Kiln dried wood is generally superior to air dried wood. The sap that is present in soft woods can be made solid or “set” to avoid seeping out of pores. In hardwoods, you can lock the color in. For example, in Maple, you can keep it looking pristine white without golden/brown discoloration or grey streaking. In colored hardwoods, such as Walnut or Bubinga the sapwood stays white while the homogenously colored heartwood retains a more even coloration. The fancy, streaks & color variation that you can find in air dried woods are less common when the wood is steamed through the kiln drying process. Kiln drying is generally hard on the wood if an aggressive, fast kiln schedule is used; however, if dried properly, it is superior for furniture, boxes, and cabinets as it makes the wood less prone to movement. Musical instrument softwoods are generally air dried for a period of 5 years (for example, Spruce tops). Many types of softwood are dried for much longer than this. Musical instrument hardwoods, such as the Rosewoods, are air dried completely with some light kiln drying at the end. This is low temperature drying that is very easy on the grain and does not promote fiber damage which could create an undesirable dampening of the sound of an instrument. As exception resonation is critical, we take great care with drying all of our instrument woods. In general, air dried wood has more of a tendency to have richer, more unique colors, spalting and/or more patterns than kiln dried wood as well as being less expensive.