I'm in Southern California and SWMBO has prodded me to stop acquiring
tools and gadgets, and start actually building something useful. In
that vein, I need to ask a question about wood and weather.
I understand that wood needs to 'acclimatize' when brought home, to
stabilize in other words. My question is where should I let it
acclimatize? In the workshop, which is an uncontrolled environment
(read: a detached garage with no HVAC), or inside the house where the
finished wood product (decorative face frame for cleated alcove shelves)
will be used?
Good for her! Woodworking is more fun than tool collecting.
The important thing is that the wood is all the same. You don't want to
glue a panel out of a board that been in a dry place with one that has been
in a humid place. Since your workshop (and presumably the lumber yards) are
uncontrolled, that is what you want.
My wood usually stays in my basement for a while between being purchased and
used, but I have used wood the same day when I have run short and I can't
see where it has ever mattered. There are bigger issues to worry about than
waiting for wood.
You could start a group rec.woodworking.tool-collecting. And I'd have
to disagree with you, tools are the means, not the end.
I had this boss years ago who would always say "It's better to do the
right thing wrong than the wrong thing right." I've found it to be one
of the most valuable little bits I've ever run into, and it has
adjusted my thinking on many many occasions.
Along those lines, it's better to focus on building with the tools you
have than to focus on building your tools.
YMMV but I have always kept it in the location that I will be cutting and
building. You are never going to be able to completely control the
environment. Keeping it in side and building in another with a different
climate may be a waste of time as typically it is in the work environment
long enough that it will start moving again.
Plan ahead for wood movement on your projects.
That's it. Anything you store or construct in the garage is going to have
some heavy-duty drying done to it when it comes inside an air-conditioned
space. That is, unless you actively control humidity indoors, then
acclimate to your controlled humidity for a couple of weeks prior to using
The reason woodworkers frame panels and finish both sides even when they see
only one, and practice a number of other subtle joinery tricks is to plan
for future movement.
Here in SOCal, using lumber purchased locally, the humidity is stable. Wood
movement is minimal. You should still plan on it when planning and building
your projects, but I have found no need to acclimatize it. Also, as a
hobbyist, the wood does in fact sit during the process anyway.
Not really. It'll let him know what the approximate MC of the wood is.
Then he still has to take into account the current average or anticipated RH
of his surroundings to see if it has equalized or how far it has to go.
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