Moisture Meter - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-26-2016, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Moisture Meter

Looking to get a moisture meter. Suggestions please.
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-26-2016, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by mhhickma View Post
Looking to get a moisture meter. Suggestions please.
do a google search how much money do you have to spend ect
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-26-2016, 09:34 AM
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I thought about getting one also. I just finished a box made out the peach tree from the yard. Logs been in basement for a year or so, and now I wonder how much the wood is going to change. Eeww I hope it don't warp to bad.

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post #4 of 15 Old 12-26-2016, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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$50 or less.


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post #5 of 15 Old 12-26-2016, 11:45 AM
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I have one from General Tools that I picked at the big box store. (blue or orange, they both carry them) I think I paid around 35 for it. It works pretty good, and was definitely a great buy.

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post #6 of 15 Old 12-26-2016, 12:20 PM
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Me too, Me too!

I'm also looking for a Moisture Meter and curious for opinions.

I want a pinless one that can get to the center of a 3" thick board. I'm willing to spend up to $200 or so if it's accurate and consistent. Anybody have experience to share?
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-26-2016, 01:58 PM
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An accurate meter will cost you $200 minimum! Eugene Wengert has good information about them. Sometimes he posts on the woodweb.com
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-27-2016, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Larry Schweitzer View Post
An accurate meter will cost you $200 minimum! Eugene Wengert has good information about them. Sometimes he posts on the woodweb.com
I totally disagree with this.

I have a General Tools MMD4E pin contact moisture meter that's runs about $40 at the box stores.
It has never failed to perform, providing consistent measurements that I have personally tested against several higher priced meters. My little General shows more consistency and more accuracy than a friends Lignomat and another friends Wagner. Both of them paid over 5 times as much as I did for their meters.
When tested, my General consistently read the same moisture content in the same area of a board through multiple tests. Both of theirs showed varying degrees of moisture (by roughly 5%) when testing the same area multiple times.
The General was also more reliable at giving moisture content in multiple materials.

I want you to know that this little 40 dollar meter has also been found in many reviews (Google it) to be very reliable, and has scored consistently high in many meter shootouts found on the net.

Price is not an indication of the quality of a tool. As long as a tool provides me with the functions and features I need it to, and does so with accuracy and consistency, and is built of quality materials, that is all I need.

A moisture meter is not a necessity for a woodworker, but is a great help. It only has to do one thing, but it must be reliable. The General does that.

Another thing, pin less meters have multiple issues with consistency. That is in the nature of their design. Their readings will vary (by as much as 3 to 5%) depending on the ambient humidity in the environment, and require calibration before use (sometimes automatic). I do not recommend them for this reason.

Some are hesitant to use pin meters as they do leave a depression in the material, but how entry, you use the meter before you start working with it. Any depression left is easily gone when the material is brought into 4 square, or quickly thereafter.

Just my thoughts and opinions... Your mileage may vary.

Al

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Last edited by Al_Amantea; 12-28-2016 at 12:00 AM.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-28-2016, 11:32 AM
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The use I have for a moisture meter is to check the moisture content of turning blanks 3" square. I don't see a way to get measurements from the center of the wood without driving the pins deep and leaving an irreversible blemish. Is the general consensus that pinless meters aren't accurate?
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-28-2016, 12:52 PM
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The $200 figure was from Gene W. One very knowledgeable expert in the field. That doesn't mean that all cheap meters are poor or not durable. Pin type moisture meters use the same technology as Ohm meters. Their disadvantage is they can only measure as deep as the pins go (& unless they have insulated pins they are doing some sort of averaging.) Wood changes moisture on its surface first, so the reading you get at a shallow depth isn't a good indication of the overall state unless the wood has been in the same relative humidity environment for quite some time. I.E. reached equilibrium. A more reliable check is to cut the board some place away from it's end and check the moisture several times from the center to the faces. The next problem is that different kinds of wood have different resistances. So you need to set the meter for the wood or group that you are measuring. I've never used a pinless meter, don't know the technology. My Lignomat is one of the cheaper ones at about $100 and only has two group settings. It returns consistent readings but I have no way of knowing if they are accurate. What I'm really interested in when I get a unit of lumber is finding wild boards. One wild (overly wet or dry) board in a glue-up can cause all sorts of problems. Pin meters can't accurately measure very low moisture content (below about 5%.) If you want to measure deeper than you pins go you can buy a slide hammer device that drives the pins in pretty deep. They connect to your meter's input plug via a cord.
Al, glad you got a good one. Can you tell me how you calibrated it so you know it is accurate?
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post #11 of 15 Old 12-28-2016, 05:35 PM
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I have been using a Lignoma MINI LIGNO for few years now and have been very pleased with its results. I use it in both woodworking and for flooring installation inspections. For me the size and ease of use are beneficial. I believe it was around $80-100 when I bought it. I am sure there are better more accurate meters but really all I need is something that lets me know if there is a problem or going to be a problem.
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post #12 of 15 Old 12-29-2016, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Larry Schweitzer View Post
Al, glad you got a good one. Can you tell me how you calibrated it so you know it is accurate?
Maybe I got lucky...

