When solid wood dries from a green condition to a moisture content used for further processing, moisture-induced fracture and stresses can occur. The drying stresses arise because of internal deformation constraints that are strongly affected by the cross-sectional moisture gradient differential shrinkage and the inhomogeneity of the material. To obtain a better understanding of how stresses develop during climatic variations, the field histories of stresses (and strains) in cross sections in their entirety need to be studied. The present paper reports on experiments and numerical simulations concerned with analysing the development of strains and stresses during the drying of 15-mm-thick discs of Norway spruce timber log. The samples were dried at 23 °C and relative humidity of 64 % from a green condition to equilibrium moisture content. The moisture gradient in the longitudinal direction was minimised by use of thin discs simplifying the moisture history of the samples studied. The strain field history was measured throughout the drying process by use of a digital image correlation system. Numerical simulations of the samples agreed rather well with the experimental strain results obtained. The stress results also indicated where in the cross section and when fractures could be expected to occur during drying. More optimal drying schemes showed markedly reduced stress generation.