How to Build With Freshly Cut Wood


Freshly cut, or green wood, refers to lumber that has not been seasoned by either air- or kiln-drying. While moisture is never entirely eliminated from wood, drying and seasoning brings the moisture content down significantly. Problems sometimes arise when building with freshly cut wood, because as it air dries in your structure, which can take years, it shrinks and sometimes warps and splits. It may also grow mold, making your home hazardous to your health.

  • Choose your application carefully, taking the above mentioned problems into consideration. Barns and sheds are good choices for green building as any changes in structure will not be as crucial as it may be in home building. Freshly cut wood is also cheaper than seasoned wood, making it choice for such projects.

  • Consider your climate. This factors into how long the wood will take to dry naturally. An arid climate hastens the drying process, while, in a humid climate, it could take many years to see any changes.

  • Choose a forgiving construction method. Board and batten is ideal for use with freshly cut wood. Boards are placed over the frame of the building vertically, each butted against the next. Battens, up to 1-inch wide, are then positioned and nailed over the seams. Board and batten allows for the wood to shrink a great deal while still keeping the structure dried in.

Tips & Warnings

  • Freshly cut wood is significantly heavier than seasoned wood, something to consider especially in the construction of rafters.
  • You may also save money by purchasing green wood and then allowing it to air dry for a few years before using it.
  • The resins in fresh wood sometimes emit strong odors that some persons may be sensitive to. Choose your wood with this in mind.

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  • Photo Credit wood image by Galyna Andrushko from
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