I got a great new planer for Christmas. I have had a jointer for
awhile now. I got both of these so that I could go to this great
little local sawmill and buy rough cut hardwoods of all types for use
in my projects.
I am planning a project that I want to use hard maple on. I called the
mill to ask the guy what he had. He said he had some sugar maple in
the right sizes and quantities.
All of his wood is air dried (outdoors, under cover) and he said that
this stuff has been drying for quite some time. I asked him if he had
any idea what kind of moisture content I should expect and he told me
that 15% is considered good for air dried (we are in the Hudson Valey
part of NY and we get very wide variations in humidity between winter
and summer). All of this made me think that I should invest in a
moisture meter, so I bought one on E-bay.
I was hoping to just buy the wood this weekend and get to work on my
project immediately. Now I am wondering if I need to bring the wood
into my house and let it acclimatize before I start working on it.
What kind of moisture levels should I look for before I start building
and what can I do to prevent moisture problems in this wood later on
in its life as an indoor tabletop? Any opinions or advice will be
8% is considered ideal for furniture making in about 80% if the US. We, you
and I, are located in part of that 80%.
It's about 6% in most of the south west and 11% in a good part of the
southern tier of states.
If someone wants to argue those figures talk to Tim Begnal.
Ref- Page 88 "The Woodworking Hand Book" Tim Begnal..
So, if you are buying at 15% you will have to let it dry a bit more and I
would expect to pay less per board foot then I would at a hardwood supplier
selling 8% MC wood in the same grade.
I don't want to brag, but I really have built hundreds of tables -- all
kinds. I have always regretted any time I pushed the limit with moisture.
When I laminate a large panel like a table top I get really picky --
absolutely nothing over 7% moisture is my rule of thumb, maybe 8% on a small
panel. Air dried is never sufficient unless it's years in fairly arid
ambience. Not many have that kind of storage space or patience these days,
so build a kiln or find one to take your material to. When it comes out of
the kiln, cut a board well away from an end to test the moisture. And when
you finish your project, be sure to seal the underside WELL, not just a
sealer coat but a couple or three finish coats too. You value your
reputation for the future. Don't let ANY problems come back to make trouble
Lumber, Wholesale - in the pages.
However, it matters not how the wood got there, the RH is what matters.
Kilns are not now, nor have they ever been needed to get wood to the EMC
that matches their environment. They'll get there on their own, and in
better shape, in the opinion of many, for the slower method.
Oh yes, with THREE meters up at the University, air-dried ( 1 1/2 years)
wood in my winter basement is ~4%.
Build loose in low, tight in high humidity, but always build smart, because
the humidity will change.
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