I have done no calibration for the meter...

I know it is accurate simply because I tested it against every other meter I could find (friends and family) and it reads similarly to those I've compared it to. (taking average readings from the same board during multiple tests.

Also, I have never had an issue with the meter, nor have I ever had any reason to call its results into suspicion.

I normally take my readings from rough cut lumber. I take several readings down the length of the board on face grain and edge grain, and also take readings from both ends in the center of the board. I average these readings, and will only begin to process the stock if it is under 12% average. (this process was a recommendation from a sawyer with over 60 years experience whose judgment I trust)

Being in southern Louisiana, most air dried lumber down here won't achieve much lower than 12 percent due to high ambient humidity here. Kiln dried is lucky to hit 7 percent moisture.
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post #13 of 15 Old 12-29-2016, 12:53 AM
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I'm surprised you can get to 12% air dried. We won't process unless we can get it under 8%. But our EMC around here is much different than LA. On the other hand if your work is going into an A/C environment the EMC will be lower than 12%.
Wood moves, how much you can live with is the question.
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post #14 of 15 Old 12-29-2016, 02:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Larry Schweitzer View Post
Wood moves, how much you can live with is the question.
Exactly. Note also that by "process", I simply mean getting the stock into 4 square. It is best, of course, to let it rest for a few days or more before beginning any kind of project with it.

Here in South Louisiana, it is not uncommon for kiln dried stock with an EMC of less than 7% to rewick moisture from the air and stabilize at around 8 to 10%. This is due to our average humidity content of over 84% year round average. Even in the winter, it is not uncommon for stock to be at 10 to 12%.

Needless to say, we have more issues with shrinkage rather than expansion! Especially if we ship something up north...

As long as you are aware of the issue, and learn how to account for it in the build and design, it isn't truly an issue.

Inexperience and lack of knowledge causes more failures than anything else (true in all things, not just woodworking).

Wisdom comes from the gaining of both...

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post #15 of 15 Old 08-31-2018, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Schweitzer View Post
I'm surprised you can get to 12% air dried. We won't process unless we can get it under 8%. But our EMC around here is much different than LA. On the other hand if your work is going into an A/C environment the EMC will be lower than 12%.
Wood moves, how much you can live with is the question.
You are correct in EMC being different in Louisiana. It is quite amazing how much different it is compared to a huge portion of the US.

The EMC for wood exposed to outdoor environment in Lake Charles, LA is 15% +/- 0.5%. Recommended MC for interior wood products in the larger region is 11% (this takes into account A/C environment), but once you are 40 miles from the coast or so, expected interior wood MC is 12% January, 13% July (also takes into account A/C Environment).


If you Kiln dry your lumber to 6% or 8% in my area, you can be assured your final product is going to move when it reaches EMC.

The photo below is an excerpt from
U.S.D.A. FOREST SERVICE RESEARCH NOTE FPL - 0226
1973

I'm not sure how people feel about external links here, I will remove it if there is an issue:

https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplrn/fplrn226.pdf

An associated document dealing with Outdoor EMC in the US (by the same agency) can be found here:
https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplrn/fplrn268.pdf
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Best Regards,
Casey
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