Any ideas on why two pieces of solid cherry furniture of approximately
the same age, sitting next to each other in the living room for the
last ten years, should display a 4% difference in wood moisture
content as measured by my meter? One piece is a factory item
(Virginia Galleries) and the other is a piece I made my self. Both
are over 20 years old. All of the Virginia Galleries pieces in the
house (like, 5 of them) show about 7% moisture at the moment. Every
homemade piece is around 11%. I am wondering if these electronic
moisture meters are influenced by the type of finish on the wood. The
factory stuff is all lacquered, my stuff is either polyurethane or
More than the effect of the finish on the meter, I'd suspect the effect
of the different finishes on the moisture migration to/from the pieces.
A factory-cured finish on what was undoubtedly a thoroughly dried piece
is much more continuous and impermeable than a hand-applied
(particularly oil which is almost of no measure in that regard) finish.
It's also likely the initial moisture content was roughly in the 10%
in the raw lumber as opposed to that of the factory-built pieces at the
start. That's about where most species will equilibriate in climates
other than the very dry. Mid-winter may notice some drop if there isn't
any additional humidification owing to the typical very low RH in heated
air but that will generally rapidly return as warm, humid air returns.
The difference is possible. Because raw material was different to begin
with. Good wood has to be aged well. Look at how they used to build
pianos in old days. Our ~100 year old grand piano is very stable
throughout every year holding good tune. Modern piano in the same house
is not, needing frequent tune up. Because old wood was naturally
aged(dried) upto 20 year before made into product. Modern woods are kiln
dried. Computer simulation says that is as good as 20 year natural
aging. In real world it is different.
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