Common Names - Moisture Meters - Confusion & Consternation. HELP!

Common Names - Moisture Meters - Confusion & Consternation. HELP!
Short Version:
I have 200 bf of “english sycamore” - much of it quarter sawn and gorgeous. I also have a Wagner MMC 205 moisture meter.
Problem: Need to give the moisture meter the specific gravity of the “english sycamore”. BUT “english sycamore” is a common name, also known as “european maple” and it isn’t actually sycamore - it’s a maple. I’ve found THREE different specific gravity values for “english sycamore” - 0.61, 0.66 and 0.72. Short of sending a sample to a government agency to find out what it is does anyone here have any suggestions?
LONG Version:
If you make solid wood furniture you need to accomodate wood movement. The amount of movement(tangential, radial & axial) is a function of the type of wood, its moisture content when worked and its expected changes in moisture content when it gets to where it will live.
There are devices which will quickly measure, indirectly, the moisture content of a piece of wood. They come in “pins” and “pinless” flavors. BUT - to get the actual moisture content you need to know the Specific Gravity of the wood being measured. Moisture meters usually come with pages and pages of tables of various woods and their specific gravities. Some allow you to set the specific gravity and have the meter give you the moisture content directly. Others require that you adjust the meter reading for the wood you’re measuring to get its moisture content.
It’s getting the right specific gravity for your piece of wood that can get tricky - if you only have the “common name” of the wood in question. You see, “common names” vary from place to place, unlike the scientific latin names. And it’s not just a Po-Tay-Toe / Po-tah-toe pronunciation thing. Common Names are often based on the appearance of the tree, or its leaves, or its fruit/nuts and a similarity to another familiar tree. Take maple for example. There are over a hundred types of maples with maybe 50 called “japanese maples”. Then there’s Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Soft Maple, Hard Maple, Rock Maple, English Maple and Black Maple, to name just a few of the “common names” given to maple. The commonality for maples seems to be the leaf shape with its five veins. But when you try to find the specific gravity of “maple” you find quite a range. Use the wrong specific gravity and your moisture meter reading becomes almost useless.
I’ve got 200 bf of “English Sycamore” - which turns out isn’t a sycamore at all, but rather a maple - the “acer” family. And depending on who you reference, “English Sycamore” is also called “European Maple” or “Sycamore Plane”, the former “acer campestre” with a SG of 0.66 and the latter “acer pseudoaplatanus” with a SG of 0.61 a difference of 7-8 % depending on what you use for the denominator. But if it’s Acer saccharum or Acer Negrum, aka Hard or Sugar Maple for the former, Black Maple if the latter, the Specific Gravity is 0.72. That’s 18% denser than Acer pseudoplatanus.
Now one could take a piece of wood of a measured size, weigh it, stick it in an oven and heat it, weigh it, heat it some more and keep this up til the weight stabilizes. At that point, if you measure its length, width and thickness again, you have its minimum dimensions and you have its “oven dried” weight. With that data you can calculate its density. With that density you can calculate its Oven Dried Specific Gravity (the wood’s density over water’s density). But is that the density you need for adjusting the meter the wood’s “green” density or its “oven dried” density - or something else?
I plan on making the face frames, doors and drawers for my kitchen cabinets out of this “english sycamore”, bought the “Shaker” cope and stick router bits, the panel raising bit, have a decent moisture meter (Wagner 205) and still don’t know how I’m going to get the moisture content of this wood.
HELP!!!!!!! How do I tell if the “english sycamore” I have is Acer pseudoplatanus, Acer campestre , Acer saccharum or Acer negrum?
Charlie b
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charlie b wrote:

200bf ? Then saw a small chunk off and measure the moisture directly, by weighing and drying it. This can also tell you the specific gravity.
I've no idea what "English Sycamore" could be -- could be anything. IMHE the interesting timber (Acer pseudoplatanus) is itself pretty variable, depending on where it was grown. English coastal timber is a lot different to the Eastern European high-mountain stuff that the luthiers go crazy for.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

The quarter sawn timbers / boards have a "fiddle back" grain figure and the stuff takes a beautiful finish - looking polished when sanded to 1200 grit. The wood is very light colored - almost bone white. And it's VERY hard as well as very heavy. Not ebony or rosewood heavy, but heavy.
I do have enough to take a sample and dry it, getting the before and after drying weights - in grams (have a triple bean balance from my lost wax casting days).
Now I'm wondering if the specific gravity for moisture meter use should be for 12% MC or "dry"?
charlie b
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Could it possibly be a London Plane tree?
t.
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English for Sycamore is Acer pseudoplatanus, a soft maple.
American for sycamore is Platanus occidentalis or similar species.
Go to http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/ and run a search on sycamore, and you'll get more than will make you sick....
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wrote:

I thought what was important to know was if the wood had stabilized, not what it's actual value was. Ie, check it now. Check it in a week. Same number? Go to work. But what do I know.
-Leuf
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