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post #1 of 6 Old 11-22-2011, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Moisture % question

I purchased some Ambrosia maple blanks with a moisture reading of 16-20% (according to the seller). I've read 7% is ideal for turning, and 30% is considered wet, so what is 16-20%?? Do I treat them as if they're wet and turn them, set them aside for 6 months, then true them up and finish them? I'm going to need them to be almost perfectly balanced (which is hard enough for Ambrosia maple). For my purposes, I can't afford any warping, so I'm pretty sure I know the answer here, but I really want to get this pretty stuff on the lathe, stat! I know I'm going to have to get myself a moisture meter, but at what point can I consider wood to be stable?? With a moisture reading of 20%, how long will it take to dry out a piece with no more than 1.5" of thickness?
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-22-2011, 11:11 PM
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I am going to assume the blank is for a bowl or similar items and not for spindle orientation.
The ideal for turning is dependent on your area to a large degree. I would never be able to turn anything if I waited for them to drop to 7%. Not so in some parts of the country. Where I am in NC, I use anything below14% as good to go for finish turning but I try to go down to 13%. Wood equilibrium here is 11.4 – 13.8% month after month. I looked up Huntsville, AL and it is 12.7 – 14.5%, so stored outside it will probably never drop below the 12.7 whether six months or six years.
How long it will take it to dry out starting at 20% depends on your drying/sealing methods, air flow to it, and temperature.
You don’t state the diameter if it is a bowl; 1.5” thick may be over or under the general rule-of-thumb of 10%.

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post #3 of 6 Old 11-22-2011, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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I was vague. I'm turning spindles. They need to be balanced and true because they are tools to spin yarn, and are spun like a top. Here's a picture of my last batch:
Most of my stock is labeled dry or wet. I've never been given a moisture percentage until now, and what I was given on the Ambrosia maple blanks was 16-20%. I just want to make sure I don't sell spindles which are true and balanced now, but later crack and warp because the moisture content is too high.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-23-2011, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCPaladin View Post
I looked up Huntsville, AL and it is 12.7 – 14.5%, so stored outside it will probably never drop below the 12.7 whether six months or six years.
How long it will take it to dry out starting at 20% depends on your drying/sealing methods, air flow to it, and temperature.
You don’t state the diameter if it is a bowl; 1.5” thick may be over or under the general rule-of-thumb of 10%.
Thank you
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-23-2011, 07:49 AM
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Here is an EMC calculator to play with.
http://www.woodworkerssource.com/moisture.php

Temperature and humidity in my town from national weather service this morning is 68 degrees with 100 percent. In use EMC computes to 28.9%

Scroll down to ECM Chart by location for ballpark EMC.

Ran out to my shop and took a reading on 3” diameter Bradford pear turning blank MM 14.1%, 2” diameter bland read 12.0%. Temperature & Humidity in my shop is 70 degrees with 68% humidity on this rainy morning.

Bought this MM at Lowes when sold for $10 and it works for me.
http://www.lowes.com/pd_78059-56005-MMD4E_0__?productId=3136919&Ntt=moisture+meter&pl= 1&currentURL=%2Fpl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dmoisture%2Bmeter& facetInfo=

Actually, EMC Chart by location listing of 12.9% makes more sense than calculator.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-23-2011, 09:19 AM
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You won't have any problems with spindles that size being off balance from warping although if they are too wet they might crack. When I buy waxed wood from suppliers like BigMonkLumber I scrape the wax off the sides and leave it on the ends and put them up to dry.
I haven't had a moisture meter until just recently and had just purchases some wood from Pete. I measured everything and most of it was under 16%.
I have turned lots and lots of bottle stoppers from this wood even fresh from the store and never had a problem. I would think you could have more imbalance from woods that have uneven densities than from actually warping. I turn a fair number of spheres and they always will have a heavy side if you roll them they will always stop with the same side down. It doesn't seem to affect balance.
I'm in Tennessee and roughly 13% is the norm around here unless you move the wood into the house.
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