I would like to carve something out of juniper cut down last week. I intend to make something like a hiking stick or some small decoration pieces, so nothing big or critical.

How long should the wood dry before I can start to work with it?

  • What do you intend to be making? Working green wood to at least gets is shape of your project is a good idea. Final shape should only be done once the wood has a stabilized moisture content. Depending on the size of your wood this could takes years to properly dry without checking or cracking.
    – Matt
    Oct 14, 2016 at 18:33
  • 1
    As this question hasn’t got an answer for just under 2 years, maybe you might want to try asking in woodworking.stackexchange.com Aug 26, 2018 at 11:11

1 Answer 1


Usually you should let green wood dry for 2 years before carving objects out of them or using it to build something. Depending on the local climate, the size of the wood block (or tree) and how you dry it, the time may shorten to several months or extend to 5 years.

  • Wood shrinks and warps as it dries. If you cut or carve it green, the size will be different once it's dry. If one side dries quicker than the other, the object will warp and deform.
  • Wood rips along the grain as it dries. If you cut planks or disks out of green wood, they may rip and break (due to the shrinking and warping). If you carve an object out of green wood, delicate pats may break off.
  • The moisture makes green wood harder to carve. You need more force and may end up with mistakes.

But if you have branch or stem and want to make it into a walking stick, such a long wait won't be nessecary. First remove the bark and let it dry for a few days. Add ornaments only after the surface feels dry or you'll end up with splinters.

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