Moisture content in retail red oak - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-17-2009, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Moisture content in retail red oak

I've been working on some steam bending projects lately and reading up on the subject, it looks like the moisture content plays a role in the ability to bend the wood. Anyone know what the moisture content of a piece of red oak I got at HD might be? Is there any sense in trying to bend it, or is it likely too dry to bend? Do they sell special wood with hight moisture content specifically for bending?
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-17-2009, 01:14 PM
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If you want to bend red oak (or any wood), you will have to make a steamer out of pvc or something. Put your wood into the steamer for at least 2 minutes for a skinny piece and longer for bigger. you wont hurt it if you leave it in there for 30 min so dont worry about that too much. After you have had it in the steamer you will have about 45 seconds to bend it so make sure you have your jig ready to go and bend fast! So...no you can't by wood at HD or anywhere that is bendable. it will all break for sure (i doubt it will bend at all...maybe flex alittle)

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post #3 of 7 Old 03-17-2009, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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I've got the steamer all dialed in and I've used it before to bend dowels, but I was just wondering about the wood from HD because it is almost certainly kiln dried, which drops the moisture content below the bendable range. I was just wonering if anyone knew for sure.
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-17-2009, 01:44 PM
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The stuff at Lowes or any BORG is dried to 6-8%, but once it comes out the kiln it will start acclimating to the ambient humidity and probably be around 10-12% when it ends up in your shop. Just ad steam to bend it.
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-17-2009, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Boardman, like so many other things, it looks like I should just give a shot and see how it goes.
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-17-2009, 01:56 PM
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Sorry I misunderstood, but boardman's got it right

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post #7 of 7 Old 03-18-2009, 09:26 AM
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A friend of mine, many years ago, was bending some oak strips for window framing in a cabin boat he was building. The boat was all wood, so that gives you an idea of how many years ago. I think the strips were about 3/4 inch. He would steam them in a long pipe for several hours, and when they came out he could pretty near bend them like putty. He was a sweet old man who kind of took me under his wing, and showed me how to build things.

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