced to lose time in sorting the shades of several boards so that they will match and have a uniform appearance in the tops, fronts and sides of case goods, tables and so forth.
Lumber that has been steamed under pressure really undergoes a metamorphosis. Just what happens no one can satisfactorily explain, since the change takes place under a pressure of from fifteen to thirty pounds per square inch. It is known, however, that lumber so treated can be put through the kiln in less than half the time required by lumber that has not been so prepared. Such material does not case harden, honeycomb, check, end split, or warp to the extent of lumber not so steamed. All varieties are livened up in appearance, and in such woods as mahogany and oak the color is diffused so that the lumber has the appearance of having come from the same tree. The strength is not impaired and the tendency to swell when exposed to moisture is very nearly eliminated. Water stains used in finishing will not raise the grain appreciably, and on oak less filler is required.
The foregoing is written as the result of investigations now under way by THE MANUFACTURER to ascertain what benefits the furniture industry may obtain by the installation of a retort for steaming lumber under pressure, or by the use of lumber so treated. Those who are now using this lumber are enthusiastic over its possibilities
The next article will deal with actual observations in the machine room and other departments of plants where this material is being used.
The Eli D. Miller Manufacturing Company, formerly of Evansville, Ind., has begun operation at its new stand in Knoxville, Tenn., in what was formerly the plant of the Cumberland Manufacturing Company.