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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just when I thought I would be safe to use the QS White Oak I bought last February, I did a moisture reading on it and it was still coming up 12%, with my cheap HF meter. This is about where it was last Feb. Is it possible for the wood to not dry any in 8 months?

Even more horrifying is that there is some bad black mold, I guess it is mold on some of the boards. I confess, I dead stacked it in my basement last Feb and just left it. Lesson learned about stickering. Is the wood with the mold shot? I imagine it will plane off, but is it safe with a mask? I think there were some very light mold spots on it where it was stickered when I bought it.

Am I worried about nothing and will this plane right off? I hate to lose these boards, but health is more important.

This is the worst board. I had it on some cherry wood that was stored out in the weather, but covered, in my basement.








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Lesson learned. Moist wood, no light, no air circulation and viola - mold.

I would spray with Chlorox. It will come off with planing, but I think better to kill the mold first.

Only needs a light spray. A very small amount of bleach in the Chlorox will kill most bacteria.

What is the moisture level of your basement? It is possible the wood is at the same level as your basement.

The boards in the middle of the pile will not have dried as much due to no air circulation.
 

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Stickers are a must and if you're I'm in a hurry I'll use an oscillating fan to keep the air moving through/around the stack. The mold isn't going to drop you in your tracks but Dave is right, a light mist of Clorox will make quick work of it.
 

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So spray on clorox and leave it or am I supposed to wipe/wash it off? Should I scrub it with clorox?
I would leave on for a short time, as in minutes. If a light spray you could leave on and let dry.

If the Chlorox gets into the grain, you should not need to scrub. Once the bleach makes contact with the bacteria, it will die almost instantly certainly within a few seconds.
 

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As brought up earlier, the ambient moisture in the basement is likely keeping the wood at 12%. For stickering, I would suggest more floor spacers than the two you have showing. I would space them at a minimum of 24". As for the stickers, I would use all ¾", with the same spacing.




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I would check the open framing in your basement- i bet it is 12%
 
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Water in wood is in two different places
1. In the open volumes of the cells. This is "free" water.
2. Quite well stuck to the biological molecules that make up the walls of the wood cells.
This is "bound" water. 12 - 14% Moisture Content is about where all woods, air-dried, end up.
With heat, of course, it is possible to cook more water out of the wood.
= = =
Indoors, in service, with very dry house air in winter, the MC might go to 4-5%. Players of very expensive wooden/stringed instruments usuall have a humidifier tucked away in their instrument hard case.

Mold is fungus, not bacteria. Most of what you can see is spores = bad news for your respiratory system.
Dilute some chlorine bleach to 10% of what's in the jug. Slop it on, wait 20 minutes and rinse to let air dry.
We did this for decades in the dendrology labs, after the fungus guys were in there, bashing up samples.

Plane it with really good DC and wash & rinse again. I'm carving quite a lot of birch this year, most of it is freckled with mold spots that I ignore (no dust). What I can say is the depth is about 1/16". I know that it's not the wood you have but the penetration is something that you could figure out with a mallet & chisel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So if basement moisture level is 12% does that mean I can never build furniture in my basement wood shop? Hope not. Good idea with checking the floor joists though.
 

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where you live I see no problem. If you bought fresh kiln dried My guess is MC would go up when you brought it home.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
After taking some measurements in the basement ceiling joists and some 2x4 framing a room in the basement, I am getting 11-12% in most of the wood. A piece of pine I use for the aux TS fence is reading 8%. I am guessing that the ambient moisture in the basement is in the 12% area. Does this mean every time I mill rough wood that seems dry, it will warp?
 

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After taking some measurements in the basement ceiling joists and some 2x4 framing a room in the basement, I am getting 11-12% in most of the wood. A piece of pine I use for the aux TS fence is reading 8%. I am guessing that the ambient moisture in the basement is in the 12% area. Does this mean every time I mill rough wood that seems dry, it will warp?
No- Yes and maybe- each piece of wood will be different. I live in the high mt. desert climate. one day this summer temp was 95 humidity was 12%. 15 inches of rain a year. We are semi arid. wood inside shop will be about the same as yours this time of year- by jan it will be 7-8%(dry wood heat) wood outside in storage will be 10-12 in jan. or 7-8 in aug.

I built 5 jewelry boxes in march- wood bone dry- when I got done one lid was warped why???? it is wood. Moral of story- don't worry - be happy -It is nice wood-white oak is tough. Yours will make nice projects. Just build them. PS- take a deep breath- stay calm- you just inhaled mold spoors- they are everywhere. :yes:
 
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After taking some measurements in the basement ceiling joists and some 2x4 framing a room in the basement, I am getting 11-12% in most of the wood. A piece of pine I use for the aux TS fence is reading 8%. I am guessing that the ambient moisture in the basement is in the 12% area. Does this mean every time I mill rough wood that seems dry, it will warp?
Not easy to say one way or the other.

You could take a cut-off piece measure moisture and then take it upstairs and measure over time. Since this is the same meter it will give a good indication of the above moisture content. Likely to be 8 - 10%, but depends on the season.

Some moisture change is normal. If the Woodworking gods are shining on us, the moisture change just alters a dimension. If they are not shining on us, then the dimension change also becomes a shape change.

A small % difference does not normally mean warp, but it depends if the board has internal stresses - or not.
 

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If you want to be sure to kill the spores, leave the bleach on for 20 minutes. Ensure the bleach is fresh and that your final solution is between 1% and 5% NaOCl. Wear a P100 filter if you sand or scrape that stuff when it is still alive, and even if you think it is dead if you think that this might be toxic mold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OK, I just sprayed down three of the worst moldy boards with a mixture of household bleach and water, 1 part bleach to 5 parts water. Do you think that is a strong enough mix? Should I go stronger? Do you all think it will affect the boards color? These are still rough boards and will be planed later. Smell like I just came from a pool.

 

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I was just going to post a thread on a similar topic - I have a pile of QS white oak and some boards are very moldy - some are sort of fuzzy and blue. I was wondering if they would be safe to use or even salvageable - or better used as firewood.

I did plane down a few last year that looked like the ones in the attached photos - I definitely agree with trying to kill the mold first. I didn't and first time I worked with the wood I got terrible headaches. My cat also got very sick (his litter box was in the shop) and now he hasn't been breathing right since even after doing major cleaning of the shop. I've used a few other boards in projects and they look find after being planed, but now I always wear a respirator when working with it.

As far as moisture content all of mine was air dried to about 11%. I let it acclimate to my basement before working with it (it is stored stickered in my shed) and although some warped at first it stayed pretty stable once I surfaced it. I have a few projects made out of it and so far they have held up well.
 

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1 in 5 should be ok... my advice is based on microbiology, not woodworking, so I don't know how badly the color will be affected. Stronger might be safer if the wood is neutralizing some of the bleach, but that may be being paranoid. Especially since it is white oak, I would'nt expect the bleach to soak in too far. I'd bet any bleach areas will plane off.
 

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OK, I just sprayed down three of the worst moldy boards with a mixture of household bleach and water, 1 part bleach to 5 parts water. Do you think that is a strong enough mix? S..........
Just keep in mind the bleach chlorine can kill you just a well as the mold spores.

I would do the treatment outside. The chlorine is not healthy for your tools as well.
 
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